UK College of Education Hall of Fame


Martha Layne CollinsMartha Layne Collins
B.S. in Home Economics Education, ’72
Honorary Doctorate from UK, ’85
Named to the Alumni Hall of Fame in 1990

Governor Martha Layne Collins grew up in Shelby County, Kentucky, graduated from The University of Kentucky and was a schoolteacher until 1970. She then assumed a role as Coordinator of Women’s Activities in a number of political campaigns, leading her into public office. Collins served as Clerk of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Kentucky from 1975 to 1979, where she guided the office through the most far-reaching changes in the history of the state’s judicial system.

Having been elected to a term as Lieutenant Governor from 1979 to 1983, Collins sat as president of the State Senate and as both Vice-Chair and Chair of the National Conference of Lieutenant Governors. As Lieutenant Governor, Collins gained critical experience in leadership serving as acting Governor 25% of her term. She was then elected as the first (and only) female Governor of the Commonwealth in 1983. ppp pppDuring her tenure as Governor (1983-1987) she is noted for establishing education reform and economic development as critical priorities and for achieving success on both fronts. Passage of a $300 million education reform package and creation of record jobs and investment were highlights of the Collins administration. She was also instrumental in bringing Toyota Motor Manufacturing and many other international supply companies to Kentucky. As a result of the outstanding relationships she developed, Governor Collins was named Honorary Consul General of Japan in Kentucky and continues to serve in this position.

After leaving the Governor’s office, Martha Layne Collins served as president of St. Catharine College for six years, as the Executive-in-Residence at the University of Louisville’s School of Business, and as the Director of the International Business and Management Center at the University of Kentucky’s Carol Martin Gatton College of Business and Economics. Governor Collins was a Harvard University Fellow in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at the Institute of Politics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1998, Governor Collins became Executive Scholar in Residence at Georgetown College, Georgetown, Kentucky, where she developed the Center for Commerce, Language and Culture.

In 2003, Governor Collins was the recipient of the First Annual World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) World Trade Day Book of Honor Award for the state of Kentucky. This award is presented to a company or individual in recognition of exemplary contribution to advancing peace and stability through trade. 2004 marked a new direction for Governor Collins when she was invited to join the staff of the Kentucky World Trade Center as the new Chair & CEO. She stepped into this role officially in January 2005.

Governor Collins serves on the Board of Directors for Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, NY; Regional Technology Strategies, Incorporated, Chapel Hill, NC; Spencer County Industrial Development Authority, Taylorsville, KY; and, Advisory Board Member of BB&T, Louisville, KY; Women Leading Kentucky, Lexington, KY. She also is a member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, Kentucky Derby Festival Committee, and the Board of Visitors of the University of Kentucky Martin School of Public Policy and Administration.

Additionally, Governor Collins has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the Volunteers of America Award, the special Millennium Celebration Award from the Kentucky Commission on Women, the Junior Achievement Award of the Bluegrass, the Kentuckians of New York Award, the John C. Stennis Award, and was named a University of Kentucky Distinguished Alumnae.

Governor Collins is married to Dr. Bill L. Collins and enjoys the company of her five grandchildren.

College of Education Hall of Fame

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