G. Steven Martin will retire this June after five years of collaboration with academic leadership on campus as the Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences of the College of Letters and Science.
During his time at UC Berkeley, Martin has helped support education at the undergraduate level, recruited high-quality faculty for his department and, most notably, navigated the pressure of campus financial difficulties.
“(Martin) provided a steady hand during some turbulent financial times and still managed to maintain the excellence of the department,” said Jeremy Thorner, a colleague and professor of biochemistry.
Martin, however, attributes his success as dean to the support of the colleagues he worked with.
“I have a great support team and they’ve been extraordinarily helpful,” Martin said.
Doug Koshland, a colleague and chair in the Division of Biological Sciences of Letters and Sciences, credits Martin for the high-quality faculty in the biological sciences.
“When you’re hiring … you’re competing against Stanford, UCSF,” Koshland said. “He played an important role in the hiring of new, young, really talented faculty.”
Gary Firestone, a professor of cell and developmental biology and a colleague of Martin’s since 1989, describes Martin as a thoughtful leader.
“He could take a lot of different points of view and synthesize (their value) into the appropriate solution or conclusion to move forward,” Firestone said.
On a personal level, those who worked with Martin noted his sense of humor and ability to keep the mood light.
Thorner recounts Martin giving a monologue at an annual research retreat “just like a standup comedian” and leaving people rolling with laughter.
“(He) just can brighten up the whole spirit of the room with his humor,” Thorner said.
Martin will be replaced in June by Michael Botchan, who is currently a professor of biochemistry.