Spend any time with Chapman University Presidential Fellow Ruebén Martinez and you’ll witness his special brand of magic, such as when he says, “I work 10 days a week, but I like what I do.”
His enthusiasm and good humor helped him turn his Santa Ana barbershop into a beloved bookstore, earning him a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. And in April he received the Innovator’s Award at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.
Martinez shows “how books can be celebrated anywhere, and how essential they are to all our lives,” says Carolyn Kellogg, Times book editor.
Today the legacy of the barbershop- turned-bookstore lives on at Centro Comunitario de Educación, a community learning center operated by Chapman, and Martinez encourages young people from underrepresented groups to pursue college.
“With the kids at the University, I say never mind success, go for greatness,” he says.
Display photo at top/“Never mind success, go for greatness,” says Presidential Fellow Ruebén Martinez, with faculty colleague Anaida Colon-Muniz. (Photo by Jeanine Hill)