Susan Martin

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Martin in 2012

Susan W. Martin is the president of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. When she took office on July 7, 2008, Martin became the first female president in the University’s 160 year history.[1] Her initial appointment was for three years, and she holds a simultaneous appointment as full professor in the College of Business.

Early life[edit]

Martin was raised in Croswell, Michigan, where she attended classes at a one-room schoolhouse with two outhouses and no running water.[2] She received a B.S. degree in Public Speaking from Central Michigan University in 1971, before earning an M.B.A. (1976) and a Ph.D. (1988) in Accounting from Michigan State University.[3] Martin was a member of Sigma Kappa Sorority at Central Michigan University from 1967-71.

Past positions[edit]

Martin began her career as a secretary in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Texas at Austin. From there Martin moved to Michigan serving at Michigan State University and then working in government as Assistant Auditor General, Office of the Auditor General, Deputy State Treasurer, Bureau of Local Government Services and Commissioner of Revenue.

Martin then went back to higher education working at Grand Valley State University as Master of Science in Taxation Program Coordinator, Director, International Business Programs, Chair, Accounting and Taxation Department, Professor of Accounting and Taxation, Assistant & Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Special Assistant to the Provost, and Executive Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Lastly, before coming to Eastern, Martin served as provost & vice-chancellor of academic affairs at the University of Michigan–Dearborn.[4]

President of Eastern Michigan University[edit]

During a press conference and reception on May 14, 2008, Martin announced that she had started the EMU Excellence Fund. As reported on Focus EMU, "Martin cast the first $10,000 and enthusiastically urged everyone present to contribute at least $1 to the fund, an action that drew applause."[5]

On Thursday, November 20, 2008, Martin was formally inaugurated in a ceremony at Pease Auditorium with about 1,000 attendees.[6]

Although her presidency has not been without controversies, Martin has been "seen by many as a stabilizing force on the Ypsilanti campus"[7] after scandals forced her two immediate predecessors from office.[7] According to, "Martin's personnel file, obtained though a FOIA request, reveals that her support among the board appears to have grown from 2008 to 2011."[8] In a December 15, 2011 review, regent Beth Fitzsimmons wrote, "For the past decade I have never seen such positive discussion about and support for EMU."[8]

2012 Reprimand[edit]

On April 23, 2012, Martin, along with four EMU regents (Roy Wilbanks, Jim Stapleton, Floyd Clack and Beth Fitzsimmons), were in Washington, D.C. attending a Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges conference.[9] Following the conference they attended an alumni reception,[7] after which Martin met at a bar[10] with Michael Ferens, an EMU alumnus and the president of the Washington, D.C. alumni chapter, as well as an unidentified board member from the Washington, D.C. alumni chapter, and an unidentified EMU staff member.[11] The exact details of the discussion are unclear, but they discussed EMU's 1991 mascot change and the "Huron Restoration" chapter of the alumni association,[12] previous plans for a Huron statue,[12] and John A. Fallon and Samuel A. Kirkpatrick, Martin's predecessors as president,[8] both of whom left amidst controversy. According to emails they exchanged the next day, in which they apologized to each other, Martin thought Ferens said "John Fallon is my man"[12]—a comment to which she was sensitive because Fallon had recently been hired by Ball State University,[7] bringing the Laura Dickinson murder back into the news—while Ferens did not think he had said that and indicated that if he had, it had been a slip of the tongue.[12]

Martin subsequently described the incident, saying "I lost my temper with an alumni [sic] when our discussion turned to a particularly sad time in Eastern's history. As it turned out, we had misunderstood each other at the time and we apologized to each other in subsequent emails the next day for this misunderstanding."[13] According to Ferens, "I mis-phrased a name in the conversation and that’s all it really was."[11] Ferens subsequently characterized the issue as "a little miscommunication", and "a moment of intensity in a conversation" about the mascot change.[11] Martin acknowledged that she "was drinking at the time that I lost my temper",[11] and mentioned that she hadn't eaten,[14] while Ferens stated that, "We sat down and had a glass of wine, but we didn’t have 15 glasses of wine. I did not witness any heavy drinking. I did not witness any spectacles."[11]

In response to the incident the EMU Board of Regents officially reprimanded Martin on May 17:

We want you to be successful as the President of the University. It is, however, incumbent upon us to emphasize the severity of the incident and its potential impact as your role as a leader and symbol of the University. You must deal with this issue immediately. If there are any further incidents, you will leave us no alternative but to recommend to the board that your employment be terminated for just cause pursuant to Paragraph 16.1 of your employment agreement.[14]

Martin on the marching band platform at a 2010 football game

In an formal response to the Board of Regents, Martin defended her character:

