Kathy Matson

29WS 2014 Greg & Kathy NC

Kathy Matson, with her mentor, Associate Dean of Students Greg Clement, during the 29 Who Shine awards ceremony.

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education kicked off the 2014 commencement season on May 8 by recognizing recipients of the 29 Who Shine award. The annual ceremony at the State House honors one graduate from each community college, state university and University of Massachusetts campus for their academic achievements and civic contributions to the Commonwealth.

MWCC Business Administration Major Kathleen A. Matson, who has served this academic year as the student representative on the state Board of Higher Education, was among the recipients. Matson also serves as president of the college’s Student Government Association and holds numerous other leadership positions in campus organizations.

“The 29 Who Shine represent the best and the brightest of our public higher education system,” said Secretary of Education Matthew Malone. “I’m inspired by how these graduates are giving back to their communities and at the same, for many, also working full time to support their families. And even with all they have going on these students achieved high academic honors. These are the types of people who you want as your neighbor and I’m very proud of each of them.”

Each of Massachusetts’ 29 public college and university campuses selected its own honoree for the 29 Who Shine awards based on criteria established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

“Our public college and university graduates are ‘here to learn and here to stay,’” said Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education. “These outstanding individuals are citizens of the state who plan to build their lives and livelihoods here in Massachusetts. They have delivered a big return on the taxpayers’ investment in their education and we are delighted to honor their achievements.”

The ceremony also included recognition of each honorees’ faculty or staff mentor. Matson selected Associate Dean of Students Gregory Clement as her mentor. Singer-songwriter Whitney Doucet, a 2013 graduate of MWCC, also represented the college with her performance of “America the Beautiful” during the ceremony.

Additionally, publishers of most daily newspapers across the state have donated full or half-page advertisements to honor the students as a group on May 8. Central Massachusetts of the 29 Who Shine Publishers Campaign include The Gardner News, The Sentinel and Enterprise and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

 

Kathy Matson

Kathleen A. Matson

The state Department of Higher Education will spotlight top students from across Massachusetts at the fourth annual 29 Who Shine” student recognition ceremony on Thursday, May 8, at noon at the Grand Staircase of the Massachusetts State House. The award honors 29 outstanding public college and university graduates, one from each community college, state university and UMass campus in the state, for their academic achievement and community service.

Kathleen A. Matson, a highly regarded student leader on campus and across the state who will earn an associate degree in Business Administration in May, is among the honorees.

A motivated, enthusiastic leader with a passion for helping others, Matson has served this academic year as the student member on the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. As a full voting member of the board, she provides a voice for all public higher education students on issues such as affordability and college completion. During her term, she represented Massachusetts during a Student Voices conference in Washington, D.C., joining peers from across the country in a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to discuss ideas and concerns regarding higher education.

A member of the state-wide Student Advisory Council, Matson serves as a liaison between the council and the BHE. She has served on MWCC’s Student Government Association for two years, including the past year as president.

Matson earned an associate degree in Criminal Justice from MWCC in 1985, and then worked in the private security field for many years. In 2012, she returned to the college to pursue a business degree to combine her interest in these two fields. An exemplary student, she has consistently been recognized for her academic achievements as a President’s List and Dean’s List honoree.

In addition to working two part-time jobs and volunteering for her community, Matson has provided more than 400 volunteer hours to various campus organizations and student groups during this academic year alone. Among her many activities, she holds officer positions with the Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Beta Gamma honor societies, volunteers as an ambassador in the admissions office and as a mentor in the Students Serving Our Students (SOS) office, serves on the MWCC Alumni Association Board, and assists the campus community as a work study student in MWCC’s Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement. For her dedication and commitment to serving others, Matson was recognized earlier this year with Campus Compact’s national Newman Civic Fellow Award.

She and her husband, Calvin, have three sons: Isaac, who graduated from MWCC in 2012, served as SGA president and is now completing a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at Westfield State University; Caleb, a Criminal Justice major, and Zechariah, a Fire Science major, who will both graduate from MWCC this year. All three sons are serving in the military.

The ceremony will also include recognition of each honorees’ faculty and staff mentors. Matson selected Associate Dean of Students Gregory Clement as her mentor.

“Greg has been a constant mentor and friend. He has always been there encouraging and helping me to attain goals I never thought possible. He has been instrumental in my success as a student leader, continually guiding me to broader horizons.”

Whitney Doucet, a 2013 graduate of MWCC, has been chosen to perform “America the Beautiful” during the ceremony. The outgoing, upbeat performer grew up in Leominster and discovered her love for music at a young age, particularly country music. She has been pursuing her passion for singing and performing since 2005 is a voice teacher in Boston and Worcester.

In May 2011, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education launched “29 Who Shine,” a program to recognize outstanding students representing each of our 29 public campuses. The honorees, chosen because of their academic achievements and record of student leadership and community service, stand poised to contribute greatly to the civic life and economic well-being of the state. Whether furthering their education or entering careers here in Massachusetts in fields as diverse as education, public policy, medicine, creative arts, and engineering, they truly embody the vibrant future that we all envision for the Commonwealth.

 

Kathy Matson

For her dedication and commitment to serving others, Mount Wachusett Community College student leader Kathy Matson has been presented with Campus Compact’s national 2014 Newman Civic Fellows Award.

A Business Administration major, Matson represents college students across Massachusetts in her role as the student member on the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, and as a liaison between the board and the state-wide Student Advisory Council, on which she also serves. As a member of the Board of Higher Education, she advocates on behalf of students across the Commonwealth for public policy changes that will impact the ability of students to succeed in higher education. Two policy issues she has helped champion include the restructuring of the math sequence and the integration of civic education at all 29 public colleges and universities across Massachusetts.

