SCARPINO: The primary is recording. Now that we’re on, this is the second interview with Larraine Matusak. Today is March 4, 2016, and we’re again sitting at a table in her home in Sun City, which is a suburb of Phoenix, on a beautiful warm day. It’s going to be 90 this afternoon and she’s got a grapefruit tree in the backyard. It’s really a beautiful place.
So, again, I want to ask your permission to record this interview, to have the interview transcribed, to deposit the interview and the transcription in the IUPUI Special Collections and Archives, with the Tobias Center and with the International Leadership Association, with the understanding that they will make it available to their patrons which could include posting all or part of it online.
SCARPINO: Thank you. Okay, we did a lot yesterday, but in the chronological part we had gotten to the point where you were about ready to go to… I’m going to hit pause on this.
SCARPINO: Okay, we’re on again.
I’m going to quickly summarize for the benefit of anybody who comes in at this point, and then we’re going to talk about Evansville.
In 1969, you earned a Master’s Degree and began a PhD dissertation in science. You were teaching science and working on your dissertation. You took a new administrative job in the general college developing an alternative degree program focused on older students who up to that point were not well served by the university. You were so inspired or changed by that work that you dropped out of the science PhD program and earned a PhD in higher education administration at a new and untested college in Santa Barbara, California. You accepted a position in Evansville, Indiana, as the first Dean and Founder of the College of Alternative Programs in 1974, and again you concentrated on adult learners. In the meantime, while you were undertaking this new job in Evansville, you were still finishing your dissertation at the Fielding Institute, which is what we now call multitasking.
Before I go any farther, I’m going to acknowledge the assistance of Patrick McDonough and Roger Sublett in helping me understand this part of your career. They were very nice and they said I could mention them.
SCARPINO: What I just described, would it be correct for a user of this interview to conclude that facing those major life changes, you modeled courage and creative risk-taking?
MATUSAK: Yes, I would definitely say so. Also, I find myself always at the cutting edge of what’s happening. You could say that I was an entrepreneur. I smelled what was going to happen.
SCARPINO: How do you think you found the cutting edge? Because that’s true, I mean, everywhere you went you were on the cutting edge.
MATUSAK: Yeah, how does that happen, did you ask?
SCARPINO: Yeah, how did you end up in all those situations where you were on the cutting edge?
MATUSAK: Well, you know, I think because I really, really stay attuned to what’s going on in society around me and around the world. If you stay in tune with what’s happening worldwide, you get a strong feeling of what needs to happen to make a change. Like what I told you yesterday, the three things I think we must work on and nobody is, that number one, greed, it came out again in the papers just around here. It’s just ruining lives. If six percent of the S&P 500 has all the money, what are we going to do? So something has to happen.
SCARPINO: In your professional life, have you ever failed at anything?
MATUSAK: Failed? Well, you know what, I don’t think about failures. I think, yes, there are some things that didn’t work for me, but I learned from them and decided to do a different track or try things in a different way. I don’t call it a failure at the Kellogg Foundation that I didn’t become the new CEO of the foundation. Everybody thought I should, but I was the first professional woman hired there. There are lots of women, support staff; professional, I was the first. So, I look at that and I say, well now the CEO, Russ Mawby, says, “You should have followed me.” He didn’t say that when he was there.
SCARPINO: So Russ retired before you did?
MATUSAK: Oh yeah, a year before.
SCARPINO: Did you want the position?
MATUSAK: I didn’t think about it. Everybody was telling me, “You ought to.” I felt that they needed a different search committee. So Russ Mawby told me to go to Dottie Johnson, who was chairing that search committee, and talk to her. I felt that they didn’t have anyone there from the senior staff at the foundation, and I wasn’t thinking about me. There was Robert DeVries, there was several people who were there years before me. I had lunch with her and it was the most shocking lunch in my life because I explained to her that I thought just having board members looking for the CEO when you don’t really know how the place works—everything’s cleaned up when it’s brought to you as a board member—and you need to know the workings, the inner workings, and you need somebody on that committee. And she looked at me and she said, “You are the most viable candidate, but you’re too old.” I was just shocked. I said “This has nothing to do with me, I’m not a senior, I’m not one of the oldest people.” I just left and I was shattered. I was really shattered, “You’re too old,” I never think of myself as old.
SCARPINO: So, just for the record, how old were you at that point?
MATUSAK: At that point, I was 64.
SCARPINO: And now 64 is not an age for retirement for a lot of people.
MATUSAK: No, no. So anyway, did I want the position? I never thought about that. I really didn’t, because I didn’t expect the foundation, which is a man’s world, to have a woman as a leader.
SCARPINO: I knew, because I interviewed Russ Mawby in 2010, that you were the first woman professional executive level at the Kellogg Foundation. Did you think about that when you took that position?
MATUSAK: No. Again, I really wasn’t aware of all that. In fact, I said no to Russ Mawby. Russ Mawby himself called me at Edison. I loved Edison and we were going places and it was fun and I didn’t want to leave because Allan Ostar, the head of the Association of State College and University Presidents, had put me on his board. He said, “This job should be yours. You should be heading this organization at some point. Stick with us, stick with presidencies.” I liked being president; it was fun. And Russ called and I said, “Thank you, but no thank you.” I had never met him. I didn’t know anybody at Kellogg, and I was working hard and having fun doing it, and making change in that institution, moving into the buildings downtown, and the whole bit. And he called again, and he called a third time, and so when I talked to…
SCARPINO: He is persistent, isn’t he?
MATUSAK: Oh very, very. And he said, “At least come and talk to us.” And so I did. And again, it was all men who interviewed me and I’ve got to tell you, the first breakfast I had with them at the hotel in town—we have one big hotel—and of course, I was the only woman at the table. There were two vice presidents; Bob Sparks, who is now dead, Russ Mawby, and another vice president, and we ordered breakfast. And I ordered bacon and eggs and a good substantial breakfast, and they all ordered Special K cereal. When I got back to my room, because then I was going for the rest of the interview, I called Connie and I said, “I think I just lost the job.” And she said, “Did you want it?” and I said “I don’t know, but I had really good eggs and they all had cereal.”
SCARPINO: What attracted you to the position at Evansville?
MATUSAK: At Evansville, the position? The challenge of creating a whole new college within the university, and I knew the faculty would like to kill me for doing it, but I also knew that the cutting edge with CAEL—I had done a lot of work with CAEL—that the cutting edge was recognizing the fact that people out in the workplace who may have dropped out of college had learned a great deal on the job that could be equated to learning in a college classroom, and somehow they needed to get credit for that, and we were designing systems that could do that. I saw my avenue right there being a Dean, that I could solicit the help of another Dean who was really respected at the university, which I did, Dr. Garnett, and that the two of us together, I wouldn’t get beat up as much and we could do some real change-making things at the college and beyond. And we did that. And with Bob, he and I—I can’t tell you the number, it’s too long ago, but we trained people all over the United States with sophisticated processes of evaluating learning in an individual.
SCARPINO: Bob is Bob…?
MATUSAK: Dr. Garnett.
SCARPINO: And you were training through which organization when you did that?
SCARPINO: Okay. When I talked to Roger Sublett, he asked me to ask you a question. So I told him I’d do it. So this is his question. He said, “Ask her what turned her on to working with adult students?”
MATUSAK: Well, the fact that they are so eager to learn. They are very eager to learn and they’re exciting to work with because it’s not just dad and mom are paying the tuition; they are. They want to learn to make a difference for themselves and their families, and get better salaries and better jobs, etc. It’s easy working with adult learners, lots easier than working with younger people.
SCARPINO: Did it have anything to do with the fact that you were sort of an adult learner yourself?
MATUSAK: Probably, most probably. Yeah, right now, my sister and I, Connie and I, we have a whole library of the courses that they have on tapes now. Oh yeah, they’re wonderful, and when Bill Gates was interviewed on “60 Minutes” and they asked him how did he get his broad knowledge—he didn’t finish college—he pointed to the wall and he had a whole wall, like ours, full of these courses.
SCARPINO: That’s very useful, isn’t it?
MATUSAK: Oh yeah.
SCARPINO: So you were the first Dean of this new college. What were you charged to do? Actually, I’m going to back up and ask you another question.
SCARPINO: You told me yesterday, you never applied for a job.
SCARPINO: How did you come to the attention of the people at Evansville?
MATUSAK: The only way I know is that somebody told them about what was going on at the University of Minnesota. I don’t know who, I really have no idea, I never asked that question of Evansville. I never did apply for a job.
SCARPINO: What was your portfolio? What were you charged to do?
MATUSAK: What I was charged to do was create an organization within the university that would recognize what adult learners need and attract them to the university. The University of Evansville is a private school and we had a big state institution just across town. And they wanted to survive and in order to survive, they had to bring in adult students, he said, as well as the traditional student. Besides that, Dr. Simmons, the vice president, was a real visionary entrepreneur and he too had that cutting edge. He knew what was happening and he wanted it to happen at his university.
SCARPINO: How did you go about structuring the program?
MATUSAK: Well, the first thing I did was sit down and think what do I need? And there’s never any money for anybody anywhere. You know how that is. It’s very, very limited. And I didn’t have much space either at that point starting out. I knew I needed help and so I said to him, “I’ve got to have a secretary, I’ve got to have an Assistant Dean as fast as I can get one, and we’ll talk about other staff persons as we go on developing programs.” But the first program I wanted developed, was going to be a degree program. I didn’t want just a noncredit program. I wanted them to be able to earn a Baccalaureate in some degree program that was not all on campus. So I worked on designing that with a group of volunteers, people who were willing to work with me, faculty, other deans. Patrick McDonough was one of them. We had many an argument, but they were wonderful arguments and good productivity came out of them. That’s how I started. So I hired Roger and then within six months, I hired Rich Hansen. With the two of them, then we began other programs that were non-credit courses as well. Rich was a genius with that because he didn’t do basket weaving; he did really good noncredit courses that people wanted to take. Then I had a woman who was just so quick, so quick and so good helping us design the Baccalaureate program.
