David Matthews

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Matthews is president and chief executive officer of the Kettering Foundation
Nominated By: Cynthia J. Reed

The Kettering Foundation is, a not-for-profit research foundation, rooted in the American tradition of invention. Named after Charles F. Kettering who was best known for inventing the automobile self-starter, the foundation, created in 1927, focuses on democratic politics and particularly the role of citizens. Dr. Mathews became president and CEO of the Kettering Foundation in 1981, and since then, citizen engagement, public “ownership” of education, and the relationship of colleges and universities to democracy have been an important emphasis for the foundation’s work.

Prior to his work at Kettering, Mathews served as the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in the Ford Administration where he worked on restoring public confidence in government and public education. From 1965 to 1980, Mathews taught history at the University of Alabama where he also served as president from 1969 to 1980, the youngest president (age 33) of a major university. Mathews has written extensively on subjects related to education, political theory, public policy, and international problem solving. His books include: Why Public Schools? Whose Public Schools?; For Communities to Work;Politics for People: Finding a responsible public voice; Is There a Public for Public Schools; and Reclaiming Public Education by Reclaiming Our Democracy.

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