Chuck Martin, a UCI Foundation trustee and generous philanthropist for Merage School, died March 28 at the age of 80. Well known in the Orange County business community, Martin most recently served as the chairman, CEO and chief investment officer for Mont Pelerin Capital, a company he founded in 2005.
“I think the most amazing thing about Chuck was, even for all of his success in business and finance, he’s continued to be the most humble, down-to-earth man I’ve ever met,” said longtime friend and colleague Mike Cancelleri, FEMBA ’05.
“All he ever cared about was the impact on others and how he could contribute in a bigger way to everything he was involved with,” Cancelleri said. “He was an inspiring person.”
Martin and Cancelleri worked together for many years on a unique investment program at the Merage School called the Polaris Investment Competition. Each year, Martin would provide anywhere between $175,000 and $300,000 for capital (real money) for MBA students to invest. The students teams would compete and the winners were able to use a portion of their proceeds to pay for tuition as a scholarship. The MBA students who participated in the competition were notorious for beating the street with their investment portfolios of publicly traded equities. The program ran from 2004 to 2014.
“Chuck was a unique individual with many talents. Graduating with five degrees from Ohio State, he traveled to California to accept his first position after borrowing $300 from the family doctor. He rose to be a CEO very quickly and later established one of the most successful venture capital companies in the world. Even more impressive, his impact on the community was substantial with many contributions to higher education and the arts,” said Andy Policano, director of the Center for Investment and Wealth Management at the Merage School “Chuck was a dear friend who played a major role in attracting me to UC Irvine. His vision and advice as Chair of the Dean’s Advisory board was invaluable. Chuck was a mentor to all who could benefit from his wisdom. Students, faculty, CEOs and university and community leaders have all been greatly influenced by this wonderfully generous individual. He is dearly missed.”
Over more than 20 years, Martin was closely involved with UCI. He was instrumental in creating The Paul Merage School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board. He also helped create the Chancellor’s Advisory Council and led the initiative to establish a UCI honors college. A valued trustee of the UCI Foundation, Martin was awarded the prestigious UCI Medal in 2013.
In addition to investing, Martin recently authored a book titled, Orange County, Inc.: The Evolution of an Economic Powerhouse, which was published in 2016.
“Chuck’s role as a friend and adviser to our campus is irreplaceable,” said UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman. “His dedication to attracting the best students and giving them the best education will remain an inspiration.”