Davidson College

As a subcontractor for Allen MAC, I wrote copy for a brochure and flyer for Davidson College’s annual giving solicitation package.

Davidson College annual giving brochure and flyer

Annual Giving Brochure

Arthur Martin, Quintessential Davidsonian

Arthur Morrison Martin never gave Davidson College a new building. As a Presbyterian minister and father of four sons, he could never quite see his way clear to endow his beloved college with a large lump sum.

Instead, Arthur Martin gave what he could. Arthur Martin gave himself.

It was more than 60 years ago when young Arthur and 203 other prospective freshmen stepped off the “Jaybirdsville Special” to begin life as Davidson men. On a hot June day four years later, it was Arthur—or “Piggy,” as he had come to be called—who was busiest scribbling classmates’ addresses on the back of his commencement program, admonishing them to “keep in touch.”

Arthur was to serve as annual fund chairman of The Class of 1925 for more than 30 years in all. He was also Alumni Chapter President, a co-chairman of the 1962-64 Living Endowment and a member of the college’s Board of Visitors. During 1982—the last year of his life—he was still writing personal letters to each of the 70 remaining alumni in the class he chaired, encouraging them to lend their support to the college. Forty-four class members, including Arthur himself, responded with gifts, making his class second only to the Class of ’33 in percentage of participation.

No, Arthur Martin never gave Davidson College a new building. What he did give was his inspiration, devotion, leadership, and his love. For these things, the college is truly grateful.

In the late 1930s, Davidson College Treasurer Frank “Cash” Jackson received a letter from an alumnus along with a check for $100. In his letter, the man explained that he had wanted to add $2,500 to the school’s endowment but couldn’t afford to do so. Instead, he planned to send $100 a year—the equivalent of the four percent income the college would have received from a $2,500 addition to its endowment fund. He suggested that other alumni and friends be asked to make similar contributions, pointing out that “small annual gifts are equivalent to adding large sums to the endowment.”

Jackson took the idea to President Walter Lingle who issued an appeal to the school’s alumni to participate in a new movement at the school called the Living Endowment. The idea behind the Living Endowment was simple. The school realized there were alumni who couldn’t afford, to make substantial additions to the school’s endowment, but who could donate the equivalent income from such an endowment. Dr. Lingle recommended a minimum gift of $5, but noted, “There are others who may be able to give a hundred or even five hundred annually.”

That first year, 350 alumni responded to Dr. Lingle’s request, contributing an average of $24.28—enough to pay the school’s 1939 light bill of $5,243 and provide some well-deserved salary increases for several key faculty members.

Gifts made to the Living Endowment last year totaled $1.2 million, with the average alumnus contributing $163. The money is already at work, currently accounting for more than 10 percent of the college budget and helping bridge the 40 percent gap between annual tuition income and expenses.

There’s nothing glamorous about paying a light bill or fixing a furnace, but those who contribute to the Living Endowment demonstrate their clear understanding of the relationship of these mundane expenses to the loftier goals of the school.

They also realize that the 10 percent of the budget supported by their gifts provides a large measure of the excellence associated with Davidson’s academic program. Living Endowment gifts provide the margin in the budget, the items which could get cut but don’t, the funds for a new map, a spectrophotometer or a professor’s summer research trip that pays off in the classroom in November. Living Endowment gifts help provide the honorarium for a visiting mathematician who explains his latest discovery firsthand to a group of fascinated students or the salary increase which allows a professor to stay at Davidson without undue sacrifice in the face of a higher offer from another institution.

Computer programs, typewriters, test tubes, and letterheads—even beverages for the Wednesday morning coffee breaks in Chambers Art Gallery—these are more of the day-to-day expenses your contribution to the Living Endowment helps meet. Because of that extra measure of support, Davidson College remains among the nation’s top liberal arts institutions, offering exceptional students a balanced combination of a strong teaching faculty, a challenging curriculum and a college environment in which they may truly flourish.

Arthur Morrison Martin 1902-1982

From the time of his birth in 1902 until his death last December, there were few things Arthur Morrison Martin ever attempted at which he did not excel.

As a student at Davidson College, he distinguished himself academically and socially, achieving a rare blend of excellent scholarship and genuine popularity among his fellow students. It was not enough for him simply to join a dozen or so campus organizations. Arthur accepted the added responsibility as an officer in eight of them. At the same time, he waited tables to earn his keep and worked as an assistant to a Bible professor.

