Now married over 60 years, Donna ’57 and Rex ’57 Martin are a genuine Rice love story. Donna and Rex came to Rice along with a tight-knit group of friends from their debate team at Lamar High School. This group succeeded in reviving the Rice debate team and transforming it into a forensic program, with J.D. Thomas as their faculty sponsor.
In their years at Rice, Rex was an exceptional history student, chairman of the Honor Council and the bookkeeper for the Rice Co-op. Donna, who had planned to be an English major, ultimately moved towards history because of Rice’s excellent department. She took classes from William Masterson and Katherine Drew and was delighted that the year-long seminars on the history of art, music and philosophy were accepted as part of her history major.
While they dated briefly in high school, Rex and Donna did not date seriously until they were in college. They were engaged in 1955, in December of their junior year. They married the following June, in 1956. “Certainly, one of the most important things I did at Rice was courting and then marrying Donna Paul,” Rex explains. The married couple finished their final year at Rice, with Donna as the editor of the Thresher, and then they set off for New York City, where Rex became a graduate student in philosophy at Columbia.
“Rice shaped our lives in every way,” Donna remarks. Her work at the Thresher prepared her for a publishing career in New York. She would later go on to become vice president and editorial director at Andrews McMeel, a Kansas City publisher. Rex earned a master’s degree and then a doctorate in philosophy from Columbia and spent the majority of his career as a professor at the University of Kansas.
Rex and Donna attended Rice during its tuition-free years. Now, concerned with the rising cost of tuition at universities across the country, the couple were enthusiastic at Rice’s announcement of The Rice Investment. “We were both very excited that Rice had come up with a formula that would ensure income would not be an obstacle to any student who met Rice’s high academic standards,” Donna explains.
Since retirement, Donna has volunteered for a local program that helps adults, many who have immigrated to the U.S., earn a GED. She helps these students improve their reading and writing and has found great joy in watching the way education changes lives. In this spirit, she and Rex have established The Rex and Donna Martin Endowed Scholarship in support of The Rice Investment. Their commitment to learning and to Rice will offer an exceptional educational opportunity to so many talented students.
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