Robert Martin, Mason County Educator

A Biographical Sketch

The first alumnus to serve as President of Eastern Kentucky University, Robert Richard Martin presided over a period of unprecedented growth for is Alma Mater. In Martin's sixteen year tenure, the University grew from an institution devoted mainly to teacher training to a multi-purpose educational complex serving over four times the number of students who had been enrolled when Martin was inaugurated.

Born on December 26, 1910, near McKinney in Lincoln County, Martin was one of eight children in the family of Frank and Annie Peek Martin. He matriculated to Eastern in 1930, paying his way through the then-Teachers College by raising tobacco crops and working in a dormitory. A history and geography major, Martin received his first taste of an Eastern presidency when his fellow seniors chose him to head the Class of 1934.

A teaching position in history took him to Sardis High School in Mason County following his graduation. In subsequent years he served as principal of Sardis Elementary School and the Mason County schools of Orangeburg High and Woodleigh Junior High. Martin used his summers to attend the University of Kentucky, where he earned the M.A. degree just prior to the outbreak of World War II.

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