Harold Martin named Virginia Tech distinguished engineering alumnus
March 24, 2010
Harold L. Martin Sr., recently named the 12th Chancellor of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, is the Virginia Tech College of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus for 2010.
“Our College of Engineering has more than 56,000 living alumni, so the honor we are bestowing upon Dr. Martin is indeed prestigious. He has served our college well in the past, including a stint as the chair of our College Advisory Board, as well as the electrical and computer engineering advisory board.. His extraordinary career has brought much credit back to his alma mater,” said Richard Benson, dean of the college.
“His colleagues in higher education describe this charismatic man as a taskmaster who will do anything to get a job done. They consider him to be an excellent listener, often quiet, but always well prepared with a depth of reasoning. They also recognize him to be a politically savvy individual and one who has contributed greatly to the university system in North Carolina,” Benson, who holds the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Chair of Engineering, added.
Martin assumed his current position on June 8, 2009. Since 2006, he had served as senior vice president for academic affairs of the multi-campus University of North Carolina.
When Martin was recommended to the position of chancellor by Erskine Bowles, University of North Carolina President, he said, "There is not a doubt in my mind that Harold Martin is absolutely the right person to lead North Carolina A&T today and in the years ahead. … He is not only a graduate of A&T — he has also been a faculty member, dean, and provost at A&T — he knows this institution inside and out. He is of North Carolina A&T. And he fully understands and appreciates the university's rich history, and he is passionate about the larger role it can play in the life of this city and this state, and its potential to change the future of so many North Carolinians."
Martin holds undergraduate and master's degrees in electrical engineering from A&T and a doctorate in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech.
He joined the A&T faculty in 1980 and was named chairman of the department of electrical engineering in 1985 after a nine-month stint as acting chairman. Four years later, he was named dean of A&T's College of Engineering, a post he held until being named vice chancellor for academic affairs in 1994. From 1987 to 1994, he also served as an adjunct faculty member in North Carolina State University's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
In 2000, Martin was tapped by then UNC President Molly Corbett Broad to provide stable, interim leadership for Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) following the resignation of the Chancellor. Sixteen months later, the Board of Governors made the position permanent.
During Martin's six-year tenure at WSSU, enrollment nearly doubled (from 2,796 to 5,556), freshman SAT scores climbed by nearly 70 points, and the campus underwent a dramatic physical transformation made possible by the 2000 Higher Education Bond Program. He was also credited with forging stronger working relationships with internal and external constituencies, raising the quality and breadth of academic degree programs, launching programs to improve student retention and graduation rates, and upgrading the campus' technology.
Martin has written and lectured widely on computer architecture and increasing the representation of underrepresented minorities and women in engineering. Named 2001 Man of the Year by the Winston-Salem Chronicle, Martin also received the 2008 Thurgood Marshall College Foundation Award for Excellence, Duke Power's 2005 Citizen and Service Award, and McDonald's 2005 African American Achievement Award for Education.
The A&T Alumni Association has recognized Martin as Alumnus of the Year (1976), while Virginia Tech has inducted him into its Academy of Engineering Excellence (2008) and honored him with its Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award (2004) and the Bradley Department of Electrical Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni Award (1998). He was awarded an honorary degree from Wake Forest University in 2007. He is a former chair of Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering Advisory Board.
A native of Winston-Salem, Martin is married to Davida Martin, an A&T alumna who serves as county attorney for Forsyth County. They have two sons: Harold Jr., a business consultant in Atlanta; and Walter, a dental student at the University of Maryland.