Sailing Success

Bill Martin ’62 Leads in Sailing, Business and in Supporting Students

Former University of Michigan Athletics Director and former member of U.S. Olympic Committee Bill Martin, Wittenberg Class of 1962, has added yet another award to his long and distinguished resume.Martin4.jpg

The recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from Wittenberg’s Athletics Hall of Honor in 2016, Martin was recently inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame during a ceremony hosted by the New York Yacht Club at its Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, R.I., on Sept. 24. Martin represented the United States in the 1981 Admiral's Cup and won a national title at the 2008 Rolex US-IRC National Championship. President of the United States Sailing Association from 1988-91, Martin was later awarded the Nathaniel G. Heereshoff Trophy for outstanding contributions to the sport in 2003. Two years later the U.S. Olympic Committee also honored him with the General Douglas MacArthur Award, the organization’s highest award, for his leadership as acting president of the USOC in 2003 and 2004.

Yet, just as his accomplishments have been honored, Martin has also recognized the accomplishments of others, all while supporting his community. To encourage high school seniors to attend Wittenberg, Martin and wife Sally, established the full-tuition Bill Martin Scholarship at the university. Renewable for four years, the scholarship is awarded per year to a student who resides in either Washtenaw County, Houghton County or Keweenaw County, Mich., and who will be an incoming student at Wittenberg in the fall after high school graduation. There are currently three Martin Scholars at Wittenberg thanks to their generosity.

After graduating from Wittenberg, Martin received a graduate degree in economics from the University of Stockholm, Sweden, in 1963, and a master of business administration from the University of Michigan in 1965. The founder of First Martin Corp., a diversified real estate firm, and founder and chairman of the board of the Bank of Ann Arbor, Martin served as president of the Washtenaw Land Conservancy and was a founding board member of the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation and the Washtenaw Technical Middle School, a charter high school at Washtenaw Community College.

In addition to his successful business career, Martin served as the University of Michigan’s Director of Athletics from 2000-2010. During that span, the Wolverines won 72 Big Ten regular season or tournament championships and posted 35 top-five NCAA finishes. Martin received the Bobby Dodd Athletic Director Award in 2008 in recognition of his support and the development of programs that promote student-athlete welfare. He also received the Humanitarian Award from the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County in 2005, and he was named the Ann Arbor News Citizen of the Year in 2000 in recognition of his service and contributions to the community.

The Martins continue to reside in Ann Arbor, Mich. They have two sons, Seth and Michael, and three grandchildren. Martin served on Wittenberg’s Board of Directors from 1994-2007, and he also has served on the boards for the U.S. Olympic Foundation and the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

Photo: Bill Martin's Stripes (Santa Cruz 70) from Ann Arbor, Mich., the 2008 Rolex US-IRC National Champion. Photo by Walter Cooper/Rolex. Second photo of Martin, courtesy of


Ryan Maurer
Ryan Maurer
Associate Director of Athletics for Communications, Web Strategy & Content

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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