Tracey Mattson, '90, '04
For Tracey Mattson ’90, M.S. ’04, and her family, Radford University is more than just a school; it has long felt like home, a place where one can pursue their future on one’s own terms.
“Here is this great school for students who want an outstanding education in a quiet, calm atmosphere,” Mattson said. “It’s not fever pitch. It’s not so high intensity that nerves are frazzled all the time.”
Radford was not Mattson’s first choice. She met her husband, Randy, while studying in Maine. After a time, the pair decided they needed something new, so Randy suggested Radford, where his father, Melvin Mattson, taught marketing.
When the pair transferred to the university as undergrads, Tracey knew that she had found the environment that best suited her.
“I was lucky to find a school like Radford where I could get on track,” she said.
It was not long after finding that track, however, until Mattson went into overdrive. After a break to stay home with her children, Mattson returned to campus, first as an adjunct in the English department.
“I was teaching multiple classes and taking care of four children, with an hour long drive both ways,” Mattson said.
Although the hard work has not stopped, it has paid off. She now directs two divisions on campus, the Learning Assistance and Resource Center (LARC), and the Military Resource Center (MRC), both of which serve students who need to define their own grooves, just as Mattson once needed to.
When Mattson arrived, the LARC had only 10 or 12 student tutors. Now she oversees nearly 50, who help roughly 1,100 students on campus a year. The MRC, on the other hand, is her creation. After hearing that veterans had no place to congregate on campus, she decided to change that. Now, the MRC offers that space and advocates for student veterans and service members.
Tracey Mattson was honored in July with an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award for her exemplary support of Radford University's student veterans and reservists. Although the award honors Mattson as an individual, she pointed out that veteran support was a team effort.
"I hope that this is seen as an honor for the whole center," Mattson said. "I hope that more student veterans, reservists, alumni and dependents will become aware that there is a place for them at Radford University."
Dedication to Radford does not stop when Tracey leaves campus; it’s a true family affair. In addition to Tracey and Randy, their eldest children, Leanna and Monica, chose to study at the university and son Christopher is likely to join them. Youngest child Teresa is not quite ready to look at colleges, but Tracey is not shy about pitching the idea.
“Why not?” Mattson said. “Radford is an awesome school. I want all my kids to go here.”