SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Wittenberg University alumnus and board of directors’ member William C. Martin, class of 1962, was recently honored by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) with the General Douglas MacArthur Award.
The presentation was made by USOC Board of Directors Chair Peter Ueberroth and USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr during the Olympic Assembly “Night of Champions” Welcome Reception on April 29 in Phoenix, Ariz. The award, the organization’s highest honor, is named for the legendary American military hero and 1926 president of the American Olympic Committee. It is presented to individuals who have dedicated their lifetime to sport, to America’s athletes and to the spirit of the Olympic Games.
Martin was honored for his leadership as acting president of the USOC during one of the most critical periods in the organization’s history. Elected USOC vice president-secretariat in December 2002, Martin became acting president in February 2003 and served in that capacity until June 2004. He was immediately faced with the formidable task of leading the committee through the process of creating a new governance structure.
His efforts streamlined the massive 125-member board of directors, including a 24-member executive committee, into a much smaller (11 directors) and more efficient leadership unit. Martin faced this arduous task under the watchful eyes of the United States Congress, the many constituent groups affiliated with the USOC and the thousands of American athletes currently pursuing their Olympic dreams.
According to a USOC statement, “History will note that Martin’s leadership had a monumental impact on the USOC, and the reform he helped to bring about enables the USOC to better fulfill its mission of supporting America’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes.”
Martin joins a distinguished group of previous MacArthur Award recipients, including New York Yankees owner and former USOC Vice President George Steinbrenner and Nobel Peace Prize winner and former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger. In August 2004, Martin graced the cover of the Northwest Airlines magazine called NWA World Traveler. Titled “USOC’s Bill Martin: Olympic Mettle,” the four-page feature explored “the 5 sides of Bill Martin: from real estate mogul to Olympic Committee president” and noted that “Bill Martin has triumphed at five mammoth tasks with devotion and integrity.”
After leaving Wittenberg, Martin earned a graduate degree in economics from the University of Stockholm in 1963 and an M.B.A. at the University of Michigan in 1965. Martin, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at Michigan, and his wife, Sally, have two grown sons, Seth and Michael, and reside in Ann Arbor.
In 2001, the Martins established an endowed scholarship in their name at Wittenberg. The William C. and Sally A. Martin Endowed Scholarship Fund was created to provide scholarships annually to two or more freshmen with demonstrated financial need. Preference is given each year to one student from Keweenaw or Houghton counties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and to one student from Washtenaw County, where Martin resides. As funding increases, the Martins hope that more Michigan students can benefit from the unique educational experience Wittenberg affords.
To learn more about the Martin Scholarship, contact Wittenberg’s Office of Financial Aid at (937) 327-7321.
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