ORANGE, Calif., October 28, 2015 — Ruebén Martinez – noted reading advocate, Latino education activist and Chapman University Presidential Fellow – will speak to students and their families at Central Union High School and Wilson Junior High School in El Centro on the topic “Parents, Listen to Your Children About College.” He will encourage students to think seriously about attending college, and explain to parents how to navigate the process of college applications and how college can immensely benefit a student’s future.

Large group of people around table.

Photo from Summer Bridge Program 2015 with Ruebén Martinez and first generation students

His talks will take place on Thursday, November 12 at 1 p.m. at Wilson Junior High and 3:30 p.m. at Central Union High to assemblies that will include students, families, school faculty and city officials, including El Centro Mayor Efrain Silva and members of the City Council.

“Families that read together graduate together!” said Martinez with his trademark enthusiasm. “My goal is to get parents to listen to their kids, read together with them, talk together with them when they bring home questions or problems from school. Communication is the key. And, of course, when the student says, ‘Mama, Papa, I want to go to college,’ I want to offer my best advice on how to make that happen; how to apply and get into great colleges, and once the student is in, how to succeed and graduate.”


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— Librería Martinez —out of his barbershop. Although this bookstore, with its art gallery of works by local artists, was also very successful, Martinez was motivated by something much more meaningful than his own success: the power of the book.

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. Librería Martinez is now part of Chapman University’s College of Educational Studies, still operating entrepreneurially as a Santa Ana bookstore and art gallery serving its community, and hosting major speakers and author book-signings.

Man speaking.

Presidential Fellow, Ruebén Martinez

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 in many newspapers and magazines, has appeared on PBS, and was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship (popularly known as the “genius grant”) 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 encouraging students to pursue teaching credentials in these high-demand areas.


For More Information:

Mary Platt, Director of Media Relations

Chapman University