Marty '78 and Shelly Power
As a teenager in the early 1970s in Southbridge, Mass., Marty Power '78 was recruited by a local businessman, Bill Swiacki, in his senior year of high school to do post-graduate work and play football at Choate Rosemary Hall, a private academy in Wallingford, Conn. Swiacki, whose son was the Choate quarterback, wanted a winning season; Power, who had no definitive college plans at the time, got another year to distinguish himself on the gridiron.
"There's no telling what I would have done if Bill Swiacki hadn't recruited me to go to Choate. I don't know how the chain of events would have changed," Power says. Considering his options, Power made an economical decision to attend Nichols. "The tuition was $2,400, and I was getting $2,000 in [financial aid]," he says.
At Nichols, Power balanced academics, full-time employment, sports, and marriage (he wed high school sweetheart, Shelly, between his sophomore and junior years) and found a way to make it all work. He excelled in Bison football as an offensive lineman, playing on three of the five NEFC championship teams under Coach Mike Vendetti in the 1970s, garnering honors such as NEFC First-team All Star in 1974, 1975 and 1977 and UPI All-New England Team in 1976, and Bison captain in 1977.
Following Marty's graduation in 1978, the Powers headed to Texas, where Shelly joined the Houston Ballet and where Marty's passions were fueled by the oil industry in a booming commodities market. In his 33-year plus career, Power has worked for several companies, including Coastal State Gas, BP, and his own, Riverway Petroleum Partners, managing operations and directing the supply and trade of oil products around the globe, most recently at Koch Supply and Trading LP. In December 2014, he was named chief commercial officer for CVR Energy, Inc. and for the general partner of CVR Energy's petroleum subsidiary, CVR Refining, LP.
While Power's work has taken him around the world, from the Middle East to the Far East to South America, he still remains faithful to his Southbridge and Nichols roots. He joined the Nichols Board of Trustees in 2007 and currently chairs its Advancement Committee, enthusiastically exploring ways to engender dedication and support. "I always tell people, 'What are you going to do with your money, take it with you?' I'd rather put it to good use, and this is a good use," he says. Power has been a generous advocate of Nichols, contributing major gifts toward the creation of Vendetti Field and the Vendetti Endowed Fund and toward the restoration of the Campus Common.
The Hall of Fame inductee has also been among the College's most passionate cheerleaders for planned giving as a vehicle for supporting the College and is a member of the Colonel Conrad Society for leaving a bequest to Nichols in his will as well as for creating a deferred charitable gift annuity. "The more I've gotten involved in the board, I've started to understand what it takes to build an endowment," he explains. "Schools that have been around for hundreds of years, whether it's Princeton or Harvard, are built on legacy gifts and trusts. I believe that that's the way to grow the endowment."