Mr. Martin helped write a series of essays in 1973 that were used to identify and clarify Evergreen’s mission and later played a crucial role in shaping the direction of Evergreen’s curriculum.

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S.R. “Rudy” Martin Jr., 80, a founding faculty member of The Evergreen State College, died early Saturday, provost and vice president for academic affairs Michael Zimmerman announced Monday.

Mr. Martin retired in 1997 after working 27 years at the Olympia-based college. He served as faculty chair and academic dean and taught a wide range of offerings in the humanities and arts.

“Evergreen allowed me to spend the vast majority of my work life in a setting and among people that supported my teaching and learning in ways I couldn’t have imagined previously,” Mr. Martin stated in a quote that was posted on Evergreen’s Alumni Programs Web page. “… I attempted new and difficult things, I felt safe taking risks, I learned things I never even inquired about before, and I grew significantly in competence and confidence. I believe all of this made me a deeper, wiser person and a better writer.”

Evergreen faculty member and alumnus Nancy A. Parkes described Mr. Martin as a “foundational writing teacher.”

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“He taught students to read like writers, how to understand the architecture of writing, how to take something apart and put it back together again,” said Parkes, who graduated from Evergreen in 1978.

According to an Olympian archive story: By the time he turned 25 in 1960, Mr. Martin had graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and had become the first black teacher at a California high school. He went on to become the first black faculty member at one of the state’s oldest junior colleges and teach the first African- American literature course offered at Washington State University before he was invited to help start Evergreen.

Retired Evergreen faculty member Oscar Soule said Mr. Martin helped write a series of essays in 1973 that were used to identify and clarify Evergreen’s mission. The essays later played a crucial role in shaping the direction of Evergreen’s curriculum, he said.