SCARPINO: I’m going to ask you about the Baccalaureate in a minute, but in addition to serving a population, those non-credit courses are a way of generating revenue.
MATUSAK: Oh yeah, definitely.
SCARPINO: That you didn’t have to start with.
MATUSAK: Exactly, exactly, and I had already bargained with Dr. Simmons that a certain amount of that money stays with me so that I could build the program. I said, “I’m not going to take it all, but I need to build the program.” But then it didn’t take more than two years when the dean of the engineering school and the dean of fine arts, Patrick, were realizing, “Hey, she’s making money for us.” And so they began influencing the rest of the university, the faculty, so that I wasn’t the bad lady.
SCARPINO: So what you didn’t keep went into the general fund?
MATUSAK: Yeah, right. So we did well. We did very well and we grew. And then there was no space and they didn’t want to give us any space. So we got an old building—and my memory’s gone of what they called it—but it was an old building and it had termites and all of that business.
SCARPINO: Here come the insects again.
MATUSAK: Yeah, right. But we got exterminators and we got the place going and we had more space to do what we wanted to do and a place for the students to meet and to talk to each other as well as to us. It was really thriving. But you know, as with anything, you talk about a failure—I don’t know if you want to call this a failure, but I’m always disappointed. The College of Alternative Programs was doing extremely well when I left. It’s gone now. No leadership. And that’s sad; that’s very, very sad.
SCARPINO: So how did you structure the Baccalaureate program?
MATUSAK: Well, I’m groping in my memory and I don’t have files with me now, and that is so long ago, in the 70’s, but the Baccalaureate program was structured so that we assessed each student, looked at what they had, two years from Kent State, and where they had worked, and what they thought they had learned on the job. And in that program what we did was accept the credits that they had elsewhere, and we designed the program then so that they could work either on their own or take courses at the university. But we first assessed their learning so that we could tell them, “This is what you have, now what do you want to do in order to achieve the rest of your goals?” And they could do that by communication, extension kind of thing, or coming to the university, but the details of it I can’t give you.
SCARPINO: Were their majors involved in this?
MATUSAK: Oh yeah, there were majors involved, because most of those students had started someplace. Think about those years; they had started someplace and they’d quit in order to get a good job and make money.
SCARPINO: And in those days, you could do that.
MATUSAK: Exactly. And then all of a sudden, they couldn’t do that and they knew they had to have a degree because they were at a stall. They could make no more progress within an organization. Most of them knew where they wanted to go and why, and so we designed it.
SCARPINO: So you focused on returning students?
SCARPINO: You accepted credits that they had taken elsewhere.
SCARPINO: You gave them credit for life experience.
MATUSAK: Right, not life experience—life learning.
SCARPINO: Life learning, and did they have to demonstrate it with a portfolio or something?
MATUSAK: Absolutely, absolutely.
SCARPINO: Then once you’ve done all of that, you figured out what they needed to do to complete a degree.
SCARPINO: Some of that they could take on campus.
SCARPINO: How did they do the part that was not on campus?
MATUSAK: What do they call the courses that you take by mail?
SCARPINO: Distance learning?
MATUSAK: Yeah, distance learning kind of thing they could do.
SCARPINO: So it was the early equivalent of what we now call online courses, only they were mailing stuff in.
MATUSAK: Exactly, exactly, that’s right, because you weren’t online, the computers were not the common thing then.
SCARPINO: Did somebody run these mail courses?
MATUSAK: Oh yeah.
SCARPINO: You had faculty members that were doing it?
MATUSAK: No, you did.
SCARPINO: You as in you.
MATUSAK: Indiana University had a lot of those courses that they could mail in and so did University of Minnesota. The big universities had them and we built collaborations with them.
SCARPINO: Okay, so you didn’t actually have to create it yourself, you just had to use what somebody else…
MATUSAK: No, and direct them where they could get these courses.
SCARPINO: So you put all these pieces together; prior credits, life learning, the mail-in type pioneering distance learning, courses they could take on campus.
SCARPINO: Now, there were certain universities that were doing the pieces.
MATUSAK: Not then.
SCARPINO: I mean the individual pieces.
MATUSAK: Oh yes.
SCARPINO: There was somebody that was doing the mail-in, you could go to a university and sit in a classroom, but was there anybody who put it all together the way you did?
MATUSAK: No, no. We were the first. We were the very first. There was a woman, a Chancellor at Indiana University, and I couldn’t fall asleep because I was struggling to think of her name and I felt so awful because I couldn’t remember. You may when I tell you this. Whenever she answered the phone, she would say her name and she’d say, “I am a woman,” because she had a really low voice, very low voice. She was brilliant and wonderful and she wanted to create some of these changes at the university and I worked with her.
SCARPINO: Now this was in Bloomington?
SCARPINO: Yeah. I didn’t get to IU until 1986, so I’m sure that if she was still around I would have heard of her.
MATUSAK: Yes you would have. She was retired by then.
SCARPINO: So, did you realize—because a little bit of this sounds like what you were doing in Minnesota.
SCARPINO: And now you had more freedom because you’re the dean, you had an income stream and so on. Did you realize when you were doing this that you were way out on the cutting edge of adult education?
MATUSAK: No, you know, I didn’t think about it that way. I thought about again that I was making a difference for people who needed someone to help them achieve their goals. And yeah, I knew that I was on the cutting edge, I knew that, and I knew that I got beat up because I was at that cutting edge.
SCARPINO: By some of the colleagues on campus.
MATUSAK: Oh yeah, oh yeah, the traditionalists especially, but it was fun.
SCARPINO: Do you think that one of the qualities of being an effective leader is the ability to deal with opposition?
MATUSAK: Absolutely. Every group I’ve ever worked with, I have talked about the fact that there are going to be some people who like what you want to do and some people who hate it. And your most important thing as a good leader is, number one, learn to collaborate. Teach people how important interdependence is. We can’t get along without each other. Plan, and then act. That’s very important. Yes.
SCARPINO: I’m going to go back to something that we talked about yesterday, and that’s your definition of leadership that I copied out of something you wrote. Just for the benefit of anybody is only hearing the second half of this, you said, “I define leadership as the ability and passion to attain positive results by encouraging others and by working with and through others to achieve a common good. From my perspective, true leaders are courageous people. They are not afraid to take a risk and they don’t waste much time worrying about what other people think of them.” So, using that definition as a lens, how did you go about organizing this program on a campus where there was resistance?
MATUSAK: Winning people over, helping Dr. Garnett, the dean of Education. Deans of Education are usually very square, and add to the fact that he was very square education, he was a Marine. So put all that together. So I picked him out of all the Deans, and I felt if I can convince him, he is so respected, he’s looked upon as the next president of this institution, so if I can win him over and collaborate with him—I’ll do for him if he’ll do for me—we can get something done. And we did. And we had a good time together. He resisted at first. He resisted, and I just kept at him and kept at him, because I just felt I’d get the most mileage working with Dr. Garnett and the respect that he had.
SCARPINO: Did he ever figure out what you were doing?
MATUSAK: Yeah, he did. We had many a good scotch and laughter over all of that afterward. He was a wonderful guy, just wonderful, and very, very smart but very square, and so we sort of balanced each other when we did workshops, too. He died a couple of years ago. I lose all my best friends. That’s the hardest thing of growing older.
SCARPINO: It is.
MATUSAK: Again, I was the only woman dean.
SCARPINO: An advantage or disadvantage?
MATUSAK: In the beginning it was a disadvantage. You asked me that question yesterday and I thought about it. And I said, “Well, I was always the only woman.” And so I like men, I get along with men, but they have to understand who I am and I won’t take a lot of their slights or guffs, etc. Patrick McDonough was number one. I’ll never forget. I was demanding something for the budget and he said, “Larraine,”—in the meeting now—“just calm down, calm down.” Two minutes later Patrick was shouting and yelling and I said, “Patrick, don’t be so emotional.” So then we had a good laugh. They would appear in my office; six deans, all men, and tell the secretary, “Tell the girl that we want to take her to lunch.” My secretary was so smart, she’d get on the intercom and she’d say, “Dr. Matusak, the boys are here.”
SCARPINO: (Laughing) Did they get it?
MATUSAK: Yeah, they got it, they got it. So you taught them through jest and love and caring, and they are all wonderful friends.
SCARPINO: Do you think that the world of leadership has changed for women who are there now?
MATUSAK: Yes, yes I do and I fear a little that many of the women who have gotten into leadership positions, number one, don’t support each other and, number two, they become so bullyish that they think that’s the way to succeed, and it bothers me.
SCARPINO: At Evansville, did you increase the student population?
MATUSAK: Oh yes, oh yes.
SCARPINO: Any idea of the magnitude?
SCARPINO: I don’t need exact numbers.
MATUSAK: There were hundreds of students coming on campus that had never been there before and that did two things. It not only brought in the money that they were doing—with the work they were doing in our working with them, but also we had new kids coming on campus; their kids were coming on campus. I don’t think that would have happened because ISUE was right there.
SCARPINO: So, ISUE…?
MATUSAK: Indiana State University Evansville.
SCARPINO: And now it’s I think the University of Evansville.
MATUSAK: No, the University of Evansville is where we were.
SCARPINO: I think they’ve changed their name. I should know that.
MATUSAK: They have changed their name. I should know it, too; I have an honorary doctorate from them.
SCARPINO: So, in bringing older students to campus, you also attracted their children as students.
SCARPINO: Did you see that coming?