In addition to working two jobs and consistently making the President’s List and Dean’s List, the Baldwinville resident has provided more than 400 volunteer hours to various organizations and student groups during this academic year alone. She serves as president of MWCC’s Student Government Association, as an officer in the Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Beta Gamma honor societies, as a Student Ambassador in the Admissions office, as a SALT Ambassador in the Financial Aid office, as a mentor with the Students Serving Our Students office, on the MWCC Alumni Association, and is an active volunteer with numerous Student Life events. She is a second time MWCC student, having first earned an associate degree in Criminal Justice in 1985.

“We are extremely proud of Kathy for her leadership on campus, at the state level, and in the community,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “We are delighted that she has been recognized with this distinguished award. As a student leader, she serves in many capacities and diligently works on behalf of students throughout the Commonwealth. She has a true passion for helping others.”

The Newman Civic Fellows Award recognizes inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. College and University presidents nominate student leaders representing the next generation of civic leaders. This year, 197 students from 36 states received the national award.

The award is named for educator Frank Newman, co-founder of Campus Compact, past president of the University of Rhode Island and author of Higher Education and the American Resurgence. Since 1985, Campus Compact has grown to represent more than 1,100 college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education.

“Being named a Newman Civic Fellow is an amazing honor,” Matson said. “I received this recognition for my civic engagement and volunteerism, but being civically engaged and volunteering is a way of life for me and not something that I do for recognition. I am appreciative to the president, staff and peers at the college who submitted my nomination. They have all been an inspiration to me during my time at MWCC.”

Matson’s ability to be a strong advocate for students make her an exceptional role model, said Fagan Forhan, director of MWCC’s Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement.

“Kathy is an excellent illustration of what it means to be an engaged student and citizen, and exemplifies hard work and determination. She provides alternative perspectives and a strong clear voice as an advocate for herself and others. Kathy is not afraid to be the dissenting voice in a discussion and is always willing to engage in dialogue and debate about important social issues facing our students. Her no nonsense attitude serves her well in this capacity as she empowers other to make positive change in their lives.”

Outside MWCC, Matson is an active volunteer within her community, including serving on the Templeton Community Emergency Response Team as administrative assistant to the Emergency Management Director. In addition, she also volunteers her time to maintain a database of over 4,500 families and volunteers for MassHOPE, the Massachusetts Home School organization.

She and her husband Calvin have three grown sons who are also alumni or current students at MWCC and are entering military service. Prior to returning to MWCC for her second degree, Matson was a stay-at-home parent who home schooled her children for 22 years.

This is the second consecutive year a Mount Wachusett has received the prestigious recognition. In 2013, Human Services major and student veteran Bryan Sanderson of Lunenburg received the award for his initiative founding the Students Serving Our Students peer mentor program.

 

Student Government Association President Kathy Matson, with MWCC President Daniel Asquino, has been appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education for the academic year.

Mount Wachusett Community College student leader Kathy Matson of Baldwinville has been appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education for the 2013-2014 academic year.

A Business Administration major and president of MWCC’s Student Government Association, Matson previously earned an associate degree in Criminal Justice from the college in 1985. She returned last year to pursue a business degree to combine her interests in these two fields.

She is looking forward to the upcoming year representing all Massachusetts public higher education students on the board. The issues of affordability and student success are among her key priorities.

“I am honored to serve on the board,” Matson said. “I come from many different perspectives.  I was here as a new student out of high school and now as an adult returning to college, and I’m the mother of students who came to college out of high school. I feel that I can be a voice for students and bring a lot to the position because of my varied life experiences.”

President Daniel M. Asquino described Matson as a motivated, enthusiastic leader who cares deeply for her fellow students and is committed to community service. “Kathy is making a tremendous difference in the lives of students and residents of our area through her active participation on campus and in the community,” Asquino said. “Being appointed to the Board of Higher Education is a wonderful achievement for her and I’m certain she will serve the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and its students, quite admirably.”

At MWCC, Matson serves as president of the Alpha Beta Gamma business honor society, vice president of civic engagement and community service for the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, as a student ambassador for the college, and as a mentor in the Students Serving Our Students (SOS) office. She is also a member of the state-wide public higher education Student Advisory Council.

In July, she traveled to Washington, DC to take part in a Student Voices Conference as the Massachusetts representative for the Board of Higher Education. At this conference, 17 students from across the country met with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to discuss ideas and concerns regarding higher education. Much of the discussion focused on the costs associated with higher education and ways in which the Department of Education can boost student retention and graduation rates, along with suggestions on providing better financial literacy education to high school students to aid them in choosing an education that meets their needs as well as their budget.

At the conference, Matson joined a wide range of students including young adults attending college for the first time, veterans seeking a college degree after service in the military, and older adults returning to college to complete a degree or enter a new career.  The conference was organized by State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Higher Education to include students in the policy making process. The student leaders plan to meet via conference calls and email throughout the year to continue to ensure student voices are presented at the federal level.

Matson and her husband Calvin have three sons: Isaac, 23, who graduated from MWCC in 2012 with a degree in Criminal Justice, served as SGA president and is now completing a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at Westfield State University; Caleb, 20, a Criminal Justice major at MWCC and a member of the ROTC program; and Zechariah is 18, a Fire Science major at MWCC who is also in the ROTC.

Matson previously worked within the Criminal Justice field in private security and as and an administrative assistant for Digital Equipment.  She works part-time at the MWCC bookstore and for Gold Medal Bakery as a sales representative for Stop and Shop.