Improving the Future

Karen Martin '75 doesn't just care about the environment, she works to protect it every day. From installing solar panels and geothermal heating to lessen their energy footprint to advocating for climate change legislation, Karen and her husband Gary exemplify what it means to be environmentally conscious. They are also exceptionally committed to helping Merrimack College advance the cause.


“Merrimack is in a unique position to educate our community on just how important it is to be aware of climate change—and to act against it by taking positive action. And we’re dedicated to supporting Merrimack in that endeavor,” said Karen.

“When it comes to charitable giving, supporting environmental missions has always been our highest priority,” explained Gary.

Earlier this year, the Martins gave a generous gift to establish the McLaughlin Martin Family Environmental Innovation Fund. Managed by the Office of the Provost, the fund will be strategically invested to help Merrimack enhance its environmental curriculum, create collaborative faculty/student environmental research opportunities, and expand community outreach and campus sustainability measures.  

“My hope is for Merrimack to become an epicenter of climate change and sustainability education for the community,” said Karen. “The fund will help host speakers on campus, empower students to go out into the community, and get more people educated and involved.”


Past, Present, and Future

Since Karen attended Merrimack in the 1970s, the College has undergone a remarkable transformation. “Merrimack is incredibly different. They’re attracting many more students and they’re really making a name for themselves,” she explained. “They’re moving in the right direction, and I’m happy that they’re recognizing the need for sustainability education.”   

After Karen graduated from Merrimack with a degree in electrical engineering, she attended graduate school at Stanford University where she met her husband Gary who is also an electrical engineer. They are very proud of their three children, Greg, Geoff, and Greta who are pursuing careers in education, the environment, and public health, respectively.

When Karen and Gary think about the future, they’re focused on making an impact. “Leaving the world a better place—environmentally, socially, and economically—is a big goal. It’s difficult to know exactly how to go about doing that, but we’d like to try,” said Gary.

“We’re doing things a little bit at a time, and hopefully we’ll get to the right place,” explained Karen. “I would encourage other Merrimack graduates who care about our world to make an investment and get involved.”