The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

N.C. A&T names James R. Martin II as new Chancellor

Photo courtesy James Martin on LinkedIn

N.C. A&T on Friday announced James Martin II as the university’s 13th chancellor at a presentation at the Alumni-Foundation Event Center that was also live streamed.  

The UNC System Board of Governors and UNC System President Peter Hans approved Martin, the current vice chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. 

The news comes after Harold Martin, the university’s chancellor since 2009 and longest-serving HBCU leader in the country, announced his retirement in September. 

Under Harold Martin’s leadership, A&T has experienced record enrollment and new initiatives through several strategic “Preeminence” growth plans. The most recent and final plan was rolled out in early 2023 and focused on new infrastructure and renovations across the largest HBCU campus. The plan also pushes toward an R1 research title. 

James Martin, who is in no relation with Harold Martin, will be responsible for leading the completion of the plan alongside the board of trustees.

“From the beginning, Dr. Martin emerged as a leading candidate in his background, preparation and the vision he articulated for A&T. He will be an outstanding leader for our university,” said Search Advisory Committee Chair Hilda Pinnix-Ragland, former chair of the A&T Board of Trustees.

Kayla Hare, a senior journalism student, is looking forward to the start of a new leader.

“I can relate to the new chancellor,” Hare said. “Similarly, I came to A&T as a transfer student with no HBCU background. I am sure the student body and staff will make his transition easy with open, welcoming arms as they did for students like me.” 

James Martin received a B.S. in civil engineering from The Citadel and his M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering from Virginia Tech. 

He was a professor of civil engineering at Virginia Tech and served as department chair of civil engineering at Clemson University before assuming his current role at Pittsburgh. 

Martin has numerous leadership and academic experiences, specifically in engineering, at other universities; however, this role will be his first at an HBCU. 

Some recent alumni, like Trent Burke, worry that the new chancellor’s lack of HBCU experience will be detrimental to the school and dilute its Black student population. 

“Being a chancellor is to be the highest ranking and most powerful person on the campus who can quite literally reshape the university at its core,” Burke said. “A&T has been being pushed to become less about servicing Black students, which comes with amplifying HBCU pride and culture, and more about being turned into an institution that is slowly but efficiently diluting its Black student population, which goes against the very purpose that this university was founded on.”

The chancellor search committee, composed of students, faculty, and trustees, began its search for a new leader in October 2023. These members did not get a final vote on the nominee Hans selected. 

James Martin will officially begin his tenure on Aug. 15. The fall semester for students begins Aug. 23. 


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