Vol 38 No 15
June 8, 2006
News & Notes
Out and About
June 29, 2006
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Oration honouring Roland Martin
The name Martin is derived from the Latin Martinus, for Mars, the Roman
god of war. This man, Roland Martin, has much in common with the god, but also
much in common with the priests of Mars, the Salii, known as the “jumpers.”
These priests were so enthusiastic that they would jump up-and-down throughout
the formal processions in honour of their deity. Now, our Mr. Martin has contained
any proclivity to jump during the procession today, but some years ago, he jumped
from the very shores of his home in Newfoundland to move to Nova Scotia. The scoundrel.
For he was a young man of much promise.
Dr. Roland Martin (L) with president Dr. Axel Meisen
His accomplishments began early. Four years after arriving on the brand new
Memorial campus in 1961 he had earned his bachelor of commerce degree. He was
not only a good student, but in the warrior spirit of Mars, a feisty hockey
player and a member of the first Memorial team to win the coveted Boyle Trophy.
Like other great warriors, Rollie Martin knew also the power of the pen: in
his role as university news editor for The Evening Telegram, he met,
and interviewed, one of Memorial’s top female swimmers, Sue Campbell his headline
for the story read “Surging Swimming Sue.” What young woman could resist a feisty
hockey player with a flair for alliteration? Roland and Sue have been married
for almost 40 years.
Although he made an early jump off the island to earn an MBA, he came back … this time. Indeed, he returned to his roots in the Business School where he taught from 1969 to 1972 and was involved in establishing at Memorial the first co-operative business program in a Canadian university. Soon Rollie’s talents caught the interest of an audience outside the classroom. A newly elected Newfoundland minister of finance, our absent Chancellor, John Crosbie, heard of this financial whiz and whisked him up the hill. It was not long before he rose to the position of deputy minister of finance and comptroller for the province. He was 29.
But like the Salii of Mars, he was itching to start jumping. In 1977,
Roland left the civil service, left Newfoundland, and moved to Nova Scotia.
Although he may be accused of jumping from our shores, Mr. Vice-Chancellor,
he has made his remittance in the form of wise counsel. For over 20 years, Rollie
Martin has served on the boards of many Newfoundland and Labrador organizations,
including Newfoundland Hydro and the Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation.
He has served Memorial, acting as the Maritime Chair during our last major fund
raising. He has also brought his knowledge to serve our province: preparing
papers which supported our positions on energy policy and equalization; papers
which have been cited by Senate Committees and caused spirited debate on the
pages of the Globe and Mail.
Indeed, he is credited with the legwork, the research, the writing, the documentation that provided the governments of both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador with the facts that convinced the federal government to give to us the benefits from offshore revenues. Premiers describe him as a “quiet but effective champion for the success of the Atlantic Accord.” But, you may note, Mr. Vice-Chancellor that he does not appear in the photos or stories that
accompanied the signing of the Accord; there was no jumping around by Mr. Martin on that day in February his work had been in the research, writing and consulting behind the scenes. The planet Mars, which shares its etymology with the Martin before you, is described as a small, reddish planet, fourth in the order from the sun and only periodically visible to the naked eye. For such muted accomplishment - as a volunteer, in academia, in government and in business, there are few who match Roland Martin.
Mr. Vice-Chancellor, I present to you for the degree of doctor of laws, honoris
causa, this modern day man of both war and the Accord, Roland Martin
Dr. Dale Foster