Robert K. Martin has a history of setting ambitious fundraising goals, showing future donors the impact they will have on others' lives, and then helping advancement teams achieve more than they thought possible.
Starting Feb. 23, Martin will bring that expertise to Central Michigan University as its new vice president for advancement. President George E. Ross announced Martin's hiring today, following a search that began last fall with a 12-member committee. Martin will earn $230,000 a year.
Martin currently is vice president for university advancement at Eastern Illinois University, where he has overseen fundraising, alumni relations, marketing and communications, media relations, federal relations, and Board of Trustees relations the past six years. Martin led EIU's first comprehensive campaign, securing nearly $64 million or 127 percent of a $50 million goal. The goal started at $35 million, but Martin, newly hired, pushed it upward.
Martin previously served seven years as assistant vice president for development at Auburn University, one of the nation's top 50 public institutions of higher learning. He was a key member of the Auburn senior leadership team that spearheaded a $500 million capital campaign.
He also was assistant vice chancellor for development at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, leading a team to record annual contributions of $16 million and helping to plan a $1 billion campaign for the University of Tennessee system.
CMU President George E. Ross said his evaluation of candidates for the advancement position included talking with presidential colleagues who've worked closely with Martin.
"They have total confidence in Bob," Ross said. "They say he talks in a slower, Southern way, but thinks fast. He gets the job done."
Martin is known for continuously expanding and meeting fundraising goals, in large part by creating a vibrant culture of philanthropy surrounding the universities he serves. He is engaging, of high integrity and team-oriented, to the point that the Eastern Illinois advancement team trained with the Disney Institute to solidify its customer service approach.
"Advancement is about showing people they can impact lives," Martin said during the interview process. "One donor had his young son hand me a six-figure check. He said he was teaching his son, just as I had taught him, the responsibility and power of giving and changing lives."
Ross cites Martin's ability to turn passion among alumni and friends into donations as key to cementing a strong, bold future for CMU and generations of students to come.