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Volume 24, Number 9 — September 2017

Martin honored for philanthropy with Manahan Margin of Excellence Award

James C. Martin
James C. Martin

June 17, 2014

James C. Martin was honored for his support of the East Tennessee State University Foundation with the presentation of the Dr. Richard A. Manahan Margin of Excellence Award.

This award was presented during the annual meeting of the ETSU Foundation, with Anita DeAngelis accepting the award on Martin's behalf. DeAngelis is director of the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at ETSU.

Martin began his career as a junior research chemist with Eastman Kodak, a division of Eastman Chemical, after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in chemistry in 1947. After becoming a research fellow in 1982, he found new ways to use chemistry and improve Eastman's processes for raw materials, and he authored or co-authored 101 U.S. patents and several foreign patents. From 1986-92, Martin worked in management and ended his career as director of the Eastman Chemical Co. Chemistry Research Division.

In 1966, Martin married Mary Beard, a 1962 chemistry graduate of then-East Tennessee State College who also worked as a chemist at Eastman and was an avid supporter of the arts. Following Mary's death in 2008, James Martin dedicated his philanthropic efforts to begin a legacy for the arts at Mary's alma mater. His financial support enabled ETSU to establish the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts in 2009, and he has continued to give to fund the school, so that the endowment now exceeds $5 million. Last year, Martin pledged the lead gift of $3 million to start the fundraising efforts for the new ETSU Arts Initiative, a major component of which will be the construction of a new arts center.

In addition, the Martins have given to the Department of Chemistry, public radio station WETS-FM (89.5) and the Reece Museum at ETSU through the years.

Martin received the 2013 George L. Carter Award, which is the highest honor bestowed upon graduates or friends of ETSU who have made the university a more dynamic and viable force in the world of higher education. The award is named for the industrialist, railroad magnate and philanthropist who provided land on which ETSU now stands.

Martin and his late wife have also been honored for their philanthropy by the Tennessee Board of Regents, ETSU's governing body, with the 2013 Regents' Award and the 2010 Chancellor's Award.

"I am pleased to be recognized with the ETSU Foundation's Margin of Excellence Award, and especially so as the award now bears the name of ETSU Foundation President/CEO Emeritus Dr. Richard A. Manahan," Martin said in a statement. "As ETSU, I and many others continue to champion the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts and the ETSU Arts Initiative, I look forward to the time when we shall develop fully the potential for the arts in our region. This will enable us to utilize the arts for education, cultural opportunities and economic development. I thank the ETSU Foundation for this award."

The Margin of Excellence Award was named in Manahan's honor in 2013. Manahan is a professor of Accountancy in the College of Business and Technology and Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis in the Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education, and is also the former vice president for University Advancement.

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