After 40 years as a successful barber in
Santa Ana, California Ruebén Martinez, moved by a passion for reading and a
concern for the lack of readers in the United States, founded a small
business—Martinez Books and Art Gallery—out of his barbershop. Although his
bookstore was very successful, Martinez was motivated by something much more
meaningful than his own success: the power of books. His bookstore became a
place where students and non-students could be encouraged and empowered to read
and pursue higher education. It also became a nucleus for cultural community.
His sphere of influence and activity has grown immensely, and continues to
expand nationally. Martinez co-founded the Latino Book and Family Festival,
which travels to several American cities each year, motivating Spanish-speaking
people to read. He has been featured on PBS, and was awarded the prestigious
MacArthur Fellowship in 2004 for his support of underserved populations.
Ruebén Martinez has been designated a Presidential Fellow of Chapman University, and resides in the College of Educational Studies. As a Chapman-designated spokesperson for encouraging Latinos to pursue higher education, particularly in the areas of math and science, Martinez is a wonderful ambassador for inspiring students to pursue teaching credentials in these high-demand areas.
The creation of the Ruebén Martinez Legacy Campaign Fund ensures that the spirit, vision and accomplishments of Ruebén Martinez extend to future generations. His unwavering spirit, vision and accomplishments center on creating opportunity for all children and adults to receive the highest quality education, breaking the cycle of poverty and illiteracy resulting in strong communities benefiting the common good of all people.