MATUSAK: No. I didn’t even think about it. You know, I was so involved with CAEL and CAEL’s movement and developing the correct processes so that we would be legitimate in the world of higher ed that I didn’t see a lot of what was coming.
SCARPINO: When you look back at your time at Evansville, what do you consider to be your most significant accomplishment? What do you feel best about?
MATUSAK: I really feel that that college accomplished more in five years than the total university could have in ten. I’m very proud of that, and the numbers were there, and if I had those figures, I could tell you. But both in money and in terms of numbers, we were very, very successful. So, for me, that means that what was only a dream became a reality and I’m very proud of that.
SCARPINO: You were entrepreneurial enough to realize that in order to be successful as an educator, you’ve got to have the student credit hours and you need a revenue stream.
MATUSAK: Oh yeah, oh yeah.
SCARPINO: Do you think that’s a common recognition in the Academy?
MATUSAK: I think so, yeah, I think so.
SCARPINO: Okay, so I want to talk with you for a few minutes about the Council for Adult Experimental Leaning, which is CAEL, C-A-E-L, not like the greens that we eat, which was founded in 1974. You were one of the original board members, so I am concluding therefore that you were one of the creators of this organization.
MATUSAK: Yes, yes.
SCARPINO: What motivated you and others to create the Council for Adult Experimental Learning?
MATUSAK: The realization that there were others now beginning to tamper with the idea of assessing what students have learned, but they were talking about life experience instead of life learning experience. Morris Keeton, a wonderful, wonderful sage old man, he said, “We have to get unified in some way.”
SCARPINO: And Morris Keeton was where?
MATUSAK: At CAEL. Well, he was at the University of Maryland, but he was the founder of CAEL, and he said we have to become unified, there has to be a system that is recognized nationally that is acceptable to academia. And so I was on board with him with that. I agreed.
SCARPINO: What was the purpose of CAEL?
MATUSAK: The purpose of CAEL was to design a system of evaluation and then get out there and train universities and educators so that they can adapt proper processes at the universities. The community colleges were the number one to jump on the bandwagon. So we trained across the country; community, college, faculty, and leadership, if they hired us, to come and help them learn how to assess life learning experiences.
SCARPINO: So, various educational institutions, junior colleges, and universities paid you to come in and run workshops with them like consultants?
MATUSAK: Oh yeah, right, right, to work with faculty members.
SCARPINO: And you worked all over the country?
MATUSAK: All over the country.
SCARPINO: So it was like being a Sister again, where they handed you the note and off you went with a suitcase.
MATUSAK: That’s right, and again you see, this Dr. Simmons had my back because I was gone and so was Bob Garnett because he went with me. I would be gone for a couple of weeks at a time, but I had Roger and I had Rich, and I had another woman—I can’t remember her name…
SCARPINO: Rich Hansen…
MATUSAK: And so everything kept going. Well, a good leader should be able to leave and things are going to go on. So they went on. But we were across the country and of course Charles was proud of that and so was the president that we were the heart of a movement.
SCARPINO: And they understood that?
MATUSAK: Yes, they did, they did. The president did, the vice president did.
SCARPINO: How long were you involved…
MATUSAK: Five years…
SCARPINO: ..around the country doing that?
MATUSAK: Oh, doing that? Five years, yeah, a good five years. And that’s how Edison came around, really.
SCARPINO: That’s how they heard of you, through CAEL?
SCARPINO: What kind of an impact do you think that all those workshops that CAEL put on—I assume you didn’t do all of them—there are other people doing it.
MATUSAK: No, no, yeah.
SCARPINO: So what do you think the cumulative impact was with all of the proselytizing?
MATUSAK: I think what you see right now; the fact that many major universities, most have a process and that process has been put into place—if you go historically, it evolved from CAEL. So yeah, big impact.
MATUSAK: Yeah, transformative.
SCARPINO: Your career continued to evolve at a rapid pace. From 1979 to 1982 you were the second president of the Thomas A. Edison State College of New Jersey, which I’m going to summarize as an innovative institution dedicated to serving mid-career adults. I’m going to mention that Rita Novitt helped me understand your time at Thomas Edison, and I certainly thank her for taking the time to talk to me.
MATUSAK: She’s got to be 96.
SCARPINO: I didn’t ask her how old she was (laughing), but she told me that she was retired and so on. She also then joined you at Kellogg as did several of the other folks that you had gathered up over the years.
SCARPINO: So, you believe that you came to the attention of Thomas Edison State College through your work at CAEL.
SCARPINO: You didn’t apply for the job.
SCARPINO: How did this come about?
MATUSAK: I got a call from the board chairman saying, “Would you please send your application for the presidency?” and I said, “No, I haven’t been a vice president, and I really like what I’m doing here and I’m not finished at Evansville.” And he said, “Send us your resume, please send your resume.” So I talked to Connie and I said, “I don’t want to stay at Evansville forever.” I didn’t like Evansville as a city. It’s very insulated. They’re more South than the South.
SCARPINO: It has a southern feel to it.
MATUSAK: Not only feel; language, food, everything. I had to learn a new vocabulary when we were down there. But anyway, I said, “I don’t want to stay here forever.” So I decided to toss it in. I tossed it in and I got called for an interview. Then, as I told you, it was a unanimous vote by the board and faculty and everyone. Some of my mentors told me, “Don’t take it; you can get something far better,” and Kent State was opening up. Allan Ostar was pushing me there, even way back then. I decided to take it because I saw it as a challenge, that it was evolving from what I believed in and it was a mess. It was really a terrible mess. The first president…
SCARPINO: You followed a really popular first president who had left a mess, as I understand it.
MATUSAK: Yes, well he had drunken fights on the floor of the legislature. He was a brilliant man who just got taken over by ills. So when I got there, and it was just several offices—I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was off Princeton campus—and I walked through the building and walked past the offices and I thought, oh my God. Every office was a mess with stacks of papers and looking like chaos. So my first meeting with the executives who were there, the vice presidents who had been appointed by Jim Brown, the first president, I asked them all to write their letters of resignation. I said, “I want all of your letters of resignation, you can put them in your drawer, but if I ask for them, you’ll have them ready.” And that was my meeting with them. Call it tough love if you want, but I said, “I want your offices cleaned up. They have to be cleaned up in a week. Get all those papers out.” “Well, we’ve got to do this”—“Clean up, clean up.” And then of course, I made those moves and we moved into the downtown offices and began. And yes, I did accept two resignations and rehired people. But it had a bad reputation, a bad smell, and again, there is a God. My very first meeting with the Budget Committee of Legislature, I came late, and all of the other presidents were sitting there waiting their turn while these guys were on the stage and one going in and out and…
SCARPINO: The legislators at a hearing, yes. I’ve done that.
MATUSAK: Okay, so I walked in and I was scared, I really was nervous. I’ve never had to do that kind of thing. I sat down and I think I sitting ten minutes with the whole slew of male presidents, one female, and somebody from the stage said, “Well, it’s getting very late, let’s hear from the lady.” So all these guys are waiting and they’re not called upon for their budgets and I’m getting called upon. I was prepared, but I think I was smart enough by that time—I’d been smacked around as the only lady, the only woman, the only woman—that when I got to the microphone, what I did was address the fact that all of these men were representing the state colleges of the state, and that they should be very proud of what they had accomplished and I have a budget and they have a budget, but first—and I went through some of the statistics of the colleges and then what I needed, but I didn’t leave them out. I kept them in. I became their best friend. And so, when I left Edison, it was too soon. I loved it. But I don’t know if—you probably didn’t come across it, but in the Trenton Times, they had a full-page article that one of the presidents wrote about what I did when I came there.
SCARPINO: I didn’t find the article in the Trenton Times, I admit that.
MATUSAK: I’ve got it at home. It’s hanging on the wall because it reminds me to be humble.
SCARPINO: Do you think that’s important for a leader?
SCARPINO: To have a certain amount of humble…
MATUSAK: Yes, yes, absolutely. Pride comes before the fall.
SCARPINO: This is another experimental situation, so you went from a degree program in an experimental situation at Minnesota, to a deanship where you had a chance to construct a program, to and an entire college. You’re sort of walking up the ladder here, the size of the institutions that you’re running.
MATUSAK: We had campuses all over the state, Edison did. They called them campuses. They were offices with people who did assessments and brought in students, etc. When I was there, we went from 2,000 or 3,000 students to about 6,000, if I remember correctly, 6,000 or 7,000 now. Well, George Pruitt followed me. Now, George Pruitt had been part of the training of trainers with CAEL. He followed me. He’s still there. And I understand that there are 30,000-some students now. He’s doing a wonderful job.
SCARPINO: Doesn’t he have a doctoral degree in nursing, as I recall?
SCARPINO: So, here you are. You’ve got this experimental college, you have this opportunity, the popular president, number one, left a mess. You’ve got people who clearly appear to be having a problem with at least understanding the importance of image because the place looked a mess, and so on and so forth.
MATUSAK: They laughed at us, yeah.
SCARPINO: How did you go about righting the ship?
MATUSAK: Well, number one, I had enough self-pride in myself. There has to be some pride; you have to believe in what you’re doing and I believed in what I was doing and I believed in the college. I believed in what the college had to do. I also believed, because I had sat down with Jim Brown several times at meetings, that he had really good ideas and I felt so sad that he had allowed himself to deteriorate the way he did and that we were going to right it. So by hiring the right people, and firing the right people, and spending a lot of time visiting all my centers and the other state colleges around the state, I was able to eventually—I really did raise the estimation of people about the college and what it could do and how they could use it. I think one of the wonderful things that happened is that a very, very brilliant man came to our college and wanted a degree in physics, and he had very few credits. I said, “Okay, let’s reach out to the best we have in New Jersey.” So we got a professor from Princeton, we got a professor from Rutgers, and we got one more professor, and I can’t remember—one of the northern state colleges. We had them come in, we told them what the gentleman was asking for, and would they do the assessment? Well, they sat down with him and they spent a whole morning and I was chewing my nails wondering what’s going to happen because we had our faculty involved, too, our own faculty. When they left the room, my faculty was grinning ear-to-ear and I thought, what happened? And then the Princeton professor came out and said, “That man deserves a doctorate in physics.”
