Feature Story Nigel Martin (’65): Mount Allison’s inaugural Alumni-in-Residence BY EILISH ELLIOTT (’15) In 2014, the alumni board launched the alumni-in-residence program. The program is designed to offer alumni a unique chance to interact with current Allisonians and provide students with the opportunity for mentorship from experienced and passionate alumni. With over 40 years of experience working with non-governmental organizations, Nigel Martin (’65), the inaugural visiting alumnus, certainly fits this description. Even Martin would not have predicted the career path he followed. “Leaving Mount Allison, I would not have known what an NGO was,” he says. In fact, he arrived on campus seeking only a liberal arts education. He fell in love with history, inspired by faculty he encountered, and pursued a double major in history and English literature. Martin also became involved with the Argosy and advanced to editor-in-chief in his junior year. However, a controversial article printed during his time in office involving senior administration resulted in him leaving Mount Allison. Martin spent the next five years working job-to-job until, by chance, he encountered a former professor who offered him a job as a researcher for a Federal Commission of Inquiry he was leading. This would not only prove invaluable work experience, but provided Martin the encouragement and financial support he needed to re-apply to Mount Allison and finish his degree. After graduation, Martin attended law school in Ottawa but felt it was not the right path for him. A few days after this revelation, he ran into a friend who had to leave a government job with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). His friend insisted he would be a perfect replacement, being bilingual and having experience with community groups through his research work, so he withdrew from law school and seized the opportunity. This was the start of his impressive career in international civil society. “I drifted into the NGO world, but it was partly by choice. I was pleased with my work with NGOs in CIDA and started work with the YMCA as a volunteer where I began to see the value of volunteerism.” 16 / THE RECORD / Winter 2015