After a 19-year career at New College, in which he oversaw tremendous fiscal and facilities growth, Vice President of Finance and Administration John Martin has retired.
Chris Kinsley, former assistant vice chancellor for finance and facilities for the State University System of Florida, replaced Martin on March 16, taking over a position that has been expertly served for nearly two decades.
“Being associated with an institution that is so well-respected at the local, state and national levels is a great point of pride for me,” Martin said. “Its students, faculty, staff, trustees and alumni are fantastic.”
Martin joined New College in 2001 after former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush passed the law separating the College from the University of South Florida (USF). To prosper independently, New College needed a trusted leader. Martin’s initial responsibilities included setting up financial and administrative structures to help the College meet accreditation requirements. But securing funding was regularly a challenge.
“When [Martin] arrived, the governor had just vetoed the funding needed to pay his salary,” New College President Donal O’Shea said. “In the hard times, he has always privileged people, the academic program and students. He has done so collaboratively and transparently, and is one of the most respected chief business officers in the state.”
Martin has been an invaluable asset to the College. He oversaw the growth of the operating budget from $15.6 million in fiscal year 2001-2002 to $53.5 million in fiscal year 2019-2020. He helped bring in upwards of $100-million in capital construction, including more than $71.1 million in education and general capital funding for renovations, remodeling and new construction. Of this money, Martin saw $11.3 million allocated to construct the Academic Center (ACE) and $9.7 million to construct the new wing of the Heiser Natural Sciences Complex. Martin also oversaw a bond issue of $30 million that was used to construct the letter dorms in 2007.
“Of course, none of this would have happened without the hard work and dedication of the entire campus community, especially those comprising finance and administration,” Martin said.
As he enters retirement, Martin, who worked in higher education for more than 45 years, looks to his successor to address the immediate challenges at New College. Priorities include increasing enrollment, raising funds to renovate the Pei residences and construct a new residence hall, ensuring New College’s independence, and convincing the Florida legislature to appropriate capital funds to construct the proposed multi-purpose facility that will replace most of the Palmer Complex buildings.
The College is in good hands with Kinsley and Martin is ready for the next phase of his life.
“[I look forward to] spending more time with Judy, my wonderful wife of 40 years, and traveling together around the U.S. and beyond,” Martin said. “Volunteering in the community and playing a little golf are on my to-do list as well.”
As he goes, Martin leaves New College with a legacy of dedication, honesty and compassion.