Why They Give

Tom Martin ’70

Tom Martin ’70 is no stranger to UNCG. In addition to playing on the University’s first men’s basketball team, he has been a campus fixture for decades. Tom acted as the first male president of the Alumni Association and still serves on the Excellence Foundation and the Spartan Club Executive Committee. His support for Spartan Athletics led to his being inducted into the UNCG Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002, as well as being recognized with a Super Spartan Award and a UNCG WC Legacy Award.

The former Greensboro planning director and his wife, Mary ’71, also invest energy and enthusiasm in the academic growth of their alma mater’s students and faculty. The Faculty First Summer Excellence Awards are particularly important to the couple.

“Jan Zink, the previous vice chancellor of advancement, brought the awards to our attention,” remembers Tom. “She was so excited about providing this resource for faculty research. Later, Mary looked at me and said, ‘I want to be part of that.’ So did I.”

Established in 2014 as part of the Faculty First Program, these awards support select faculty research or creative projects during the summer. The awards are highly competitive, thus their recipients represent the highest academic rigor and creativity UNCG offers.

Each spring, faculty and donors come together for an informative luncheon. While a few faculty give more formal presentations about their research, every research award recipient shares the result of their work with donors. Previous recipients include Associate Professor of Dance Duane Cyrus and Director of UNCG’s Cognitive, Psychopathology, and Emotion (CoPE) Lab, Dr. Blair Wisco.

Tom and Mary have attended several luncheons and enjoy this chance to learn about faculty’s interests outside the classroom.

“So much good comes out of this program,” Tom says. “This is an important opportunity for faculty to further their own research after the academic year and a critical component to maintaining our high academic standards. Not only does it help retain top faculty, but students also occasionally assist with the research. That is an invaluable experience.”

The Martins are glad to support excellence across the University.

“We received a great education from UNCG – one that built the foundations of our careers. We wanted to give future students the same opportunity for success. We’re proud we support so many initiatives.”

Story by Michelle Danner-Groves, Donor Relations


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P. Kevin Williamson

Associate Vice Chancellor