Mathews to give address at Saturday’s SMC commencement ceremony

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, April 30, 2014

SMC Chairman Fred Mathews will deliver the commencement address this Saturday. (Submitted photo)

SMC Chairman Fred Mathews will deliver the commencement address this Saturday. (Submitted photo)

Southwestern Michigan College hosts its 47th commencement ceremony Saturday at 11 a.m. in the gymnasium of the Charles O. Zollar Building on the Dowagiac campus.

SMC will confer associate degrees and certificates on a record graduating class.

In addition, Ferris State University will award 28 bachelor’s degrees during the ceremony.

Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Fred L. Mathews, the longest-serving chairman in the United States, will deliver the commencement address.

Mathews, chairman for all 50 years since SMC’s 1964 founding, will reflect on the college’s early years.

Mathews is the only 1970 founding member of the Michigan Community College Association still serving on the MCCA board, of which he is past president. He chaired MCCA’s legislative committee for 25 years.

In July 2011, Mathews received the MCCA Recognition Award presented annually to individuals who make exemplary contributions and render distinguished service to Michigan’s 28 community colleges.

He served on the board of directors of the
Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), the national organization representing trustees from across the country.

ACCT, which represents more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern more than 1,200 U.S. community colleges, in 1976 recognized Mathews as the nation’s most outstanding trustee.

Mathews came to Dowagiac Feb. 1, 1952, to practice optometry.

His own education came through Central Michigan University and the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis.

His more than six decades of community service on the local level include being a founding member of the Cass County Transportation Authority, which he served on for 25 years; founding member, Cass County Planning Commission, 18 years; founding member of Community State Bank (now Huntington Bank) and on its board for 37 years; and leading the committee which established Rotary Villa senior housing.

He has been president of the corporation board of directors which guides Rotary Villa for 27 years.

As Dowagiac Downtown Development Authority (DDA) chairman for 10 years, 1988-1998, he oversaw revitalization of the central business district.

He has been on the tri-county Michigan Works! board for 14 years, sits on The Timbers’ advisory board, was a founding member of Dowagiac Lions Club and won Elks Citizen of the Year and Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellowship.

In the 1950s, he was a founding member of the Greater Dowagiac Association, formed to rebuild the city’s industrial base after a major employer closed.

The industrial development group was a forerunner of Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce. Mathews even served on the Miss Dowagiac Pageant committee. He also performed as a magician.

He and Thelda, his wife of 61 years, have two sons, Scott, a corporate chief operating officer in Seattle; David, seventh SMC president, and six grandchildren.

Rev. Kevin Covert, pastor of Holy Maternity of Mary Catholic Church in Dowagiac, will give the invocation and benediction.

SMC Symphonic Band, conducted by Dr. Jonathan Korzun, and Select Voices, directed by David Carew, will provide music for the ceremony.

Because space is limited, tickets are required for the commencement ceremony.

A reception for graduates, their families and friends immediately follows commencement in the Student Activity Center of the Charles O. Zollar Building.

Following is a list of Southwestern Michigan College graduates by hometown.


