AUBURN, Ala. (Auburn University) — Former Auburn University President James “Jim” Martin died Saturday, June 3, at the age of 84. He served as the university’s 14th president from 1984 until he retired in 1992.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Auburn President Jay Gogue said. “He touched the lives of countless students throughout his career and he had many accomplishments during his time as president and in his other academic positions.”
Under Martin’s leadership Auburn completed its most successful private capital campaign in the institution’s history at that time, which resulted in $111 million of contributions and pledges. His tenure was highlighted by an administrative restructuring; capital construction projects totaling more than $100 million; a 10-year reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; and a faculty salary increase of approximately 25 percent. He also established a recruiting program for academically talented students in Alabama.
Martin was born in Vinemont, Alabama, in 1932 but grew up in Greensboro, Alabama, where he graduated from high school. He entered Auburn on a four-year athletic scholarship and earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural management in 1954.
He then enrolled in graduate school at North Carolina State University where he received a master’s degree in agricultural economics in 1956. After serving two years in the United States armed forces, he enrolled at Iowa State University where he earned a doctorate in agricultural economics in 1962.
He taught at the University of Maryland and at Oklahoma State University and, from 1968-1975, he was dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. It was while occupying the presidency of the University of Arkansas that Martin received a call from his alma mater, Auburn University, to become its president in 1984.
Peck Funeral Home in Hartselle, Alabama, is handling the arrangements which will be announced later.