Mirta Martin. Courtesy of Ferrum College.
Mirta Martin. Courtesy of Ferrum College.

Ferrum College has named interim president Mirta Martin as its 13th president.

Martin served as president of Fairmont State University in West Virginia from 2018 to 2022, and Fort Hays State University in Kansas from 2014 to 2016. Prior to Fort Hays, Martin served as the dean of Virginia State University’s Reginald F. Lewis School of Business from 2009 to 2014. Between her presidencies at Fort Hays and Fairmont State, “she also served as the Senior Education Adviser to former Mexican President Vicente Fox and a Senior Scholar for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities,” her website says.

In December, she was named interim president at Ferrum, following the sudden depature of David Johns in November 2022, and started on January 2.

A statement from Ferrum said the Board of Trustees confirmed Martin as president “following a day of campuswide community ‘listening sessions’ in September and a full review by the Board of Trustees during their October meeting.”

In the statement, Ferrum said: “The Board’s confirmation was anchored by their confidence in Martin’s ability to lead the implementation of the College’s strategic plan, as well as her positive leadership traits and bold leadership style, her demonstrated passion for Ferrum College and its students, and her creativity and innovation, which were all highlighted by faculty, staff and students during the community listening sessions.”

Mirta is a native of Havana, Cuba. Her personal website says she fled Cuba for Spain when she was 6, along with her sister and grandmother. Eventually they moved to the United States. Not until 13 years later did her mother and two brothers join them. “It would be 33 years before she would lay eyes again upon her aged father,” her website says. “Many in her family, however, she never saw again.”

Martin holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and political science from Duke University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Richmond and a doctorate with an emphasis in strategic management and leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University. She worked in banking before moving into higher education, her website says, with stops at Averett University, the University of Richmond and what was then John Tyler (now Brightpoint) Community College. Eventually she worked as a special assistant to the chancellor of the Virginia Community College System before joining Virginia State.