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TCNJ honors longtime STEM donor John Martinson

TCNJ President Kathryn A. Foster presents John Martinson with the presidential medal.

A highly decorated U.S. Air Force pilot, John Martinson trained intensely to become an astronaut — but he was too tall to rocket into space. 

Instead, he founded Edison Partners in 1968 and fostered technological advances as a venture capitalist.

Martinson channeled his passion for science and technology into his charitable work with the Martinson Family Foundation. The foundation has donated over $2 million to TCNJ in support of projects to innovate and expand the capacity for K–12 STEM education in New Jersey and nationally.

“Over a span of 12 years, TCNJ has superbly executed four projects that have impacted thousands of teachers and students in advanced STEM curriculum, teaching methods, and student engagement,” says Martinson.

Projects have ranged from cultivating future engineers with afterschool and summer camp programs for Trenton middle schoolers, to increasing the number of educators teaching computer science in New Jersey by offering free professional development. 

The most recent $360,000 grant from the Martinson Family Foundation, administered by TCNJ’s Center for Excellence in STEM Education, was recently approved for a one-year extension. 

“John Martinson’s support has helped to transform the impact of TCNJ’s School of Engineering on the engineering educational pipeline, pre-K through college, throughout the state and nationally,” says Steven Schreiner, dean of the School of Engineering.

Steve O’Brien, professor of integrative STEM education and director of TCNJ’s Center for Excellence in STEM Education, says the foundation’s support allows the center to work closely with K–12 teachers and students and improve the design of academic programs at TCNJ. 

In the last 15 years, the center has impacted tens of thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of students,” says O’Brien.

The college recognized and awarded Martinson for his long-standing philanthropy and steadfast support at a ceremony on campus in the STEM Forum on August 1, 2019.

Martinson received the TCNJ Presidential Medal, a joint resolution from the full New Jersey state legislature, and letters of recognition from Governor Phil Murphy and the NJ Department of Education.


Sarah Voorhees ’20

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