When Dr. Victor Matthews officially retires from Missouri State University June 30, 2023, he will have worked at the university for 39 years.
Matthews has served as dean of Missouri State’s College of Humanities and Public Affairs (CHPA) since 2009.
A specialist in the Hebrew Bible and the social world of the ancient Near East, Matthews joined Missouri State in 1984 as an associate professor of religious studies. After four years, he moved up to professor.
Over the years, he has served as acting head of both the religious studies and economics departments. He also took on the roles of CHPA associate dean (2001-08) and interim dean (2008-09) before becoming dean.
“With a career spanning close to four decades at Missouri State both as a professor and administrator, Vic has no doubt left an indelible mark on the university,” President Clif Smart said. “His expertise and steadfast leadership will be hard to replace.”
A rewarding career
During Matthews’ time as dean, CHPA:
- Developed and launched the professional doctorate in defense and strategic studies.
- Made criminology and criminal justice an independent department after being part of the department of sociology and anthropology for many years. Criminology now has the largest group of majors in the college.
- Created a fully online master’s degree in history, which has led to the program’s growth and success.
- Hired the most diverse faculty in the college’s history.
As Matthews reflects on his upcoming retirement, he said he is proud of the students he has served, some of whom have gone on to earn PhDs and teach in universities. He is also proud of his faculty members’ scholarly achievements.
“They have published contributions to their academic fields and produced community reports that make Springfield a better place to live,” Matthews added.
A Missouri State alumnus, Matthews received his bachelor’s degree in history from the university in 1972. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in Near Eastern and Judaic studies from Brandeis University in 1973 and 1977, respectively.
In his field of expertise, Matthews has published 18 books and dozens of articles.