New Engineering Complex at North Carolina A&T to Bear Chancellor Martin’s Name

By Staff Report / 03/10/2021

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (March 10, 2021) -- In honor of a lifetime of contributions to the success of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the UNC System and the people of North Carolina, A&T’s new engineering complex-in-development will be named upon its opening in honor of Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr., university officials announced today.

The Harold L. Martin, Sr., Engineering Research and Innovation Complex was approved at the Feb. 26 meeting of the North Carolina A&T Board of Trustees after Trustee and former Board Chair Timothy King submitted the nomination earlier last month.

Martin, who assumed his current position with N.C. A&T in 2009, is the longest currently serving chancellor in the UNC System and a leader nationally among both historically black colleges and universities and land-grant research institutions.

In addition to his prior service as senior vice president of the UNC System and chancellor of Winston-Salem State University, he previously served as vice chancellor for Academic Affairs of A&T, as well as dean of the College of Engineering, chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and a faculty member in that department. All told, his academic and administrative career at A&T has spanned nearly four decades.

“Chancellor Martin’s relentless commitment to the success of North Carolina A&T has led our university to unprecedented heights over the past 12 years, in which A&T has not only become America’s largest HBCU, but by some rankings and evaluations, its very best,” said Board of Trustees Chairwoman Venessa Harrison. “He has modeled and required excellence in everything that the university does, and in doing so, he has led a transformation of A&T that will serve it well, many years after we are gone.

“It is fitting and appropriate that the new complex to be occupied by the college where he began his work in service of A&T be named in his honor.”

In its final stages of construction now, the Harold L. Martin, Sr. Engineering Research and Innovation Complex is a $90-million facility that will dramatically enhance the research and instructional capacities of a college that leads the nation in graduation of African American engineers. Funded by a statewide NC Connect bond passed by voters in 2016, the complex will be home to state-of-the-art laboratories and technology critical to advancing the college’s scientific work in heavily competitive STEM research, to fostering innovation that fuels start-up and spinoff companies and to educating engineers who play key roles in the N.C. economy.

The building will assume its new name as part of its grand opening later this year. While it is slated for completion and occupation in August, the date has not yet been set for that occasion, but is expected to take place this fall.

Martin is the first A&T graduate to lead the university. He earned his B.S. (’73) and M.S. (’75), both in Electrical Engineering, before leaving for Virginia Tech to complete his Ph.D. (’80). Upon graduation, he returned to A&T as a member of the Department of Electrical Engineering faculty, rapidly rising through the ranks to leadership, first serving as department chair and in 1989 being named dean of the college.

He was promoted to vice chancellor for Academic Affairs in 1994, and five years later, joined Winston-Salem State, leading the university through a reorganization, reaffirmation of its accreditation and launch of seven new masters programs.

In 2006, UNC General Administration President Erskine Bowles tapped him to serve as senior vice president for Academic Affairs, making him the top academic officer of the 17-campus system. Three years later, he was elected the 12th chancellor of A&T.

As A&T’s chief executive, he has overseen the creation of two successive strategic plans that radically changed the university’s direction. A&T was struggling in enrollment when he arrived, facing an uncertain future. The first plan, “A&T Preeminence 2020: Embracing Our Past, Creating Our Future,” was created in 2011, with implementation immediately following. By 2014, the university had grown to become the nation’s largest HBCU, a position it has not only held in every successive year, but expanded upon.

In each of the past five consecutive years, A&T has set institutional enrollment records, expanding to its current 12,753 headcount last fall. The successor to the first strategic plan, “A&T Preeminence: Taking the Momentum to 2023,” calls for the university to expand to an enrollment of 14,000 over the next three fall terms – a goal it is widely expected to surpass.

It has also moved into the nation’s leading universities in a growing list of key academic rankings. U.S. News & World Report lists it among the nation’s top national universities and its top 70 in Social Mobility, Innovation and Best Undergraduate Teaching. It also is the magazine’s top ranked public HBCU for the third consecutive year, a position it shares this year with Florida A&M.

In Money magazine, the university ranks as the best HBCU in America, one of the nation’s top five most affordable universities and an institution whose alumni earn more in early career salaries than those of all but one peer campus in the UNC System.

“There is no doubt that Chancellor Martin’s vision and passion for this university have played critical roles in the incredible ascent of A&T,” said Trustee Timothy King, who nominated the naming of ERIC in his honor. “In no place do we see that more than in Engineering, which has been the foundation upon which the university’s national reputation has been built since his service as dean 30 years ago. The Martin Center will serve as a lasting testament to the difference his leadership made.”




Media Contact Information: ucomm@ncat.edu

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