I consider myself a 'hands-on' President even to the point of jumping onto the marching band platform when appropriate, rappelling 60 feet down Roosevelt Hall, being on call 24/7 with the Department of Public Safety and insisting on being informed about every serious incident on campus. I could not perform these duties and handle the rigors of this position if I had a serious health issue of any type as suggested by the May 17, letter. I will continue to devote my entire time and energy to the goals and metrics we have set to make Eastern thrive and grow. I am deeply committed to this University. I love Eastern and "bleed green".[13]

Following the 2012 incident, Martin stated that, although she did not believe she had an alcohol problem, she would receive counseling as recommended by the Board of Regents. She also announced that she would donate her 2012 raise, $8,764,[10] to on-campus alcohol education.[15]

Leadership and public service activities[edit]

Martin has served in various positions such as Board of Directors, St. Joseph Mercy Health System,[16] Board of Directors, Ann Arbor SPARK,[17] Chair, State of Michigan Hospital Finance Authority, member of IRS Commissioner’s Internal Revenue Service Advisory Committee (2002–2004), Appointed member of Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (1998-2000), member of Tax Executive Committee (1997-2000)

Recent publications[edit]

Bruce Bublitz, Susan Martin; "The Incorporation of Managerial Accounting Concepts into Governmental Organizations: The Case of Public Universities", Journal of Governmental Financial Management, Winter 2007, Vol 56, No. 4, pp. 48–62

“Low Supply and High Demand for USA Accounting graduates due to Enron and Sarbanes-Oxley Act”, IV International Scientific Conference, Accounting and Control Development in Context of European Integration, May 19–20, 2005, Kramatorsk, Ukraine.



  1. ^ John Rice and Randy Mascharka (2008). Dr. Martin's appointment is confirmed by the Board of Regents. Board Chair Thomas Sidlik and President Martin make introductory comments (May 14, 2008) (Internet-video). USA: EMU. 
  2. ^ Sheryl James (2008-06-10). "Martin's path to EMU presidency started in one-room schoolhouse". Eastern Michigan University. 
  3. ^ Bomey, Nathan (2008-08-28). "New President Susan Martin: Eastern Michigan University will play a 'critical role' in Michigan economy". Ann Arbor News. Retrieved 2009-02-20. "Education: Doctorate in accounting from Michigan State University in 1988; master's in business administration from MSU in 1976; bachelor's in public speaking from Central Michigan University in 1971." 
  4. ^ Williams, Corey (2012-07-11), "Eastern Mich. Univ. President Warned About Alcohol", ABC News, retrieved 2012-07-13 
  5. ^ Ward Mullens and Krystin Jarrell (2008). "Regents appoint Martin as first female president of EMU; campus responds with excitement (May 13, 2008)" (Internet-magazine Focus EMU Online). USA: EMU. 
  6. ^ Hachem, Khalil (2008-11-20). "Susan Martin inaugurated as the 22nd president of Eastern Michigan University". Ann Arbor News. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  7. ^ a b c d Jesse, David (2012-07-11), "EMU board puts president on notice after argument at a bar", Detroit Free Press, retrieved 2012-07-13 
  8. ^ a b c Woodhouse, Kellie (2012-07-12), "Emails shed light on argument between EMU President Susan Martin and alumnus",, retrieved 2012-07-13 
  9. ^ Alfaro, Bryan (2012-07-11), Eastern Echo |url= missing title (help), retrieved 2012-07-13 
  10. ^ a b Jesse, David (2012-07-11), "EMU president says she'll seek counseling, donate to alcohol awareness fund", Detroit Free Press, retrieved 2012-07-13 
  11. ^ a b c d e Biolchini, Amy (2012-07-10), "Susan Martin controversy: Conversation about EMU's former Huron logo sparked 'a little miscommunication,' alumnus says",, retrieved 20122-07-11 
  12. ^ a b c d April 24, 2012 emails between Michael Ferens and Susan Martin "Re: Crystal Clear" (PDF), retrieved 2012-07-13 
  13. ^ a b Martin, Susan (2012-07-06), Letter from President Martin to Regents Wilbanks, Parker, and Morris, retrieved 2012-07-11 
  14. ^ a b Martin, Susan. "President Martin Letter from Board". Information Release. Eastern Michigan University. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  15. ^ Woodhouse, Kellie (2012-07-11), "EMU President Susan Martin will donate raise to campus alcohol education fund and get counseling",, retrieved 2012-07-11 
  16. ^ Walsh, Dustin (2011-01-31), "Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin named to St. Joseph Mercy Health System board", Crain's Detroit Business, retrieved 2011-02-01 
  17. ^ Bomey, Nathan (2010-05-20). "John Hieftje, Susan Martin, others elected to Ann Arbor SPARK board leadership". Retrieved 2010-05-20. "Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje and Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin are the newest members of Ann Arbor SPARK's board of directors. SPARK announced this morning that Hieftje and Martin had been elected to the board for 2010-11 at the economic development group's annual meeting." 

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