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For Andrew Martin, an academic journey comes full circle

Photo: Joe Angeles/Washington University

Andrew Martin did not always know he was destined for academia. Back in the summer of 1993 the man who just became Washington University’s next chancellor had just finished his junior year at the College of William and Mary and had no idea where his postgraduate life would take him.

“As an undergraduate I studied mathematics and government,” he explained. “I had two majors, I wrote my thesis in math and I didn’t really have any idea how those two things fit together.”

That summer, Martin returned home to Lafayette, Ind., where one day he got lunch at the Acropolis Restaurant with a family friend that gave him a piece of academic guidance that changed the course of his career.

“He said ‘Hey Andrew, have you ever heard of this thing called political methodology?’ The answer to that question was no,” Martin remembered. “And he said ‘Well this is mathematical modeling setting policy. This is something that can bring your two interests together.’”

Martin said that this family friend advised him that there were three institutions that were the best in the world at political methodology: the University of Rochester, the California Institute of Technology and Washington University in St. Louis.

“I ended up applying to all three,” Martin said. “I got into Wash. U. I visited here and decided I wasn’t interested in the other programs and enrolled that fall.”

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Related: A conversation with Andrew Martin, Washington University’s next chancellor