A steady leader

A steady leader

1977

Ray Martin is appointed Vice-Chancellor

Ray MartinAfter the excitement and disappointment of the ‘Vaizey affair’, the selection committee for a new vice-chancellor resolved to focus on candidates with ‘significant Australian experience’. They wanted a steady leader and they found him in Ray Martin.

Martin’s career had followed a traditional path. He attended Scotch College, followed by the University of Melbourne for his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees. Following in the footsteps of his academic father, physicist Sir Leslie Martin, he went to Cambridge to earn his doctorate in chemistry. By 1954 he returned to Australia as a senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales. At just 36 years old, he was appointed the first professor of inorganic chemistry at the University of Melbourne in 1962. By the time he was approached about the Monash vice-chancellorship in 1977, he was the foundation chair of inorganic chemistry at ANU.

Martin’s appointment brought stability to Monash. His colleagues described him as a quiet, charming and approachable man, and a scientist of high integrity. His management style was quiet and effective. Foundation Professor of Chemistry Ron Brown believed that the smooth sailing of the Martin years demonstrated his effectiveness as a vice-chancellor.