Stephen F. and Fay Evans Martin Endowed Presidential Fellowship in Chemistry
The Stephen F. and Fay Evans Martin Endowed Presidential Fellowship in Chemistry was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on November 11, 2010, to benefit the College of Natural Sciences. Gift funds were provided by Dr. Stephen F. and Mrs. Fay Evans Martin.
Graduate students are crucial partners for a research professor in the natural sciences. The challenge is to attract the best and the brightest students, including those who have offers at other leading institutions. Steve and Fay Martin wanted to establish a fellowship to help the department attract those students to Texas. Another challenge in creating a first-rate department is the availability of endowed professorships and chairs for faculty to support students working on exploratory projects that will eventually lead to major research funding. The Martins hope to play a role in establishing such positions in the department.
Steve grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and attended the University of New Mexico, where he received his undergraduate degree in chemistry in 1968. After obtaining his PhD at Princeton University in 1972, he held post-doctoral positions at the University of Munich and MIT before joining The University of Texas faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as an assistant professor in 1974. Steve is currently a full professor and holds the M. June and J. Virgil Waggoner Regents Chair in Chemistry. Fay is from Fort Worth, Texas and attended Texas Tech University before transferring to UT Austin, where she earned a BA in Business Administration in 1973. Fay received her CPA license in 1978 and spent the next two decades in Austin as a financial manager and controller in the mortgage banking industry. Fay feels that her BBA from UT Austin opened doors for her as a professional and has enhanced her accounting career. Fay and Steve met in 1980, married in 1985, and have been a part of the UT Austin community as a couple ever since. They have one child, Nicole, who is now a college sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis
In addition to experiencing the thrill of exploring the unknown in his research, Steve has a passion for teaching in the classroom and in the research laboratory; seeing students and postdoctoral associates develop as independent scientists, critical thinkers, problem solvers, and leaders is a critical element of that process. Steve and Fay both believe fostering close relationships with Steve’s students and post-docs is a big part of the learning experience, as those relationships remain long after the researchers embark on their own professional careers. As a couple the Martins strive to create an environment like an extended family and encourage camaraderie among the research group members, often entertaining the group at gatherings in their home.
The Martins enjoy their relationship with The University of Texas, along with the benefits and blessings from the people they have encountered. They felt that it would be nice to give something back to the University, especially the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, which has literally been a second home to Steve. They wanted to create an endowment to help make the department stronger in its mission of world-class teaching in the classroom and the laboratory. Donating real estate to start an endowment to improve an institution that has meant so much in their careers and lives just made sense.