SCARPINO: I assume he didn’t get one right away.
MATUSAK: No, he did not, but he got the credits that he wanted toward a degree. He was just brilliant and had studied on his own. So, certain things that took place get into the community, people hear it, they find out about it, and so the respect for the college rises.
SCARPINO: So, once again you’re serving nontraditional students, and for the benefit of somebody who just wanders into this, how was that program structured?
MATUSAK: Oh boy.
SCARPINO: Just in a general way.
MATUSAK: Yeah, very, very, complex, but again, it was very comparable to what we did at Evansville. Most of the students coming in had some credits from someplace and they want to achieve their degree and they can’t do it in a traditional institution because they have families, they can’t take the time off, etc. So it was designed so that they could do distance learning as well as assessment of what they had learned on their jobs, if they had jobs.
SCARPINO: Distance learning in those days was still the mail-in stuff, correct?
MATUSAK: That’s right. It was still the mail-in, and we were still mail-in, too. So many faculty could work with us, but they were mail-in. It was a strong structure in terms of demands on the student. There were no shortcuts. You’re going to have to do this at your time, and so sometimes it took them longer. I know one guy who didn’t—I left Edison and he was still working on his degree and then wrote me, “Whoopee, I made it!” six years later. But, he did it.
SCARPINO: So, it begins with obviously a potential student expresses an interest, you do an assessment, you assess life learning, you assess whatever courses they’ve taken before, you give them credit for that, but you didn’t really have a faculty that was teaching classes. So they had to go somewhere else.
MATUSAK: Yeah, we had faculty from other universities who were doing the teaching.
SCARPINO: Did they teach for you or did the student take a class at the other university?
MATUSAK: For us or at the other university. It depended.
SCARPINO: So, in a way that program was kind of like a broker.
MATUSAK: Yes, absolutely. That’s a good word but I’d hate it for education.
SCARPINO: No, no, I didn’t mean that in a pejorative way, I mean, there was a lot of brokering that had to go on to make it work.
MATUSAK: Oh absolutely, absolutely. Now, I think there are more requirements of onsite and so Edison has their students coming and doing onsite workshops, etc. I only began that. And what I wanted to do by the time I got to that third year was achieve 10-year accreditation, which I did before I left. I remember George Pruitt call me saying, “Thank you for what you left me.”
SCARPINO: When you got there, because it sounds to me like what you did was to partially replicate what you’d done at Evansville…
SCARPINO: That was not the program you inherited.
MATUSAK: No, no.
SCARPINO: So whatever you inherited kind of got pushed aside.
MATUSAK: Well, it didn’t get pushed aside, but it had fallen into such shambles that if you looked at it you would say—it’s what I said anyway—“I don’t know how much I can resurrect because it’s such a disgrace. So I’ve got to create something newer and better, keep what we can keep, and see if we can get it looking as though it’s really professional and developed, and work with that.”
SCARPINO: And it worked?
MATUSAK: It worked. It worked, but it was hard. It was very, very hard. I remember sitting in a daze at that desk wondering why I ever took the job because the chancellor was on my back and…
SCARPINO: Now, this is the chancellor for the entire state system.
MATUSAK: Yes, yes.
SCARPINO: So you had certain constituencies that you had to persuade.
MATUSAK: Oh absolutely.
SCARPINO: State legislature, chancellor, who else?
MATUSAK: The governor. I remember getting a call from the governor that he wants to see me immediately and I didn’t know what was up. When I went to see him, what the whole thing was, that there was somebody who was his best friend who didn’t get the credits he thought he wanted. We had a wonderful peaceful debate, but I just refused. And I think refusing to give him the credits he wanted may have given me a blow in my budget, but not in my sense of what I believed in.
SCARPINO: So, who was the governor?
MATUSAK: You know what? I don’t remember his name. I tried last night to recall his name, and I do not remember his name. Rita would remember, but I don’t, because the boards were appointed by the governor.
SCARPINO: Actually, if it makes you feel better, she didn’t remember either, but we can look that up; we have the dates. So if somebody wants to know, they can look it up.
MATUSAK: He was a pretty good guy.
SCARPINO: Eventually did you win the governor over?
MATUSAK: I think I did, I think so, although I said I dented my budget. I think I got penalized and he showed me how he could penalize me by not giving credits to his friend, but it wasn’t that serious and I could get money elsewhere. At Edison I always said, everything you hear about New Jersey politics is true. You are playing with politics all the time. I never entertained so much in my life as I did there and they really drink. It was a game I learned that I liked. I didn’t know I liked politics and I learned I was good at it and I learned to play it. And I say New Jersey was a fascinating lesson for me, learning, growth of my own, personally.
SCARPINO: So the entertaining was for the legislature, their staff, their governor and his staff?
MATUSAK: Oh yeah, oh yes. It’s expected.
SCARPINO: The chancellor?
MATUSAK: Oh yeah, oh yeah. Oh, the games with the chancellor, I’ll tell you about one of them. He was so, I’m going to say angry, that we successfully got the building downtown and moved into it and we were right next door almost to where George Washington came in and rushed the Hessians out, etc., downtown; a wonderful old, old building. And he all of a sudden out of the blue sent word that he wants to take over the whole first floor—it was a semi-basement, garden level—because he needed it for accountants or somebody. We had all of our student incoming, all of that stuff was down there, bookstore, everything was down there. And I said, “We don’t have any space for you.” He said, “I want that whole garden level.” So, okay, what do I do? This is New Jersey. So I called the head of our maintenance, a wonderful young black man, and I said, “Clear out all the rooms on the garden level; the governor wants those rooms.” He looked at me and said, “What are we going to do?” I said, “I don’t know. Clear it all out and put it all in the hallway, just pack it all in the hallway.” All the brochures and mailings and catalogs and all that stuff, I said, “Put them all in the hallway.” So he worked with the team and they got it all done in half a week I think. And then he said, “Now, what do we do?” I said, “Now, I want you to call the fire department.” Which he did and we got the red ticket and we could not do that, could not have the hallways all botched up with our stuff. Long story short, the chancellor never moved in. We kept our rooms. But I had to manipulate.
SCARPINO: So, one more time, you line the students up and threatened to march them out of the building. You were doing the same thing.
MATUSAK: Yeah, that’s right, but I called the fire department instead. So you learn to play those politics. I was innocent.
SCARPINO: Did you realize when you got there that you could be that good at it?
MATUSAK: No, no I did not.
SCARPINO: You know, I don’t think we put in the record what community Edison is in. What’s the city?
MATUSAK: Trenton. Right down in Trenton.
SCARPINO: I know that, but I don’t think we ever actually said it. When you look back at the time that you spent there, which was just three years…
MATUSAK: Too short.
SCARPINO: What do you feel best about?
MATUSAK: Simplistically I’ll just say I feel best about cleaning up the college.
SCARPINO: Literally and figuratively.
MATUSAK: Both, yes, correct. And secondly, getting it recognized nationally as well as within the state as a reputable, excellent organization. I’m very proud of that. We were known in Washington, and I got appointed to the AASCU Board, and the whole thing I think evolved from Edison rising up out of the dust and becoming what it really had become, should have become under Jim Brown.
SCARPINO: As a result of your leadership?
SCARPINO: And AASCU is what?
MATUSAK: AASCU is the National Association of State College and University Presidents.
SCARPINO: Based in Washington, DC?
MATUSAK: Washington, DC.
SCARPINO: And as a result of your work at Edison, you were appointed to their board?
SCARPINO: And so what is the purpose of that organization?
MATUSAK: It brings all of the state college presidents together a couple of times a year and there are exclusive meetings, because presidents have problems they can’t share with a lot of people, but they can share with each other and learn from each other. So that’s its whole purpose. Allan Ostar was the head of that organization for years and years. Even after I went to Kellogg, which was kind of funny because I almost took it, he really pushed that I be the next president of AASCU. I think I was at Kellogg about six years when he was retiring and sent word, “We’d like you to apply.”
SCARPINO: But serving on that board is another leadership position.
SCARPINO: Serving on AASCU’s board is another leadership position.
MATUSAK: Oh yes, yes, and I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it. And I enjoyed being president. I enjoyed everything I’ve done in my life so far. I can’t say that there was anything that I was totally miserable doing.
SCARPINO: It’s important, isn’t it, to like what you do?
MATUSAK: Yes, it is, it is. I can’t imagine getting up in the morning, hating to go to work. I can’t imagine that.
SCARPINO: That changes the way you look at the world, doesn’t it, when you like what you do and look forward to it?
MATUSAK: Yeah, right, right.
SCARPINO: So, one more time, you did not apply for a job.
SCARPINO: But you did accept the position at W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek.
MATUSAK: I did.
SCARPINO: Served as a program officer, leadership scholar, directed and augmented the Kellogg National Fellowship Program. You were responsible for all the grant making in the area of leadership and you served as the foundation’s first Leadership Scholar.
I’m going mention Russell Mawby and Robert DeVries as people who helped me understand this part of your career.
SCARPINO: I understand that your connection to the Council for Adult Experimental Learning (CAEL) is what brought you to the attention of Kellogg, that one of the founders of CAEL was Morris Keeton?
SCARPINO: Who was president of Antioch College?
SCARPINO: And he called you to the attention of Russ Mawby who then called you.
MATUSAK: Yeah, I have no idea. I really don’t have any idea.
