Martha Combs Jenkins Receives Distinguished Service Award
- Author: Friday, October 12th, 2018
Martha Combs Jenkins, Ph.D., WKU Professor Emerita, was presented the Florence Fallgatter Distinguished Service Award at the National Conclave of Phi Upsilon Omicron National Honor Society for Family and Consumer Sciences. The Award was presented at the Biennial Meeting near Boston MA on September 28, 2018. Martha is the daughter of the late Ora Mae and James W. Combs of Gamaliel and the widow of the late Jeff Harlin Jenkins who was a faculty member for 33 years and Biology Department Head in the 1980s.
Dr. Jenkins earned her B.S. in Home Economics at Western Kentucky State College in 1959, her M.S. from Louisiana State University, and her Ph. D. from The Ohio State University. She taught at Western Kentucky University (WKU) over a period of 40 years. She retired from WKU Department of Family and Consumer Sciences in 2004, where she was coordinator of Textiles and Clothing and Interior Design programs for 23 years. She chaired the development, approval, and implementation of undergraduate programs in (1) Textiles and Clothing and (2) Interior Design, as well as graduate programs in the same areas. She taught graduate and undergraduate courses, chaired numerous self-studies and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation committee, and served on numerous departmental, college, and university committees.
She has served the Phi Upsilon Omicron (Phi U) National Honor Society as Co-Chair and Treasurer, National Conclave Local Committee, National Conclave Committee (twice), National Counselor, National President, National President Elect & Chair Professional Program Committee, Chair Alumni Research Grant Guidelines Committee, Chair National Handbook Revision Committee, National Executive Board, Chair Professional Development Committee, Representative to National Council Honor Societies, District II Councilor, Member National Council, Council of Home Economics Honor Societies, Candle Editor Search Committee, Personnel Committee, Director Phi Upsilon Omicron Educational Foundation, Chair Awards Criteria Committee, and numerous other committees. She has twice received the National Phi Upsilon Omicron Advisor Award, the only person to do so.
At the local level, Dr. Jenkins was involved in establishing the colony of Phi U 1964-1966, and served as Chapter Advisor, Financial Advisor, Professional Project Advisor &/or Liaison between Beta Delta Collegiate and Alumni Chapters since 1966. She was instrumental in establishing local scholarships and awards. As Professional Project Advisor, the Beta Delta Chapter at WKU won four # 1 recognitions, five other awards at national and district levels, and one excellent rating, as well as 7 award recognitions in previous years as Chapter Advisor. She was president of the Beta Delta Alumni Chapter and has served as Vice President, Corresponding Secretary, Candle Reporter, Co-Chair of L. Evadine Parker-Phi Upsilon Omicron Scholarship Fund Committee, Chair Awards Committee, Chair Bylaws Committee, as well as numerous other committees.
Dr. Jenkins has been an active member and officer &/or committee chair of other professional and charitable organizations, including the American, Kentucky, and District Associations of Family and Consumer Sciences, International Textiles and Apparel Association, Costume Society of America, Dream Factory of Bowling Green, WKU Family and Consumer Sciences and Phi Upsilon Omicron Alumni Association. Additionally, Martha has previously received the Wiley-Berger Award for Volunteer Service from the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, WKU Hall of Fame Award from the College of Health and Human Services, South Central Kentucky Jefferson Award from WBKO and Bowling Green Daily News, Outstanding Professional in Family and Consumer Sciences Award from the Kentucky Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, WKU Faculty Excellence Award from the College of Applied Arts and Health, Outstanding Contributions to Women from the WKU Women’s Alliance, among others. She has published numerous articles in professional and honor society journals. She and her late husband, Dr. Jeff H. Jenkins, recently established the Steen-Jenkins Scholarship for a Monroe County student pursuing a degree in Teacher Education.