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Advancement VP Martin retires

Successful fundraising campaign wraps up; search for replacement to begin soon

Contact: Heather Smith

​Bob Martin, vice president for advancement at Central Michigan University, is retiring effective June 30 following the successful conclusion of the Fire Up for Excellence campaign.

During February's Board of Trustees meeting, Martin and campaign chair Mike O'Donnell announced the campaign had surpassed its $100 million goal more than three years ahead of schedule. That makes it a good time to end his career on a high note, Martin said.


"I have always wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. The work we have done through the Fire Up for Excellence campaign will positively change the lives of thousands of students and families for generations to come. I am honored to have been a CMU Chippewa," Martin said.

President Bob Davies said Martin's contributions to CMU have been significant.

"Bob has done a tremendous job motivating faculty, staff, alumni, corporate donors and friends to support CMU," Davies said. "His impact will affect CMU students, and thus the state, for generations. I congratulate him for success throughout his career and wish him the best in his retirement."

Martin joined CMU in February 2016 and said he is turning his attention to family, including three grandchildren. During Martin's time here, CMU set new records for the most donors, largest gifts, largest Day of Giving events, and highest percentage of faculty and staff giving.

Martin praised the Advancement and Alumni Relations staffs and noted dozens of alumni who assisted with the campaign, including O'Donnell and former Board of Trustees chair Sarah Opperman. He praised Emmy award-winning broadcaster Dick Enberg, who was honorary campaign chair until his 2017 death.

Of the more than $103 million earned, 82 percent supports academics and 18 percent supports student-athletes. The campaign included 165 new endowments and naming opportunities.

"We have changed the culture of philanthropy at CMU," Martin said. "The advancement team, our alumni and President-Emeritus (George E.) Ross combined to make this a phenomenally successful campaign. It has been a tremendous honor to work beside each of them."

Martin also held senior leadership roles in advancement at Eastern Illinois University, Auburn University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He raised more than $2.3 billion during his career.

Alford to serve as interim, search for new leader to begin soon

Davies has appointed Michael Alford, CMU Zyzelewski Family Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics, to lead the university's advancement and alumni relations division in the interim. Alford, who joined Central in July 2017, has extensive fundraising experience and a successful history of engaging external audiences.

Davies said Alford has proven to be action-oriented and results-driven, with an emphasis on accountability, standards and the importance of academics for student-athletes.

Alford and Dave Keilitz, retired CMU athletic director, will co-chair the search committee. Davies said efforts are underway to appoint the full committee, with broad representation from internal and external constituencies, including the colleges. A national search firm will support the attraction of top-tier candidates.

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