SCARPINO: That’s what one of the people told me. It was probably Russ who told me that.
SCARPINO: So, in any event, you came, one more time through your work with CAEL, to the attention of someone who was looking for an executive.
MATUSAK: I think I would correct that a little bit because just after you said it, I remembered. I was at an AASCU conference, all the presidents, and Allan came up to me, Allan Ostar, and said, “See that guy with the funny tie?” And there was this big, tall, jock-looking guy, and he never did his tie completely, he just flapped it over, and I said, “Yeah.” He said, “That’s Pete Ellis. That’s Dr. Ellis. He’s from the Kellogg Foundation and Russ Mawby always uses him as his scout and he’s got his eye on you. Don’t pay any attention to him.”
SCARPINO: (Laughing) That’s probably like telling the child not to reach into the cookie jar.
MATUSAK: Exactly, exactly. But anyway, I went about my own business, having a good time with the other presidents, etc., and then this man with the funny tie asked me if he could have lunch with me and I said, “Sure.” So we had lunch together and he talked about Kellogg and talked about Russ Mawby and what they’re doing. And I said, “Well, that’s wonderful, I didn’t know you were doing all that work with adult learning and continuing education, etc.” And I went my merry way. But he was scouting and Russ used him as his scout. And you know, we got a lot better people at the foundation with Pete Ellis doing the scouting than we ever have with these search committees. So it’s interesting.
SCARPINO: Right. Things were done differently in those days.
MATUSAK: Oh yeah.
SCARPINO: One thing that occurred to me though, is that particularly with this story that I assume is at least partially true about CAEL and Morris Keeton and so on, calling your attention to Russ Mawby who probably then sent his scout out to look at you…
SCARPINO: It seems to me that a professional network was one of the things that helped create an opportunity for you.
MATUSAK: I think so, yes.
SCARPINO: Do you think that professional networks are an important quality of a good leader?
MATUSAK: Yes I do. I do. It’s for many purposes, a professional network, but on all levels, in depth and no quite so in depth, but again it’s my belief in collaboration, interdependence and the belief that we all depend upon each other in order to succeed. So, I feel interdependent with the students I work with. There’s a need there. I can give you a good example of that, but I don’t know if we want to put it on tape.
SCARPINO: That’s up to you.
MATUSAK: Well, I’ll just dash back and give you an example of how somebody else taught this. I was teaching a class on an ecosystem at the University of Minnesota. There were probably 225 students, and we talked about interdependence. And a black man in the back row raised his hand and I said, “Yes?” He said, “I got where I am by myself. I worked hard, I fought hard, and here I am and I’m working on a degree and I did it by myself.” A black woman in the first row resorted to her black vernacular, and I knew her, she didn’t talk this way, she turned around and she shouted at him, “Man, was you born or was you hatched? Because if you were hatched, you did it yourself; if you were born, you had lots of help.” And the class roared. And I thought, what do I do? And I said, “We’ll continue now,” and I just continued the class, but he shrank in his seat and I think she taught him a lesson and she taught me a lesson. We’re interdependent.
SCARPINO: Yes. It’s an interesting life lesson out of an ecology course, isn’t it?
SCARPINO: So, you were contacted by Russ Mawby three times?
MATUSAK: Yes, yes.
SCARPINO: Twice you said no.
SCARPINO: So eventually you agreed to go there for an interview.
MATUSAK: A talk, yes.
SCARPINO: You were going to give a talk?
MATUSAK: Yes, yes.
SCARPINO: Okay. How did that go?
MATUSAK: It went very well. It was a small group; I expected a larger group and it was at the old building of the foundation and he had all of the staff in there, not support staff, but the professional staff. I was very aware that there weren’t any women in there. There was a nurse, that’s it. I gave my, what I believed should be happening in higher education, what wasn’t happening, what would happen with the correct direction and money in order to get it done. And then we had breakfast, when I had my bacon and eggs and they had their Raisin Bran, and I saw that immediately and felt, okay, am I going to be able to change who I am to work in this place? And I made up my mind, no, I couldn’t change who I am.
SCARPINO: You haven’t really done that, have you?
MATUSAK: No. And would I want to work there? And Russ is so charming.
SCARPINO: Yes, he is.
MATUSAK: And Bob Sparks was an amazing man. He’s a doctor and just a wonderful man, and I thought, what should I do? And then the salary they offered me was so much more than I was making. I mean, thousands more.
SCARPINO: More than a university president was making.
MATUSAK: Oh yeah, oh yeah. And the fact that I got a late start in life and I was 39 going on 40 and I was making $13,000; something’s got to happen. And I knew sooner or later I have to worry about retirement, etc.
SCARPINO: So, as a university president, you were making $13,000?
MATUSAK: No, no, that was at University of Minnesota.
SCARPINO: All right, okay, that sounds better.
MATUSAK: As a president, I was making $55,000. Even then, I mean, hey, compared to what they’re getting now. So I was offered thousands more and so I decided I’m going to do it. Connie and I talked and took deep breaths because we loved New Jersey. We loved it. And I said, “I’m going.” And she didn’t have a job of course. But the interesting thing, each time, we never decided to live together continuously, but every single time—I got offered the job at Evansville, she was at the dinner they had for me, the chairman of the television company was there and he offered her the job of manager of the TV station on the spot. So, something happened each time so that she could use her talents.
SCARPINO: So they brought you in there, and you gave a talk about higher education.
SCARPINO: But when they hired you, it was in the area of leadership.
SCARPINO: At what point did you realize that’s what they were really after?
MATUSAK: Well, I knew that they wanted leadership, but I didn’t know what leadership was. I was doing it and that’s what they recognized, but until I began to dig into it and saw what was going on, again with the leadership program, the Fellowship program—they had three classes of Fellows and nothing but strife within those three groups of Fellows and what was leadership. I began reading and talking and visiting people and one of the people you mentioned, what’s his name? You mentioned that he started to cry when you… come on, pull a name…
SCARPINO: Max DePree
MATUSAK: Yeah, Max DePree, went to visit him and looked at the authors and I visited with Bennis, Warren Bennis.
SCARPINO: Did you know Warren Bennis?
MATUSAK: No I didn’t.
SCARPINO: You called him up and said “I’d like to talk to you.”
MATUSAK: Exactly, and he was very, very benevolent, really nice. We talked and he put me on his board.
SCARPINO: His board was what?
MATUSAK: It was a leadership board at the university there. So I was on his board and I got to know him really well, close friends. I said, “Yeah, I like this idea of leadership and helping to train others to become leaders; how do you do it?” Nobody had any idea how you do it. I’d say, “Well, that’s management, everybody knows how to call a meeting, etc.” The more I read and read and read, I then put my own ideas together on what leadership was all about. And then I had fun designing the Kellogg Fellowship program, changing what it was, making it more…
SCARPINO: So, in 1982, after you…
MATUSAK: I almost left Kellogg. I almost left Kellogg; I almost didn’t stay.
SCARPINO: Right after you got there?
MATUSAK: Yeah, I think I was there three or four months and I said to Connie, “I’m bored to tears.”
SCARPINO: So how would you assess the state of leadership training in those days?
MATUSAK: There wasn’t any. I mean, you go to any university and there wasn’t any, and if you tried to say that leadership can be taught and learned, they would say, “No it can’t; you’re born, you’re either a leader or you’re not.” And I really disagree violently with that. But that’s the way it was then. So it took some time to convince even at the foundation to have a leadership grant-making area. It didn’t happen right away, that didn’t happen right away.
SCARPINO: You started with the Fellows program.
SCARPINO: Which was a mess.
MATUSAK: Yes. And that was going and then it started being very successful, extremely successful. Then I started pushing; I wanted grant-making in leadership and the foundation was going to give me one hell of a time, “No, no, no, we don’t want to do that, we don’t want to do that.” It’s interesting because now they’re going back to it again. In fact, they want to interview me next week for a couple of hours on what my concepts are, what are the lessons learned in leadership.
SCARPINO: You could practice with me. So, one more time, you took on a position that was sort of there, but was a mess. You realized when you were agreeing to do this that you were in fact a leader. So that’s kind of the ah-ha moment; you realized I’ve been doing this.
MATUSAK: Right, right, yes.
SCARPINO: Self-taught and all of that stuff. How did you go about restructuring the Fellows program that existed but was a little bit like the dirty offices of the incompetent people that you found when you got to Edison?
MATUSAK: It was a lot harder, because Russ Mawby saw it as his baby. That’s why I said I almost left the foundation because everything I wanted to do, everything I felt needed to be done, I had to take to him. Everything had to go through him. So I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t do it at six months—I don’t know what it was—but I went to him and I said, “You hired me to do a job, but you won’t let me do it. I have to have the authority in order to make these changes and not have to be running to you for every permission to blow my nose. No, I can’t do it. I didn’t leave a presidency to become your administrative assistant. That’s what I basically am, the way you’re having it right now.” So we had some serious conversations.
SCARPINO: And you were teaching him about leadership in the process, by the way.
MATUSAK: Oh yeah, oh yes. Well, I’ll never forget though at my retirement party with this whole big thing, he stands up and he said “The foundation could never be the same again.” And he knelt, and he was really funny, but there were no women on the board. I was just an oddity. I was a support staff and I couldn’t tolerate that. So I was ready to leave. But he reluctantly said, “Okay, do what you think you need to do. Let me know what you’re doing.” I said, “I will, after I find out if it works or not.”
SCARPINO: So, finally he sort of gives you your leadership head, what did you do? How did you go about restructuring that program that really became kind of a flagship program?
