CofC President Andrew T. Hsu (left) presents the Order of the Silver Crescent award to Tom Martin, executive-in-residence in the College’s Department of Communication.

On May 11, 2023, Tom Martin, executive-in-residence in the College of Charleston Department of Communication, was honored with the Order of the Silver Crescent, the State of South Carolina’s most prestigious service award. The Governor’s Award was presented to Martin by College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu at the annual Martin Scholars celebration.

Created by Governor David Beasley in 1997 and subsequently modified by Governor Jim Hodges, the Order of the Silver Crescent recognizes a remarkable achievement or action, an individual’s dedicated community service or volunteerism.

tom and wanda martin

Tom and Wanda Martin, founders of the Martin Center for Mentorship in Communication.

Martin certainly fits the bill.

After a career in corporate communications, including leadership roles at FedEx and ITT Corp., Martin extended his lifelong passion of serving others to the academic field, focusing particularly on mentoring students in the College’s communication department. He joined the Department of Communication National Advisory Council in 2004 and, in 2007, became the College’s first executive-in-residence, teaching undergraduate classes and mentoring students ever sense. He is a former president, trustee and current member of the Arthur W. Page Society, a membership organization for senior corporate communication executives, and has organized trips to the College of Charleston for the society’s Future Leaders Program.

In 2016, he and his wife, Wanda, launched the Martin Scholars Program, an experiential learning and mentoring program for graduating seniors majoring in communication that provides networking opportunities with and exposure to effective communication leaders. Martin Scholars are taught, counseled, shaped and influenced by seasoned communication veterans, allowing them to develop their skills, insights and abilities as they launch their own careers. The Martin Scholars Program has 87 graduates now working in a variety of fields, including communications, marketing and education.

“During my fifteen years at the College, I have seen the dramatic and positive impact that mentors have had with our students,” says Martin, who serves as the director of the Martin Scholars Program. “My career and life have been shaped in large part by mentors I had along the way, and I believe this is an area that can be further researched and taught, so that future mentoring efforts here and elsewhere can be even more effective. I’m excited that Wanda and I can help facilitate this important work.”

In March 2023, the College established the Martin Center for Mentorship in Communication to inspire and develop a future generation of leaders and mentors among today’s outstanding communication students, and to foster more robust relationships between those who educate and those who practice in the communication field. The Martin Center was made possible by a multi-year founding pledge by the Martins.

RELATED: Read about the new Martin Center for Mentorship in Communication at the College of Charleston.

The Martin Center will house the Martin Scholars Program and manage the Department of Communications Mentor-Protégé Program, which matches members of the department’s National Advisory Council and alumni of the College with communication students (majors, minors and graduate students). In addition, the center will manage and further develop the department’s internship program, facilitate faculty research in the area of mentoring and develop other tools and research for effective mentoring. The center also hopes to develop a faculty shadowing program to build stronger connections between the professors who teach in the discipline and the practitioners who work in the field.

Bethany Goodier, director of the Martin Center and associate professor of communication at the College, says without question Martin’s efforts are worthy of the governor’s recognition.

“Tom is certainly deserving of this honor,” she says, adding: “It is always a privilege to work with him and see the impact of his teaching and mentorship firsthand. He creates opportunities that change the course of our students’ lives as they build the confidence and skills they need to become the next generation of leaders and mentors in our field.”

Indeed, mentoring the next generation of leaders is a critical force in shaping an enlightened society, making Martin the perfect recipient of the South Carolina Order of the Silver Crescent.