Dr. Fred Mathews in his 45th year as SMC chairman

Published 8:46 am Friday, January 16, 2009

By Staff
At its Jan. 13 meeting, Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees installed board members who were re-elected in the November 2008 general election and also re-elected officers to serve for the next two years.
Tom Jerdon of Dowagiac, Jan Kairis of Ontwa Township and Paul File of LaGrange Township were re-elected to six-year terms on the Board of Trustees.
Jerdon begins his 18th year on the board, Kairis her 25th year and File his sixth year.
Dr. Fred L. Mathews of Dowagiac was re-elected chairman of the Board of Trustees. Mathews begins his 45th year as chairman.
Mathews is the second longest serving community college board chairman in the nation.
He served as chairman of public information on the committee to study the feasibility of a college in Cass County during 1963-64.
He also led the campaign for voter approval of SMC in the summer and fall of 1964.
Mathews was elected to the first SMC Board of Trustees in November 1964. His fellow trustees elected him chairman of the board that same year and he has been re-elected chairman by the trustees every two years since.
Mathews is a founder of the Michigan Community College Association (MCCA) and has served on the MCCA's board of directors since the organization's inception in 1969.
He is a past president and treasurer of the MCCA and served for more than 20 years as chairman of the association's Committee on Legislature.
He also served for several years on the national Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) board of directors.
During his 57 years in Dowagiac, Mathews has been actively involved in many other local and state community development organizations.
Upon his re-election as chairman, he said, "It has been an honor and privilege to have served as a trustee and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Southwestern Michigan College these past 44 years. I thank the members of the Board of Trustees for their confidence and look forward to these next two years. I am proud to have been part of the effort of turning the idea of a community college 45 years ago into one of the nation's premier community colleges."