Kimberlie Martin, daughter of Harold W. Martin, JD ’57, facilitated the creation a scholarship program at Golden Gate University, in honor of her father. Below are excerpts from a speech given by Kimberlie at the Bridge Society Luncheon on December 8, 2024.
My dad was born in 1925 in Watsonville, a small farming community on the central coast of California. As a boy, he really didn’t know what he wanted to do when he grew up. All that changed when he was in high school. There was some controversy that ended in a court case that was very polarizing. Like many people in town, he turned up at the courthouse to watch the proceedings. It was standing room only and he couldn’t get in. So, he climbed on the roof and watched and listened from the open windows. What he saw mesmerized him. Watching the interaction between the attorneys, judge, and jury, the seeds of a profession were planted.
A couple years later, World War II had started and he dropped out of high school to join the Navy with his parents’ consent. He spent the next few years stationed on the South Pacific on a destroyer. He recalls walking the deck late at night sometimes in the freezing cold keeping watch. It was there that he decided he was going to law school when he got out of the military. After he was discharged, he came back to California, finished high school, and enrolled in UC Berkeley. After graduation, he enrolled at GGU Law at night while he worked during the day for an insurance company. He graduated with his JD in 1957.
There was no one more passionate about the law than my dad. Into his 90s he could cite case law like it was 1985 again. He loved the law, practicing until he was in his early 70s. When he retired, he started talking about creating a scholarship program. He was very deliberate about what he wanted to give back to the university that gave him his profession and his passion, second only to his love of family and fishing. He wanted the scholarship program to be for legal students, for students in need, and those of French and Belgian ancestry. After he passed away, we expanded it beyond the JD program to include anyone studying law and, because he was so passionate about his time in the Navy, the scholarship includes anyone in the active or retired military. If he were here today, he would be so proud that we were able to bring this to fruition. This was a long-term goal of his and he would be overjoyed. We as his family are so happy to be able to give back to the university. He had a great experience and he talked about GGU often. He had a lot of great things to say about GGU. It was never far from his heart. And I’m really pleased that we are finally able to bring this fruition.
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