Martin Named Chief of Staff/Asst. to the President for Strategy and Government Relations


Chris MartinChris Martin of St. Louis, Missouri, director of corporate and governmental relations and associate director of development at Southeast Missouri State University, has been named chief of staff and assistant to the president for strategy and government relations at Southeast.

The appointment was effective Dec. 1.

“We are extremely pleased that Chris will be joining the executive team,” said Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “He brings a significant breadth of knowledge and extensive political and legal leadership experience in higher education. We believe he will be a tremendous asset, and we look forward to welcoming him into the Cape Girardeau community.”

In his new role, Martin will serve as a member of Southeast President Carlos Vargas’ Executive Staff, overseeing the president’s schedule, coordinating initiatives, managing state and federal government relations activities, meeting with the University’s lobbyist and tracking legislation that affects Southeast.

In addition, Martin will assist Vargas and Provost Karl Kunkel in University interactions with the Missouri Department of Higher Education and the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE). He will also serve as the University’s liaison with the Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE) and will represent the University in community, national, state and regional activities.

“Southeast is a great institution with good people,” Martin said. “I am honored President Vargas has given me this opportunity to continue contributing to Southeast in this new capacity.”

He says Southeast employees are very fortunate to be able to make a difference every day in the lives of students.

“Being part of a storied institution that wants to make sure you and everyone around you is successful” is a wonderful environment in which to work and study, he said.

Martin has been employed by Southeast since May 2013. During that time, he has managed the University’s St. Louis Outreach Office, where he has been responsible for implementing a comprehensive corporate relations strategy for the University through the St. Louis metro area. There, he has identified, cultivated and solicited donors for the Southeast Missouri University Foundation and assisted with alumni relations in enhancing alumni and community outreach throughout the St. Louis area. He has facilitated meetings, industry tours and engagement opportunities for students, faculty and University leaders in the St. Louis region. He also has assisted with state government advocacy and outreach initiatives, corporate relations, and federal government relations activity. He has served as the University’s liaison to the St. Louis Regional Chamber, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis and Hawthorn Foundation, and has served as a member of the University’s Academic Visionary Committee.

Prior to his work with Southeast, Martin was an associate attorney with Dunn & Miller, PC in St. Louis; and manager of regionalism and government relations with the Regional Business Council in St. Louis.

Martin holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Tulsa College of Law and is licensed by the Missouri State Bar. He also holds Bachelors of Arts in both political science and public management from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri.

He has taken an active role in his community as well as a member of the St. Louis Planned Giving Council and the St. Louis Agribusiness Club; and a member and president of the St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish School Board. He previously served as a member of the board of directors of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse-St. Louis Area and the board of Legal Advocates for Abused Women and is a past Missouri state master councilor and 36th International Congress Secretary of DeMolay International.

Martin and his wife Terri have three children, Abby, Loralei and Sam.