Bircham University vision & foundation.
Enrique Martin y Alonso-Martinez had the vision about how the BIU pedagogical approach could actually contribute to adult continuing education and established the basis and the structure for making BIU a reality.
The Alonso-Martinez family has an aristocratic root of several generations that started with Manuel Alonso-Martinez in 1827. This brilliant and intelligent lawyer was appointed Minister in Spain with 27 years old, the youngest minister ever in the country. He became President of the Congress in 1890. His contributions were so large that his Majesty Alfonso XII, King of Spain, nominated him Marquis of Alonso-Martinez.
Enrique Martin y Alonso-Martinez was the grandson of Manuel Alonso-Martinez. He was born on June 2, 1942. He did not inherit the title of Marquis but he seemed to inherit the brilliant mind and drive of his predecessor. Enrique started his career in the sixties. At that time, Spanish economy was waking, there we many things to do, and very few people capable of doing them. When he was barely 20 years old, he was in charge of the Marketing and Promotion of the recently inaugurated IBERIA Airlines. At 23, KODAK hired him to lead the promotional expansion of its photographic products in the Iberian Peninsula.
In 1966, Enrique got married. He had 3 children: William, Jaime and Elsa.
Enrique Martin y Alonso-Martinez proved to have such leadership and vision that in 1969 the US Multinational Advertising Group NCK hired him as CEO for the new Spanish Branch despite of his young age. He was just 25 years old. With 27 he became Vice-President of the parent company and one of the key members of the board. In 1976 he left the NCK Multinational Advertising Group to become member of the board of OLSBEGA, the first COCA COLA bottling Company in Europe. He was also member of the board of several other relevant companies. This career shift allowed him to focus on several independent projects that were increasing in complexity and confidentiality.
In the eighties, he was appointed the key person for the relations between Alianza Popular (now Partido Popular), the Spain right wing liberal party, and the USA. He also became an expert in several issues related with Security and established very close relations with the Army in Spain, US and NATO. He was also part of the board of ESABE, the largest Security company in Spain at those times. Additionally he was the advisor and key person for the business of some major US Companies: Walt Disney's Euro Project, CBS Enternteinment expansion in Spain, and Hughes Aircraft as well as Northrop International Aircraft business with Spain.
He received personal greetings from his Majesty, Juan Carlos I, King of Spain. Former US president Bill Clinton nominated him ambassador of Arkansas when he was the Governor of that State. He was also appointed Honorary Secretary of State in Texas among many other honors and nominations such Honorary Admiral of the Texas Navy or Honorary Commander of the Spain Airborne Brigade (BRIPAC). Just as a final note: Former US president Ronald Reagan wrote three personal letters to Enrique Martin y Alonso-Martinez calling him his "friend and fellow caballero in Spain".
In the nineties, Enrique Martin y Alonso-Martinez retired to live in the South Coast of Spain and conducted his activities with a quiet confidential profile. During this time he was requested by his son William to help him evaluate different adult education alternatives. William was looking for an institution to complete some additional training in Film Making. Enrique's contacts provided an accurate picture of the education field informing him about issues such accreditation, diploma mills, independent learning, etc... He himself realized that he had accomplished many things in his life but that he never had the chance to complete any postgraduate or doctoral degree. Adult degree programs was the perfect solution for many people like himself. Then he contacted Prof. Dr. Deric Bircham and learned about his ideas about adult education. And he loved them. Prof. Dr. Deric Bircham had spent many years doing pedagogical research and collaborating with other educational institutions, but he never managed to turn his ideas into an independent and autonomous running institution.
Enrique Martin y Alonso-Martinez started working with his son William Martin in the actual design of a project that would turn Deric's ideas into a real and operational institution. Unfortunately, Enrique died in 1998 leaving the BIU project in a quite early stage. Then, Deric Bircham, motivated by the vision of the Alonso Martinez family, asked his step son Laurence Wen-Hung Chengto to help William Martin and provide some additional business support. Thanks to the vision of these musketeers, Bircham International University could actually open its door to the first students in the year 2000. A new millennium was born and a new quality approach to adult degree programs took shape in accordance to the new trends and visions of the Twenty First Century.
Enrique Martin y Alonso-Martinez died in 1998 at the age of 56. Rest in Peace.
BIU Founder - Enrique Martin
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