When Whitworth launched its Faith in the Future Campaign in 2000, Clyde Matters, ’50, embodied the campaign’s motto in more ways than one. He was featured in the artwork for the campaign, wearing his vintage letterman sweater and holding a smiling baby. But Matters’ work as an educator is the best illustration of his dedication to those who followed in his footsteps.
After serving in General Patton’s U.S. Army in World War II, Matters enrolled at Whitworth, where he made a name for himself as a basketball star and was greatly admired by his peers. He was awarded the college’s annual Pirette Inspirational Trophy in 1948. After graduating from Whitworth with a bachelor of science degree, in 1950, and a master’s in education, in 1951, he taught in the Spokane public schools for a year before returning to Whitworth, where he was a professor until 1957.
Matters went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where he was a research associate, in 1960. From 1960-63 he worked was assistant superintendent of schools in King County, Wash. He then accepted a post with the Ford Foundation as a consultant in Nigeria for teacher-training schools in West Africa. He remained there with his wife and two children until 1970.
Matters returned to Whitworth to teach, and he briefly chaired the physical education department. In 1972 he was elected president of Hastings College, in Nebraska; he retired in 1985. His children – Cynthia (Matters) Carroll, ’72, and Richard Matters, ’73 – are also Whitworth graduates.
Matters and his wife, Annie (Skeels), ’57, served Whitworth in a number of ways after their return to Spokane. For several years, Clyde served as Crimson Club president. When he died, in 2004, Director of Athletics Scott McQuilkin, ’84, said of him, “It was important to Clyde that as A.D. I knew the history of Whitworth P.E. and athletics, in particular the stories of the people who had gone before me and how they contributed to this place. While faithful in his support and generous with his time, Clyde was also a guardian of Whitworth’s past. We’re better today because he made certain that we knew our history and the people who made it.”