Courtney Bennett

Evan Cauffman

Kristopher Doughty

Tara Fox

Trevor Gray

Cassiddy Kendall

Kaley Kimbrell

Amy Mann

Caitlin McCalebb

Cody Morris

Carla Nagy

Nicole Rutherford

Connor Sheridan

Karli Wendorf



Paula Carpenter

William Carr

Brittany D’Antonio

Arminda Dussel

Gavin Francis

Benjamin Frank

Colin Harding

Alicia Keefe

Syna Lace

Nickole Martin

Desirae Massey

Christopher Mitchell

Lacey Parsons

Sherri See

Mary Smith

Ashley Solloway

Amanda Sparks

Matthew Toney

Brendan Westrick

Danielle Wright



Dixie Adams

Guadalupe Arellano-Nelson

Isaac Bowman

Michael Boyd

Darnesha Bradshaw

Jacoya Brookins

Fawn Bussler

Perla Medina Cano

Kelsey Cleveland

Matthew Collins

Megan Collins

Elizabeth Corwin

Timothy Craig

Whitney Donaldson

Cody Dorman

Gabrielle Dorman

Brooks Diamond

Jordan Eby

Damien Evans

CJ Ferrier

Tessa Gardner

Michaelann Gartner

Carley Gentry

Antonette Green

Zacharias Guernsey

Emily Heidenreich

Nicole Himes

Kayla-Christine Hollowell

Maxwel Howe

Kortney Huston

Kandice Jackson

Cody Klomes

David Kroening

Martin Krohn

Beverly Lockhart

Ardell Mahone

Brandy McDonald

Jamie Meiser

Mark Miller

Stacey Miller

John Morseau

Hannah Pacheco

Jessica Pike

Cynthia Pressnall

Brad Ruminer

Robin Runyan

Sarah Schuur

Dawn Secord

Andrea Skalla

Tara Sova

Danny St Cin

Kristan Stelmasiak

Mary Stewart

Jennifer Stockwell

Faith Styx

Justin Squier

Rebecca Timmons

Ashley Turnbow

Jacqueline Tschupp

Lindy Valenzuela

Michael Warren

Markee Woods

Jessica Worthington



Carl Alwine

Amanda Barella

Daniel Bragg

Matthew Boyer

Hollis Claire

Jessika Clement

Robin Craddock

Travis Demmon-Masten

Kara Edge

Benjamin Fahey

Victor Gutierrez-Schultz

Catherine Harris

Latasha Hobbs

Evan Hollingsworth

Shaunel Jacobs

Michelle LaMore

Lacy Lentine

Velinda McAllister

Tera McClellan

MaKayla McNiel

Chloe Monica

Alyssa Nasco

Nicole Nasco

Rebecca Pace

Jay Penny

Brenden Pozsgai

Misty Qualls

Kara Spencer

Alexander Steinke

Brittani Stutsman

Troy Treat

Heather Valentine

Anders Visser

Ronald Weinberg



Kristina Abshagen

Christina Allen

Tyler Asmus

Gary Barnes

Julie Barnett

Lora Baugher

Dylan Baxter

Christopher Beavo

Monica Bielski

Andrew Bizoe

David Blank

Jason Bonner

Allysa Booe

Lee Brubaker

Rachel Cacho

Holly Cowan

Michael Chappel

Lisa Cherrone

Melissa Cooper

Delaina Croom

Jessica Curtis

Patricia Davis

Jenna Dowling

Demi Firth

Tabitha Gard

Sean Gleason

Rosemary Hamilton

Dakota Harding

Allison Harris

Tyler Hartman

Emily Herman

Matthew Hiestand

Raylin Hinds

Ryan Housing

Katrina Howard

Jonathan Howe

Tanya Humphrey

Brandi Huskey

Cassandra Ivers

Tara Kaiser

Allison Kennedy

Remitha Komaranchath

Hunter Krueger

Brandon Krisher

Alvin Kyles

Tiffany Lawrence

Samantha Leonard

Joelene Little

Tammy Lorenzo

Megan Lutzen

Matthew McCracken

Kaytlyn Miller

Trent Milliken

Amy Mills

Emily Mills

Brittney Molica

Katy Morseau-Rader

Heidi Moore

Allyson Newlin

Alexander Novitzke

Kyle Oppman

Misty Ostrander

Chrystal Pence

Patricia Rader

Gerald Ralston

Nicholas Ratering

Courtney Reed

Ceili Rockhill

Patricia Robinson

Tammy Ropp

Zach Rose

Casey Sandoval

Lois Sattler

Eric Shadix

Earl Shaffer

Warren Simpson

Nicole Skudlarek

Matthew Smith

Penny Smith

Shana Stout

Taylor Stowe

Jennifer Sturdee

Eldra Thomas

Joshua Thomas

Camile Thompson

Chelsea Thompson

Christian Thompson

Christella VanLue

DeLynda Virgil

Larry Wilson

Nicholas Wright