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Martella ’71 and “A Life of Place”

“While at Wabash I pretty much learned who I was, where I fit in the world, and how I wanted to live my life. I have called that life ‘a life of place…'”

Tom Martella’s Wabash education “was all about relationships—seeking them, building them, and reaching beyond my easy or obvious set of friends.”

In the Winter 2016 edition of Wabash Magazine, Martella ’71 credits Professors John Fischer H’70 and David Hadley ’76 with “describing distant places with far different cultures, histories, and institutions from my own, and then encouraging me to think beyond a small town in the Midwest and who I was at the time.”

“Learning how to do something wasn’t as important to me as learning how to live somewhere immersed in the lifeblood of a place,” Martella says in the new edition’s From the Editor. “While at Wabash I pretty much learned who I was, where I fit in the world, and how I wanted to live my life. I have called that life ‘a life of place,’ since to me, where I lived has been much more important than what I did to make a living.”

Martella’s notion of “a life of place” inspired the theme for the magazine’s first issue of 2016, now appearing in mailboxes and available online. The edition includes stories about or by alumni, students, and faculty living their own lives of place around the globe. Closer to home, Evan West ’99 writes about Wabash alumni in Indianapolis’ booming craft beer industry, and the magazine explores how the College itself is living a life of place in its partnership with Mayor Todd Barton ’00 and Crawfordsville, recently designated a Stellar Community. Featured on the cover is Insider Louisville founder Tom Cottingham ’82, while Jeff Been ’81 talks about his transition from executive director of the Legal Aid Society of Louisville to retirement in the rural Delphi, IN of his youth.

Prior to his 20-years as a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, Martella himself lived a life of place in Greece, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

“I wanted to experience firsthand the cultures and histories of regions that so appealed to me in the classroom,” he says. Rising through the ranks at the international technology and management-consulting firm to retire as principal, Martella also lived in Kuwait and Brazil and now resides in Washington, DC.

“In each place I strove to be an active part of a community, getting to know people in their moment of history— their perspectives, their cultures, their immediate and long-term motivations,” Martella says. “The Wabash community created my understanding of the power of a true community, but it also created in me a desire to replicate such a community, such relationships, which would make my ‘life of place’ stimulating, supportive, and enjoyable.”

Read more about Martella’s “life of place” in From the Editor.

Read a pdf of the print edition here: WM Winter 2016—A Life of Place.