When President Dr. David M. Mathews joined Southwestern Michigan College in July 1997, “We had 45 faculty and a replacement value of SMC facilities of $26 million.
“Today, we will have 60 fulltime faculty and a replacement value of $116 million,” Mathews said. “That $90-million increase in facilities is a 4 ½-times increase and includes, of course, on-campus housing for 400 students.
“One of the things that is most striking is in the 1996-97 school year, SMC awarded 260 degrees and certificates,” Mathews said. “Last year we awarded 693 degrees and certificates. We are on-track for growth this next year and look forward to breaking more records for the number of degrees and certificates.”
“When I came here,” Mathews added, “Samantha was just about to turn 4 years old. Now she’s an SMC graduate and an NFL cheerleader” with the Carolina Panthers. “Michael wasn’t even born, and now he’s an SMC graduate and owns his own video production company in Grand Rapids. Daniel is looking forward to becoming an SMC graduate.”
Mathews, of Dowagiac, received his 20-year service pin Aug. 21 at the Board of Trustees meeting on the Dowagiac campus.
Mathews joined SMC as Dean of Arts, Science and Instructional Innovation. He was appointed Vice President of Instruction in 1998 and became the college’s seventh president in 2001.
He holds a doctorate degree in mathematics from North Carolina State University and a bachelor’s degree from Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University.
He was an Airborne Green Beret “A” Team Commander while serving in the U.S. Army.
Prior to joining SMC, Dowagiac Union High School’s 1978 valedictorian taught mathematics at Longwood College in Virginia and was a member of the Central Michigan University graduate mathematics faculty, where he was an internationally-recognized researcher, lecturer, author, teacher and authority on classroom learning/technology innovations.
He is also the author and co-author of four college textbooks.
“He makes our tasks as trustees easier” Chairman Thomas F. Jerdon said. “If you don’t have a president who’s honest, trustworthy and willing to make the tough decisions that are the right decisions, the institution will head in the wrong direction. David checks all the boxes we could ever want in a president. On behalf of the whole board, we appreciate your service.”