Upon leaving Davidson in 1925, Arthur continued his studies at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Kentucky. He also studied on scholarship in Edinburgh and Paris before accepting a call to a church in his native Savannah, Georgia. In 1938, he moved to Winnsboro, South Carolina, where he was pastor of the Sion Presbyterian Church for 15 years.

He was elected Executive Secretary of the Presbyterian Synod of South Carolina in 1953. Under his guidance over the next 20 years, South Carolina’s Presbyterian Church membership increased by 50 percent and more than 40 new churches were organized. It was also under his leadership that the Synod organized the state’s first Biracial Ministerial Association and its first Ecumenical Council.

Throughout the years of his ministry, Arthur Martin maintained strong ties to his beloved alma mater. He returned to the Davidson campus at least once a year for a reunion or ball game. More important, he helped sustain the college through almost 60 years with a degree of loyalty seldom matched by any alumnus of any school. It was in recognition and appreciation of that support and of his many other achievements that the college awarded him the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 1965.

The changes Arthur Martin witnessed firsthand throughout his association with the college were many. But even as he observed change, he was also witness to a certain constancy of purpose that assured him of the overriding commitment to the same standards of excellence that first drew him to Davidson. It was in support of this excellence that he dedicated himself through the years.

Annual Giving Flyer

Arthur Martin and the Living Endowment of Davidson College

If you’re like most Davidson College alumni, you didn’t know Arthur Morrison Martin personally.

Of course, if you were a student at Davidson during the early twenties, you may have heard one of the humorous “sermons” that “Piggy” Martin delivered in his room in Georgia dormitory. Or maybe you sat next to him in glee club or asked him how many passes you’d completed when you were on the football team and he was the assistant manager.

If you were at Davidson’s Centennial Celebration in 1937, you may well have met him. He was the minister from the Class of ’25, up from Savannah—the fellow whose spirits didn’t t seem the least bit dampened by the sudden June downpour that meant the big pageant had to be cancelled. He was too busy hearing Dr. Lingle’s progress report on the Centennial Fund and telling Dr. Harding how he’d worked a story of Euripides into a sermon.

Maybe you sat near him at the ’49 football game and helped him cheer the Wildcats to their 20-14 victory over N.C. State. Or maybe you noticed him at a class reunion a decade later, discussing the school’s future with its new president, D. Grier Martin.

If you were in the Class of ’56, ’57, ’62 or ’68, Arthur Martin watched you receive your diploma alongside his sons Arthur Jr., James, Joseph and Neal—all of whom are Davidson alumni. If you were at the 1965 commencement, you saw him receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. Or he may well have been the older gentleman you saw in front of Chambers, congratulating Professor Lloyd on his team’s victory in the 1978-79 College Bowl championship.

Through the years, if you were a member of the Class of ’25, you received one or more letters about a subject dear to Martin’s heart—Davidson’s Living Endowment. Martin was class chairman for more than 30 years.

Arthur Martin believed in giving to Davidson every year, and he encouraged others to do so as well. He instructed each of his sons to contribute after they graduated and checked their class rolls at Davidson each year to be sure they had contributed.

A book about the Cold War you checked out of the Little Library when you wrote a paper for Dr. Earl Edmondson’s class may have been paid for with money Arthur Martin donated to Davidson College. A frog you dissected in biology lab, a tube of paint you used in art class, a soccer ball you kicked, a compass and ruler you used to construct a geometric form, a light bulb you switched on in your room at Duke dorm—any one could have been bought with money given by Arthur Martin or some other similarly inspired alumnus.

Taken individually, any one of these things produced at best a negligible impact on the quality of your education at Davidson College. But because of the collective support of thousands of alumni like Arthur Martin, Davidson College could afford to provide them. Because of that support, the school’s administrators spend less time looking for ways to save nickels and dimes and more time on insuring Davidson’s continuing excellence. With your contribution to the Living Endowment, you can have a part in the excellence, too.

Arthur Martin reared four sons on a minister’s salary, yet every year he gave money to the Living Endowment. This year, be sure you’re among those who contribute to this vital source of operating revenue for Davidson College. Your gift will make a difference.

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