Jan Martin has a lifetime of experience with baking sweets. She has baked cookies for friends’ weddings and all kinds of parties. For the holidays, she bakes 8 to 10 different types of cookies and gives platters of them away to friends and colleagues. She makes her sweets with original designs and beautiful presentations.
“I do it for the joy of sharing and celebrating community,” Martin says.
So, when she came to Wagner this summer along with her husband, President Joel W. Martin, it was a natural impulse for her to look for ways to share her baking with her new community.
Her first project: 600 packages of Seahawk sugar cookies to welcome the incoming class of new students. “The idea was to provide some home-baked love for the students’ first weekend away from home,” she says.
Each package contained a W-shaped cookie with green and white sprinkles and a circle-shaped cookie decorated with the Seahawk logo and more sprinkles. Each and every cookie was handmade by Jan Martin. All 1,200 of them.
For each of the 30 batches of dough, she followed the simple recipe she has been using ever since she was 15 years old, when she copied it from a local mom named Lynn Bell, whose kids Martin babysat in Pittsford, New York. (She also produced some cookies using a gluten-free mix to accommodate that diet.) She hand-rolled, hand-cut, and hand-decorated each and every cookie.
To each package, she attached a note of welcome. “We look forward to meeting you!” it says. The cookies were delivered to campus on Saturday, August 24, during orientation weekend. All Wagner first-year students are part of Learning Communities, and the cookies were organized by Learning Community and delivered by their student leaders.
Martin received assistance with the final packaging from Wagner staff members Oksana Zarkhina, Ann Giarratano, Ruta Shah-Gordon, Jazzmine Clarke-Glover, and Kristina Quigley. President Joel Martin, Guild member Roberta Farrell Di Vuolo ’85 M’89, and neighbor Lou Beller pitched in as well.
The welcome cookie project is only the beginning. Jan Martin is planning to use her baking skills throughout the year to get to know as many students, faculty, and staff as possible.
This week, she is launching Cookies and Conversation. She is offering to attend meetings and events on the Wagner campus and to bring along her home-baked treats. Groups can make a request by submitting a form.
“I consider it a privilege when people share their stories with me,” Martin says. “I’m looking forward to attending many events on campus and becoming a part of this wonderful community.”
Would you like to make a Cookies and Conversations request? Submit the form.