Spirited Sapphire

100 Women We Love

photo by SAM MASINTER
Biddy Martin
As the 19th president of Amherst College, Carolyn A. “Biddy” Martin is a “passionate advocate of access, affordability and great education.” Martin, one of the country’s very few openly gay college presidents, came to Amherst last August after serving as chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the previous three years. There, she directed successful initiatives to increase financial aid for students, improve undergraduate education and enhance research endeavors. With a long and distinguished career in academia, Martin says she finds it rewarding “playing a role in the success of faculty, staff and students, while enjoying the opportunity to use my strengths.” Not just an academic administrator, Martin is also an eminent scholar with a Ph.D. in German literature who began her career in 1983 as an instructor and then assistant professor of German studies and women’s studies at Cornell University. She was later appointed the school’s provost, overseeing multimillion dollar improvements to Cornell’s facilities and endowment. What drew Martin to a lifetime career in education? “Education was my salvation,“ she says. “I love intellectual exchange and the challenge of thinking with other people. It is [also] a way to promote opportunity for others.”
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