VIU in the News: Former VIU Dean Carol Matthews receives Order of BC

September 7, 2012 - 4:54am

Longtime Nanaimo educator, community leader named to Order of British Columbia

By Darrell Bellaart

Nanaimo Daily News

Nanaimo educator, writer and community leader Carol Matthews was given the province's highest honour this week.

Matthews was named to the Order of British Columbia in a ceremony in Victoria Thursday.

Each spring nominations are accepted for the order.

Matthews was one of 14 chosen by an independent advisory panel.

She joins the likes of Snuneymuxw elder Ellen White, who was inducted last year.

Matthews started her career 45 years ago as a hospital and mental health worker. She founded Nanaimo Family Life Association and became an instructor and dean at Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University). She received an honourary degree from VIU in 2009.

[Full story in the Daily News]()

[Background stories on Order of BC recipients]()

(Earlier story on the honour for Carol Matthews)

Community advocate and former Vancouver Island University Dean Carol Matthews is among 14 British Columbians who will be awarded the Order of British Columbia in September.

After working as a hospital social worker and Executive Director of Nanaimo Family Life, Matthews was an instructor and, for 11 years, Dean of Health and Human Services at VIU (formerly Malaspina University-College).

Matthews has served on the boards of numerous community agencies, including Kids International, Nanaimo Youth Services, the Nanaimo Port Authority and the Port Theatre. She was awarded the Association of Canadian Community Colleges Excellence in Leadership Award and has taught leadership classes at VIU and elsewhere.

Since her retirement from VIU in 1999, Matthews has published a collection of short stories and three works of non-fiction, as well as editing a collection of dog poetry.

Other recipients of this year’s Order of BC include former prime minister Kim Campbell, former B.C. premier Dave Barrett and Christopher Gaze, Artistic Director of Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach, where Matthews’ daughter, Alison Matthews, works as a voice and text coach for the festival.

“As our Province’s highest honour, the Order of British Columbia is our way of acknowledging the outstanding achievements of our citizens,” Lieutenant Governor Steven Point said in a news release.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark said the recipients “have made exceptional contributions to their communities and to the province.”

“I was surprised and pleased to receive this honour,” Matthews said. “There are so many people who deserve such recognition, people who may not have formal leadership roles but who demonstrate their own leadership abilities in their every day lives in ways that enrich our community. For me, leadership means recognizing the potential that everyone has to contribute and to make a difference.”

Matthews’ long involvement at VIU started as a student back when it was called Malaspina College and operated out of the old hospital building downtown.

While at VIU, Matthews worked as a member of faculty, associate dean, dean, research associate with continuing studies and with the regional campuses.

She had considerable involvement with the development of First Nations programs in the Human Services Area, and setting up the initial First Nations Advisory Council.

Matthews retired in 1999 from the position of Dean of Instruction, Human Services Programs and Community Education, but continued her involvement with the institution through her position as Honorary Research Associate. At that time she also was awarded the Association of Community Colleges Excellence in Leadership Award.

To honour her more than 20 years of outstanding commitment to VIU, Matthews also received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in December 2008.

“This institution has meant so much to me in its many iterations,” she said. “It was a great honour to receive recognition of this kind.”

Matthews has also regularly supported and recognized others by helping to establish awards for students, including the Carol Matthews Community Service Award and the Carol Matthews Human Service Award through VIU. These were established several years ago through contributions from faculty, family and friends.

“Carol Matthews’ dedication to Vancouver Island University and to the province has been exemplary,” said VIU President Dr. Ralph Nilson. “Her commitment to education, leadership, community and teaching is extraordinary and her ability to motivate, inspire and encourage others has created a legacy of respect at VIU and throughout the province that will continue for years to come.”


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