Dr. Martin was a pioneer in distance education and saw its potential in both primary and continuing (professional) education. At Illinois Institute of Technology he garnered financial support from corporations such as Motorola and A. Finkl & Sons to develop real-time video courses. He created IITV as a microwave-based distance education TV network that allowed students at remote locations to participate in live classroom discussion. IIT courses were delivered to many remote locations throughout the Midwest. Under his leadership, IIT became the first university to join the National Technology University. Today his vision of distance education is realized by online transmission using the Internet.
His passion and commitment were directed to the diversification of engineering and science education as it related to gender, race, and ethnicity. He correctly appreciated the changing demographics of the United States and the need to incorporate underrepresented minorities in the technical fields. In his first year as president of IIT, he partnered with his newly appointed admissions director, Nate Thomas, to develop a strategy to increase the undergraduate enrollment of underrepresented groups. The result was extraordinary– the enrollment of minorities rose to become 21 percent of the undergraduate student body, the enrollment of women increased by 150 percent, and the first woman received a varsity athletic letter during his presidency. He was an early advocate for the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME).
Other notable achievements during his tenure as president of IIT include growth of the undergraduate student body by 40 percent, development of a strong ROTC program in the three major military branches, and programs to achieve efficient waste and energy management on the campus. He sought to “green” the university campus decades before the term became fashionable.