Robert Martin ’66 accepts Distinguished Achievement Award
Judge Robert D. Martin, Class of 1966, throughout your life you have epitomized Cornell’s values, and you have made your fellow Cornellians proud of your accomplishments.
You came to the Hilltop in the footsteps of your mother, and an aunt and uncle, a Cornell legacy that goes back 80 years. Here, you majored in both political science and religion, joined the Gammas, and played football, earning all conference honors and being selected as a national runner-up for a NCAA postgraduate scholarship. It was here that you met your wife, classmate Ruth Haberman Martin, also from the Class of 1966.
Your law career began upon graduating from the University of Chicago Law School in 1969, and you worked for the law firm Ross and Stevens for nine years, specializing in bankruptcy litigation. You were appointed to the bankruptcy court just before the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 became law. You have served on that Court ever since, being Chief Judge from 1979 until 2013. We congratulate you on your retirement from the bench just a few short weeks ago
You have distinguished yourself as an astute judge and leading scholar of bankruptcy law. You are the co-author with Judges Robert Ginsberg and Susan Kelley of the three-volume “Ginsberg and Martin on Bankruptcy,” now in its fifth edition. You co-authored the Wisconsin lawyers and lenders handbook on secured transactions and authored the Bankruptcy chapter in Stein on Construction Law. In addition, you are a contributor to “Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice” and to “Norton Bankruptcy Law Advisor.”
You have taught debtor/creditor and bankruptcy law at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and you have been a faculty member for bankruptcy judge training at the Federal Judicial Center.
You have been diligent in your service to the law in general and to your specialty of bankruptcy law in particular. You are a conferee in the National Bankruptcy Conference, a past president of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges and a former national director of the Turnaround Management Association. In 1990, you were selected as a charter Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy. You actively participated in the National Bankruptcy Review Commission in the mid-1990s. You have been a frequent contributor to continuing legal education as a speaker and lecturer.
Your contributions to the field have been recognized by your peers, who named you the 2011 recipient of the Judge Norton Judicial Excellence Award, and the 2012 recipient of the Turnaround Management Association’s Chairman’s Award.
Throughout your career, your commitment to the law and justice has been unswerving. Your commitment to Cornell College has also been steadfast. You have been a financial supporter of the College’s Ash Park athletics project and you co-taught Nature, Functions, and Limits of Law with President Jonathan Brand in 2012.
On behalf of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the entire Cornell community, it is an honor to present you with the Distinguished Achievement Award.
Robert D. Martin ’66 is a judge and legal scholar. Upon his graduation from Cornell, where he met his wife, Ruth Haberman Martin ’66, Judge Martin entered the University of Chicago Law School. He then spent nine years in private practice, specializing in bankruptcy litigation. He joined the federal bankruptcy court in 1978 and was appointed chief judge for the Western District of Wisconsin from 1979 to 2013. He is renowned for his scholarship, having co-authored the three-volume “Ginsberg and Martin on Bankruptcy,” now in its fifth edition, and “Secured Transactions Handbook for Wisconsin Lawyers and Lenders.” He has taught at the University of Wisconsin, has been a faculty member for judge training at the Federal Judicial Center, and is a frequent contributor to continuing legal education. He is a past president of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, past chairman of the board of Lutheran Social Services for Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, was the 2011 recipient of the Judge Norton Judicial Excellence Award, and the 2012 recipient of the Turnaround Management Association’s Chairman’s Award. He retired from the bench in September 2016.