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Glenn Martin next to plane in 1912

Glenn L. Martin Honored in 1933




Wesleyan Confers On Him Honorary Degree at Founder’s Day Banquet

A Hometown boy who has made good – Glenn L. Martin, head of the aircraft company bearing his name – was the guest of honor at the annual Founders Day banquet at Kansas Wesleyan University held at the First Methodist Church Monday evening. It was one of the largest crowds that has been present at such an event, many of those present having been boyhood or school-hood friends of Mr. Martin.

Culmination of the affair came with the conferring of the degree of Bachelor of Science upon the guest by President L.B. Bowers of the university. And proudest of all the crowd that had gathered to pay tribute to the achievement of the man who was dreaming and working with plans for airplanes when most people had not yet their first automobile, was Mrs. C.Y. Martin, mother of the newly created doctor of science, who was enjoying the greatest satisfaction that comes to any mother – the pleasure of seeing the old home town crowd give formal and public credit to her son for his accomplishment.

And, probably because so many in the audience realized the part that her sympathy and encouragement had played in his success. The crowd stood in homage to Mrs. Martin and to all mothers when she was introduced.

In response to the conferring of the degree, Mr. Martin first thanked Kansas Wesleyan and its faculty and Board of Trustees for the honor, and expressed his personal pleasure for the opportunity to meet with his old friends. Then he plunged into a discussion about the airline industry, and told modestly for the part his own company, which largely builds aircraft for the Army and Navy, has taken in the development of the fighting plane.

“In our research laboratory we are far ahead of the developments in airplanes for the use of war,” Mr. Martin said. “Much of what is being done cannot be told, for it comes under the head of military information, and is zealously guarded. In fact Secret Servicemen are stationed all over Baltimore, where the plant is located, to prevent outsiders of getting an idea of what we are doing, or the experiments we are conducting.”

Transportation has been developing rapidly. It took the telegraph and telephone to make the practical the safe operation of fast trains, and it took the radio to make the airplane a tremendous factor in war preparations. In fact, it is generally conceded that in future wars, the nation with the greatest strength in the air has the most insurmountable advantage.

With the bombing planes, we can seek the weakest link on a railroad and destroy it to interfere with movement of supplies and mobilization of troops. Highways can be destroyed that will require months to reconstruct, power plants can be wrecked so that they are useless unless they can be rebuilt, which also is a matter of months, and if the struggle becomes desperate enough, germs gas and bacteria can be released which will wipe out entire communities.

In spite of these destructive uses, the airplane has many constructive advantages. It is being used in map making and a complete topographical map can be assembled by airplane photography that is more available than a map obtained by surveying and is less costly. Dusting growing plants with preventatives to avoid insect pests is another commercial phase that is rapidly developing, while many planes are being used for coast patrol, for ambulance planes and for many other similar purposes.

Right now we are working on commercial planes that will carry many passengers, and that will be as safe as any method of transportation, in fact, safer. Already many devices are known to make flying more safe, and as the need for them develops we will be able to solve the problems that we will face.

Personally I believe in disarmament, but I also am convinced that the easiest way to bring that about is to be ready to face any situation that may arise. With aircraft we can both attack and defend and the new planes we are building are so constructed that they can fly more than two hundred miles per hour. Recently we have been able to construct a plane that can discharge a horizontal bomb, and that is a great advantage. Here before bombs have been aimed at the target by diving straight down over the target, to be hit, and then releasing the bomb, but now we are able to fly straight ahead, thousands of feet in the air, and at the same time aim at the target with almost no misses.

Today we are ahead of other countries in the development of aircraft, but the advantage may not be for long. So for our own protection, it is necessary to continue our experiments and to maintain supremacy in the air, for the speed and distances that large planes can fly without refueling makes it imperative that we can both attack and defend against a method of warfare that is more dangerous than any menace we have ever faced.”

Other features of the event were the addresses by Bishop Charles L. Mead and Dr. W. J. Davidson. Both stressed the importance of Kansas Wesleyan because of its combination of education at low cost and its background of religion.

“The first task of modern education is to restore faith in God,”Bishop Mead stated in quoting the opening remarks if a speaker before New York University. “Trained youth is responsible for the development of the airplane,” he continued, pointing to the exploits of Charles A. Lindbergh and to the fact that Glenn L. Martin was a student of Kansas Wesleyan. Give these young men and women education with a religious background, both speakers asserted and they will carry on the work that has been started, and will solve the problems of the present day and of the future in such a way that will be the foundation upon which they build will be permanent.

Music was furnished by Kansas Wesleyan quartets composed of Misses Emily Hancock, Lucille Haymen, Ethel, Todd and Ellen Jones and Hollis Hayward, Ranold Plott, Herlan Loyd, and Ralph Dungan. Music during the dinner was furnished by the Wesleyan Trio, while Louis Zerbe gave a delightful violin solo and F.H. Denker a most enjoyable vocal solo. President Bowers opened the meeting and Rev, G. H. Zentz, pastor of the First Methodist Church, was toastmaster.

A feature of the banquet was a special table reserved for members of the faculty of the university, who were presented to the audience in a body. Probably few persons before had realized how many were employed by the school, nor how much their educational and financial contribution had meant to the community. Incidentally it was a fitting tribute to a group of instructors who have been most loyal to the university, and have made many personal and financial sacrifices to contribute to its welfare.


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NOTE: Glenn L. Martin was inducted into the first class of the KWU Athletics Hall of Fame in the fall of 1976.