MATUSAK: It is; it was and has been, and now they’re trying to redesign some, and they’re not having good luck with it. But what did I do? I just looked at what we had, looked at the selection process, that was number one. How do we go about selecting these people? We’ve got to change it. It isn’t just an application and somebody writes in that they want to do a project. We’ve got to change all that and we have to look for people who have a passion to make a difference. That’s harder to find. And so restructuring it, we had application forms that they had to fill out and I would hire a team of people to come and read them, because we got 1,000 applications for 30 to 50 spots. They’d read those and sort them out. And I said, “What are we looking for? Somebody who has a passion to make a difference.” Well, then you’re interviewing them, and there, too, what I did was take three to four people with me so that it wasn’t just the foundation. There was maybe Rita Novitt and educators and maybe a professional businessman, etc., to interview. And the coaching for the interview, I spent a full-day seminar talking about, with these people, what we’re looking for, why we’re looking for it and what are some of the questions we can ask them that will not be so canned that they practice for interviews.
SCARPINO: Do you remember one of those questions?
MATUSAK: Oh yeah, oh yeah. I’ll give you a couple of them, but the one that I would toss out is: “What if we said, forget about the Fellowship program, Phil. We just think you’re so good that Kellogg is going to give you the money to have a special dinner with people from all over the world, any six people you want, outstanding people, no matter the cost, and have dinner with them. What would you talk about?” And many times, we would blow people out of the water with that question, and many times you would cry almost because they would talk about who they wanted to be there. The one that was really funny was, she said, “Well, I would like Baryshnikov and I would like Ronald Reagan, because then while they’re fighting, I would I would run off with the ballet guy.”
SCARPINO: Baryshnikov was the ballet guy.
MATUSAK: Well, I meant Brez…
MATUSAK: Brezhnev. And I’ll run off with the ballet guy. So we just roared! Another one I would give a question to: “If we thought you were so good, and that planet Earth is just a mess and we’re never going to be able to right all the wrongs, sociological kinds of things, and so we have to get you to Mars with a team of people to start a whole new colony. Who would you take, why would you take them, and how would you start the structure?” It blew them out of the water. They came with canned answers to canned interview questions. So we were really able to find out who the people were. Now, our president at that time at the foundation was Norm Brown and he was very suspicious of the process. So he came as one of the interviewers and we had a real difficult discussion about one of the candidates. I thought she was a fake right away and some of the others on the team thought she was a fake, and Norm Brown thought she was God’s gift to mankind. She had written poetry, and she had a recommendation from the head of a foundation in Ohio, etc. I finally said, “Okay, let’s not argue any more. What I will do after we’re through with interviews today is I will call the president of the foundation and ask if he wrote this recommendation and what he thinks of this person. I will also check on that poetry because I am positive I’ve read it someplace else. Agree? If I’m wrong, okay, we’ll accept her.” Well, it was all forged. The letter he had never written and besides that, she had copied the poem from a poet, some astronaut or somebody wrote and she claimed that it was hers. And further recommendations in her file never should have been there because those people never wrote those recommendations. I don’t know, I have a good feeling for people.
SCARPINO: Well, it also seems that those questions you were asking were to test how well a person could think in unexpected situations.
SCARPINO: Is that a mark of someone with leadership potential?
MATUSAK: Yes, absolutely. I think that a person who is in the leadership position needs to recognize what my mother said way back when, that everybody has a gift, and try to find what that gift is.
SCARPINO: So you restructured this program and it had certain elements to it. A person could not do a project in their own discipline.
SCARPINO: They had to agree to come to a certain number of seminars.
SCARPINO: What else were you asking them to do?
MATUSAK: Well, they had to design this learning plan which was very important, and they had to come to the seminars and participate in the seminars. There, too, I don’t know if anybody told you that, but our seminars were very different. For example, we had a seminar in education in Washington, DC. But we started out the seminars talking about, you’re going to hear about the best we have in education and the worst we have in education. And by the end of the week, it’s up to you to select a team from your numbers to come and sit before Kennedy’s Committee on Education and tell him what you saw, what you learned, and what needs to be done. So there was always a task at hand. It wasn’t just sit and listen to talking heads. So they did that. And Kennedy asked them all to come back to the full Committee because they were so good.
SCARPINO: And this was…
MATUSAK: In Washington.
SCARPINO: Robert Kennedy? John Kennedy?
MATUSAK: No, Edward.
SCARPINO: Edward Kennedy, all right. Okay, so when he was a Senator.
SCARPINO: Senator Kennedy.
MATUSAK: Right, right. So seminars were not just talking heads. There was something they had to do each time from those seminars.
SCARPINO: And that was an important part of the leadership experience?
MATUSAK: Absolutely, absolutely. Now, getting them to design a project—you know, they say that kids up to sixth grade are very creative, and after that we channel them? And getting them to design a project that had nothing to do with their discipline sometimes was like pulling teeth. We had one hospital administrator—I don’t know how many times I said no to his learning plan. I thought he was going to kill me. He was getting angrier and angrier. And then finally he said, “Well, you know, I wouldn’t have half the messes in my emergency room if cars would have airbags.” They didn’t have airbags at that time. And I said, “Okay,” and he said, “Somebody needs to do a documentary on that kind of thing.” And I said, “Well, so why don’t you do it?” He said, “I can’t even hold a camera, my wife takes all the pictures.” I said, “So learn.” Anyway to make a long story short on that one, he did, and he got an Emmy for his documentary and he’s the head of a foundation in California now.
SCARPINO: Good heavens! Do you remember his name?
SCARPINO: Do you remember his name?
MATUSAK: No, but I will, I will.
SCARPINO: It’s all right.
MATUSAK: But I had a lot of stories like that I could tell you, I think.
SCARPINO: So, when you finally agreed to stay, when you had your…
MATUSAK: Get my authority, yes.
SCARPINO: What did you hope to accomplish? You sort of have a history of being in places where you think you can make a difference. What difference did you think you could make?
MATUSAK: Well, I thought the difference I could make was going to be one in society because I suddenly discovered that I was at a place where I wasn’t asking for money anymore. I was thoughtfully—it’s harder giving money away, and if I could do my job right and design a leadership program that would change what was going on in society by developing good leaders, I was in a really powerful position.
SCARPINO: Any idea how many Fellows passed through that program while you were in charge of it?
MATUSAK: Oh yeah, yeah, because I’m going to say a good 800 and some, close to 900 Fellows.
SCARPINO: So the multiplier effect was significant.
MATUSAK: Oh absolutely. Well, KFLA now is the Alumni association. I’ll be doing a keynote for them in October.
SCARPINO: KFLA is the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance.
MATUSAK: Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance and it takes all of the fellowship programs and it sort of destroyed what Martha wanted, but it took the fellowship program’s alumni, if you can call it that, but other fellowship programs the foundation had run, and they weren’t fellowship programs—they were money, go get your degree kind of thing—and so they are involved as well.
SCARPINO: When you look back on that part of your job at Kellogg, the Fellowship program, what do you consider to be your most significant accomplishment?
MATUSAK: The decision-making process about who’s going to be in the program, the people that we selected who didn’t even know they had a high potential for leadership but they had a passion to make a difference. They didn’t know what leadership was and we taught them what it was. I feel very strongly that was my greatest success, that I have this entourage of people out there who are really making a difference, and they are. It’s pretty amazing.
SCARPINO: You and Russ Mawby retired relative close…
MATUSAK: About a year.
SCARPINO: What happened to that program after both of you retired?
MATUSAK: Well, it continued and Roger Sublett was the leader. The problem is that Roger sometimes gets a little bit antagonistic and he antagonized the CEO and the CEO decided he didn’t need the program. That was the president of former Johns Hopkins. He regrets it now. I’ll meet him at some doing, at a symphony or something, and he’ll say, “Never was anything like that Fellowship program when you brought those Fellows to Chicago, blah, blah, blah.” But it’s gone. Now, they’re trying to recreate it in a different way, but it had a lack of true leaders. It was sad that it fell apart.
SCARPINO: In addition to the Fellowship program, you also eventually were in charge of the grants in the area of leadership.
SCARPINO: I understand those were institutional grants?
SCARPINO: What was the goal of that program?
MATUSAK: Well, it wasn’t just—yeah, I can say it was institutional because we didn’t give to individuals.
SCARPINO: That’s what I meant. I couldn’t apply and get a grant from there. It would have to be the university.
MATUSAK: No, that’s right. Well, what we wanted to get through to people both on the professional level as well as on the civic level is that leadership can be taught and learned. So the monies that we gave to the universities were for programs, recognizing in a degree program or else in a leadership center that leadership can be taught and learned and that they were willing to do that. That it is a discipline. That it is a discipline. It wasn’t at that point.
SCARPINO: That’s really one of the things that you helped to shape with your ability to award grants and so on.
SCARPINO: How did that square with—I mean there were people writing about leadership at that time; James MacGregor Burns, Warren Bennis, there were other people, you talked to Max DePree. How did your ideas on leadership square with what they were writing?
MATUSAK: Well, what bothered me about all of those folks was they weren’t talking to the practitioners. They were talking to each other, some of them, but they weren’t talking to practitioners. They weren’t helping to convey their knowledge except with their books, and who reads their books except more academics? So, I brought them together and with money—I guess there were about 45 at the first meeting, 45, maybe 50, I’m not sure—but brought them together to start talking about how can you as scholars begin to talk to people who are the practitioners, some who accept what you write and some say you’re all wrong because they’re out there in the field doing.
MATUSAK: And oh my God. That was very, very difficult because we had people like—I can just see him now and I can’t pull his name out—screaming at the Fellow from Princeton, who is still there. He’s a violinist and his grandparents were famous violinists. I’ll think of the name; it’ll come. I’m sorry.
SCARPINO: It’s all right.
MATUSAK: But anyway, just yelling at each other, just screaming at each other. I thought this is never going to work. No wonder we have this discord between practitioners and scholars.
