Harold Clark Martin

The 14th president of Union College

Harold Clark Martin

Harold Clark Martin (1917 -2005)
(Union College Permanent Collection)

Term: 1965-1974
Academic credentials: B.A., Hartwick College; Ph.D., Harvard University

Shortly after Martin's arrival at Union in 1965, “Hal” as he was called, oversaw the adoption of the current trimester calendar and a revised curriculum, “CompEd,” which required all students to take courses in both of the newly organized academic “centers” – Humanities & Social Sciences, and Sciences & Engineering.

He also urged a re-thinking of Union's mission, arguing that a number of trends, including the rapid rise to prominence of public institutions in the Northeast, imperiled traditional liberal arts colleges like Union.

The most drastic proposal of his tenure, initiated by the faculty, called for reconsideration of the policy which, since 1795, had restricted enrollment to men only. In 1968, Martin appointed a committee to study the question of adopting coeducation. When the committee unanimously endorsed coeducation, the faculty voted in the affirmative without audible dissent, and the trustees nearly so. The first full-time women students entered in 1970.

At the height of student activism, Martin joined with 34 other college presidents in signing a letter to President Richard Nixon urging attention to student voices.

During Martin's tenure, Union added a number of buildings including Humanities, Social Sciences, Fox, Davidson and Achilles Rink (now Achilles Center).

From the "Encyclopedia of Union College History"

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