SCARPINO: You were both a funder and founder of the Kellogg Leadership Scholars Program (KLSP) and it was the KLSP that brought together this first group of 45 to 50 scholars, or did you have practitioners there too?
SCARPINO: So you wanted the scholars to figure out mechanisms for connecting with the practitioners.
MATUSAK: Exactly, exactly.
SCARPINO: I mean you were asking them “so what?”
MATUSAK: Well, yeah.
SCARPINO: Why does anybody care about what you’re doing?
SCARPINO: Did you ever put it that way?
MATUSAK: My famous words are “so what?” They told me they’re going to put that on my gravestone because I’d ask the Fellows after they designed a learning plan and I’d say, “And so what? What’s going to be different because you did that? How are you going to create change?”
SCARPINO: So you took all of these, some really famous people…
MATUSAK: Prima donnas.
SCARPINO: And you asked them “so what?”
MATUSAK: That’s right.
SCARPINO: I bet they hadn’t answered that question in a while, had they?
MATUSAK: No, they had not, and they were such prima donnas.
SCARPINO: Was James MacGregor Burns there?
MATUSAK: Yes, he was.
SCARPINO: Warren Bennis?
MATUSAK: Yes, yeah, Warren Bennis, James MacGregor Burns, all those guys were there, all the authors, etc.; Stockdale—not Stockdale, he wasn’t there. But the fellow from Princeton was there and, gosh, I see faces and I can’t pull all the names out, but they were raucous times. That first meeting, I thought I’d never have another one.
SCARPINO: Was that at Battle Creek?
MATUSAK: No, the first meeting was at Maryland.
MATUSAK: Jepson? No, Jepson was the second meeting.
SCARPINO: As I recall, Richard Couto was at that first meeting and he was at Jepson.
MATUSAK: Right, right, okay, yeah, he and Hickman, Gill Hickman was there, yeah. I remember that.
SCARPINO: So who got to pick the 45 or 50 scholars who…
MATUSAK: I did.
MATUSAK: With Georgia Sorenson. I sat down with her.
SCARPINO: And Georgia was a faculty member at the University of Maryland?
MATUSAK: Yes. Well, she ran the center that she had there.
SCARPINO: Leadership Center.
MATUSAK: It was the Women’s Center at first and then it became a Leadership Center, yeah.
MATUSAK: And I sat down with her and we looked at some of the names and people, etc., and who needed to be there, and we came up with the number of people and Barbara Kellerman was there.
MATUSAK: At that time she was in Massachusetts.
SCARPINO: Was she at Harvard?
MATUSAK: No, not yet, not yet, though she went to Harvard afterward. But anyway, the first several meetings, I was worn out. I didn’t think it was going to work and then it slowly began to evolve. Again, it takes money and if I hadn’t been at the foundation, I couldn’t do that. There wouldn’t be the money to bring them together.
SCARPINO: So you gave them at least one grant.
MATUSAK: Oh yeah, oh yeah. Then we sat down and said, “Now, what can we do so that we have practitioners working with the scholars, learning from them and the scholars learning what they’re not doing and putting into their work that the practitioners think need to be there?” There’s still that struggle going on. There’s still a struggle. I think it’ll be a never-ending struggle with scholars and practitioners, and scholars fussing that we don’t have enough scholars at the meetings and practitioners saying there are too many scholars and not enough people who are out there doing the work. So, anyway, that’s kind of a fun battle that’s going on. But it took years; this didn’t happen overnight. It took years.
SCARPINO: Rule number one of doing oral history is never ask for a date, but I’m going to violate that rule. Do you remember what year that was?
MATUSAK: I don’t. In the mid ’80s we started.
SCARPINO: Okay, I can—that’s a discoverable fact.
MATUSAK: Yeah, in the mid ’80s we started. Then everything evolved and then Kellerman decided that one of the best ways we could reach out would be to have a national conference and bring practitioners together with some scholars. At that time, I was a little bit resistant because I think so many of those national conventions are a waste of time. But we worked on it and we had the first one and it was very successful.
SCARPINO: Where did that take place?
MATUSAK: I think it was Atlanta.
MATUSAK: I think so, but again, my memory; forgive me.
SCARPINO: So you went from basically groups of scholars that you were trying to get to figure out a way to connect their scholarships to the practitioners to a conference that brought the two groups together.
SCARPINO: And you were at that conference?
MATUSAK: Oh yes.
SCARPINO: Were you satisfied with the way it went?
MATUSAK: Yes I was, very satisfied. In fact, I was elated at what had taken place. I was really pleased. Some of the scholars weren’t as pleased as I was, but I expected that and I figured they’d come around, and they did for the most part, most of them did. And they enjoyed coming to the meetings. But it was a tough time. I would say that my work at the Kellogg Foundation and with leadership and leadership scholars was probably the biggest challenge of my career, the biggest challenge.
SCARPINO: Just trying to get the ball on a common task.
MATUSAK: Right, right.
SCARPINO: So you had this meeting in Atlanta, and then that was a step on the road to creating the International Leadership Association.
MATUSAK: Right, that is correct. And then, the political strife, inner political strife kind of thing takes place, and Georgia Sorenson resigned her position and Barbara Kellerman decided that she’s taking the whole thing—all the leadership scholars and everything that I had given money for—she’s taking it with her and she’s going to Harvard. And we said, “No, you’re not. You can go to Harvard, but you can’t take all that with you. It’s not yours. The grant was given to the University of Maryland to carry this out, etc.” So you went through that difficult stage of the whole thing.
SCARPINO: They also created the Burns Center there. Did that have anything to do with something you funded?
MATUSAK: Yeah, yeah, but the first money I gave them was half a million and then in order to keep it going, the second half was another 500—another million.
SCARPINO: And they created the Burns Center. They used James MacGregor Burns’ name.
SCARPINO: He was not really involved with that.
MATUSAK: No, he was not. I mean, just with Georgia. He and Georgia wrote a book together on Clinton. Oh my, you’re making me go through details that are so long gone in my mind.
SCARPINO: So you were also the Kellogg Foundation’s first leadership scholar.
SCARPINO: What did that entail? What was your portfolio?
MATUSAK: Well, Russ was insisting that I write. I should write. I should write; I should write about leadership and what I was teaching leaders, write. But I was doing grant-making in leadership, I was still supervising the Fellowship program, and I was dealing with the Expert in Residence program, which I designed. I don’t know if anybody even bothered mentioning it, but the Kellogg Foundation decided to move Kellogg’s home. He lived in a two-story stucco house, and they move it across the river from the foundation itself where it stands. Russ Mawby called a meeting of all of us professionals and wanted to know how do we use the building now? And I listened, and oh my God, I raised my hand and I said, “The last thing we need is another old restored building used for strawberry festivals. We can’t do that.” He said, “Well, what would you suggest?” I said, “Why don’t we have an Expert in Residence program? Battle Creek is a small town; we don’t get the kind of people I think ought to be coming in here to see the wonders that we have and to help teach our own people to have some pride in what they are doing, etc., blah, blah, blah.” He said, “Good idea.” And then I got a letter on my desk that I was appointed to make it happen. So I did. And you know, it was a very successful program. The first person we brought in was Vanessa White (editor’s note: it is Vanessa Williams), Miss America, first black Miss America. We brought her in, she went to all the schools, talked to all the kids, talked to people in the community. Then we brought the author of The Road Less Traveled, Scott somebody (editor’s note: it is M. Scott Peck). Anyway, we brought him in. We brought prominent people into the community. We brought Max DePree in. All of them knew that they got to live in the house, they were catered to. We had a couple who lived there who took care of all of their needs, but their requirement was to reach out into the community and make Battle Creek proud of what we have and teach what they could teach. We had a master mathematician come in who has a reputation for his books, etc., who went to all the schools and worked with teachers and what have you. It was a fun program, but it took a lot of work too. It was fun though.
SCARPINO: You also made a difference in the community, didn’t you?
SCARPINO: What kind of things—you mentioned S.A.F.E. …
MATUSAK: S.A.F.E. Place.
SCARPINO: S.A.F.E. Place the other day, but what else?
MATUSAK: Symphony board, I worked on the symphony board. They were going to fold up, too, and I’m working with them right now again because now it’s the Music Center in Battle Creek. Again, we had different boards for all these different—boys’ choir, girls’ choir, symphony, orchestra, all different boards. I know Roger sat on one of them, I sat on the symphony board, I sat on the boys’ choir board. I said, “This is ridiculous.” And so, with gentle nudging, pushing, working with a couple of people, we now have one board and all of those organizations are under the one board and have a lovely branch of the building and so forth. Yeah, I’ve worked a lot in the community.
SCARPINO: One of the products of your being the leadership scholar was your book Finding Your Voice?
MATUSAK: Yes. That was the reason I asked Russ to give me a different position so that I could take time off to write the book. That’s how that evolved.
SCARPINO: It came out in 1996?
MATUSAK: ’96, yes.
SCARPINO: That’s also the year you left the foundation?
MATUSAK: That’s right, retired.
SCARPINO: You went out on a…
MATUSAK: I was 66 and I decided a new person was coming in and I had done enough interviewing to know when I’m going to get along with somebody and when I’m not, and I felt quite certain that with the new leadership, we would be really at odds.
SCARPINO: You’re taking about a new CEO?
MATUSAK: Yeah, yeah, that we would really be at odds. I knew who he was and what he did, etc. He’s a great man, but I was not going to get along with him. He was too square for me. And he would not give me the kind of latitude I wanted. Russ wanted me to stay until I was 70 and I said, “You’re gone; why do you want me to say until I’m 70?” So, I made a wise decision.
SCARPINO: So you…
MATUSAK: I started my own company.
SCARPINO: Which was?
MATUSAK: LarCon Associates. I did that; right at my retirement party I passed out my cards.
SCARPINO: What was LarCon Associates going to do?
MATUSAK: It was leadership development, organizational design, and executive coaching.
SCARPINO: So you went into consulting?
MATUSAK: Yeah. And I was busier than a “cat on a hot tin roof.” I was gone every week, every week for two and a half, three years. Then I finally decided, this is becoming no fun. I don’t want to travel this much anymore. And so I started being more picky. And I didn’t stop doing that consulting until I was 79. So, it was very beneficial. I said to Russ Mawby, “I made more money consulting that I ever did at the foundation.”
SCARPINO: You also accepted a position as professor at the James MacGregor Burns Academy.
SCARPINO: A Senior Scholar?
SCARPINO: Okay. So what did that entail? Was that a residence? Did you go there?
MATUSAK: I taught a class. Oh yeah, I lived there alternate months and I worked with Bill Bradley on his social issues project.
SCARPINO: Bill Bradley as in Senator Bill Bradley?
SCARPINO: The basketball player, Bill Bradley?
MATUSAK: Yes, that’s the Bill Bradley. I was disappointed in him. But anyway, I worked with him and I worked with Georgia and I wrote in monograph while I was there on the lessons learned in 10 years on leadership development. I don’t know what they’ve done with it, and I don’t have a copy here.
SCARPINO: It came out in 1998.
SCARPINO: It’s called “The First Ten Years of the Kellogg National Fellowship Program.”
MATUSAK: Right, right. And yeah, so I alternated months I spent at the Academy and I taught a class, a freshman class of incoming. They had leadership youngsters come in on scholarships for leadership, and I taught that class, and wrote, and talked.
SCARPINO: So freshmen, so these are like 18-year-olds?
SCARPINO: What do you tell an 18-year-old about leadership?
MATUSAK: That was fun. That was really fun because that’s what I would ask them. “Are you leaders? How many of you are leaders? Raise your hand.” I’d get a couple jocks raise their hands. I said, “Where are you a leader?” “I’m a football player.” You know, “I’m a basketball player.” “Okay, what about the rest of you?” So I asked a lot of questions and pulled them out of themselves and make them recognize, sit up straighter and straighter and say, “Yeah, I’m a leader!”
SCARPINO: You also co-edited with Barbara Kellerman, contributed a chapter to Cutting Edge: Leadership 2000?
MATUSAK: Right, right, yeah, that was fun, too. I enjoyed working with Barbara.
SCARPINO: How did you decide who were you were going to include? This is an edited volume, so you had contributors. How did you pick the contributors?
MATUSAK: Well, had selected. We asked people to please send things in. If you want to get published, send something in because we do want to put together a publication that shows that we’re not just a convention where people come to have lunch with each other and build networks. It’s more than that, much more than that.
SCARPINO: So these grew out of papers that had been presented at ILA?
MATUSAK: Yes, yes. And some of them were…
SCARPINO: Those had to take some work.
MATUSAK: Oh yeah, it does.
SCARPINO: Then you also co-edited Building Leadership Bridges 2001 and Building Leadership Bridges 2002. Was that also an outgrowth of ILA?
MATUSAK: Right, right, yes.
SCARPINO: Okay. So, by this time, you had been around leadership a long time.
SCARPINO: You had recognized yourself as a leader. When you got to the foundation, you realized you were being asked to do something for which there really wasn’t a template so you sort of started leadership studies.
SCARPINO: How had the field of leadership studies changed between the time you started at the foundation and the time you’re a Senior Scholar at the Burns Academy where you’re co-editing these books?
MATUSAK: Well, there were just so many institutions interested in leadership as a discipline and they weren’t, even despite James MacGregor Burns writing, they were not interested. They didn’t believe it was a discipline that could be taught and learned. And so the biggest difference I saw was people who thought you were born a leader or you were not a leader were no longer saying that. It was laughed at and they were now saying it’s a discipline, it can be taught, it can be learned, and you start teaching it in kindergarten.
SCARPINO: Okay, all right, so I’m going to ask you a few questions to wrap this up and we’ll be done in the two hours that I promised.
MATUSAK: Good. Today went faster.
SCARPINO: I asked you how you thought the field had changed, but what remains to be done in the field of leadership studies?
MATUSAK: I think technology has destroyed communications. And I think that a good leader has to be an excellent communicator and a collaborator and someone who understands that there is strength in everyone and you have to find it and use it. And the technology has completely wiped that out. Our young people are coming out of universities and colleges with degrees—they don’t know how to face—they don’t know how to deal with people. There’s no communication skill. They’re accustomed to their OK with a big K or something. And what needs to be done? I’m not sure how we’re going to put technology into its proper slot in our field of instruments to use. It has become the Lord and Master. And I think that has to change.
SCARPINO: I take it that you’re not persuaded that Twitter is a way to train leaders?
MATUSAK: No, no, in fact, I’m shocked at the way doctors treat patients. I’m shocked at the way help in stores treat people. They don’t treat people like people at all. They don’t know how to communicate. They don’t know how to be kind. They don’t know how to facilitate anything. And our young people are coming out that way and it’s scary. There was an article in The Futurist magazine on the fact that we have developed a technological age that can’t be matched, but is absolutely inept at communication verbally and with other people.
SCARPINO: What do you think that students in college should be learning that would address the problems that you’ve just raised?
MATUSAK: Well, look at Washington, D.C. Is there any idea in those—their feet are in cement, but is there any idea about collaboration or coordination or recognizing strengths and weaknesses? No, none whatsoever. And I think our colleges and universities fail in teaching students that collaborate, to work together, to work with each other. I think it’s all succeed, get your As, get your A+, this guy’s got a B, don’t even look at him and go. There’s got to be more. There’s got to be more than that. There’s got to be some way of evaluating an individual’s ability to get a task done with others, because that’s life. Our marriages are falling apart.
SCARPINO: One of the things that I didn’t ask you, and I’m going to back up and do this now, in interest of full disclosure I did interview Russ Mawby; it seems to me that there was a time you were there, one of the interests of the foundation was what I would call social justice. They stayed in South Africa training leaders believing that someday apartheid would be—so did you incorporate social justice into your leadership programs?
SCARPINO: How would you do that?
MATUSAK: Well, there’s another thing. I didn’t mention that, but the first three groups of Fellows, there was one minority in the first group, one minority in the second group, and one Hispanic—well, black, black—and one Hispanic in the third group. And I looked at that and I said, “This is not society.” We didn’t set any goals, but I made it very clear that I wanted to see representation of the population as we get new groups of Fellows. So we did that and I think we had a marvelous balance. We didn’t the first year, but I had at least maybe five, six people of color in that next class. And as we went on, it was very, very—we had firemen and we had professionals. We looked for that in the collaboration.
SCARPINO: To bring people together in groups…
SCARPINO: … that they might not otherwise have associated with.
SCARPINO: As you look back on your career, what are you most proud of?
MATUSAK: What am I most proud of? Being a change agent who brought people along in the process and didn’t leave anybody behind. I guess I’m most proud of that.
SCARPINO: If you could have a do-over, is there anything that you would do differently?
MATUSAK: No, no. No, nothing. I loved everything I did. The fact that I was way before cracking the glass ceiling and always the only woman and still succeeded, and I’m not bitter or angry about anything, and my life in the convent taught me a great deal, so no. Would I have liked to have been the CEO of Kellogg? Yeah. I think I could have made a profound difference there as CEO, but I don’t regret it. That’s not a right word. If it could happen all over again and I were younger or whatever, it would have happened because I know the board felt strongly about me too, so.
SCARPINO: What do you still want to accomplish?
MATUSAK: What do I still want to accomplish? Change in the Catholic Church.
SCARPINO: In what way?
MATUSAK: I want to at least be a deacon. And I do what I can do to create the change that needs to be created and you can’t do much in the Catholic Church, again for the same reason, but I think that it’s on the horizon, and maybe before I’m dead I’ll have a chance on it.
SCARPINO: Do you think that the church will change?
MATUSAK: No, I don’t think it’s going to change that quickly, but with the new Pope, I think there’s the possibility of at least a deaconate, that women will be deacons and I think I’ll see that in my lifetime. And if I can’t be the deacon, I just want to see other women, I want to applaud for them. Now, you know there is a segment in the Catholic Church that call themselves Catholic Church, but they’re not Roman Catholic, and there are about 35 women ordained priests. So there’s that tension, there’s a schism almost, not quite, but almost. And change will happen, yes.
SCARPINO: What would you like your legacy to be?
MATUSAK: I don’t know how you’re asking that, but I think the Fellowship program in Leadership is one of my legacies because if I had not done what I did, I don’t think anybody at any other foundation—Ford didn’t undertake it until we did, and then Ford jumped in.
SCARPINO: And they started a similar program.
SCARPINO: And there are other programs around the country more or less designed from the model you created.
MATUSAK: Exactly, exactly. So I think that’s my legacy. I know when I say that I regret that I never had any children, the Fellows have a fit. They all claim they’re all my kids.
SCARPINO: Well, that’s a good thing, isn’t it?
MATUSAK: Yeah, it is.
SCARPINO: Two more questions. Is there anything that I should have asked you that I didn’t?
MATUSAK: No, my God, no. No, you are very good at what you do in asking the questions, and I hope I answered them satisfactorily.
SCARPINO: You did. Is there anything that you’d like to say that I haven’t given you a chance to say?
MATUSAK: No, nothing. I mean I think I’ve said it all and I could spend a long time talking about events in what we talked about, but that’s not necessary.
SCARPINO: Okay. Well, then before I turn the recorder off, we’re just a smidge under two hours, so I kept my word. I want to thank you on behalf of myself, the Tobias Center and the International Leadership Association for being nice enough to sit with me and open your home to me.
MATUSAK: You are most welcome.