Tom H. Matheny, a 1954 Southeastern graduate, had a long and distinguished record
of service to the community and to his church. As an unprecedented six-term president
of the World United Methodist Judicial Council, his influence on the future of the
many church-affiliated educational institutions has been felt internationally.
"Mr. Matheny is an effective and quiet leader who is always willing to lend a hand
when called upon to do good work for others," former Southeastern President Sally
Clausen said upon presenting him an honorary doctorate.
On the state and local level, Matheny served on the Council for a Better Louisiana, the
American Academy for Political and Social Sciences and the Louisiana Historical Society. He
was a tireless advocate for the rights of people with mental illness and served as
president of the Tangipahoa Parish Mental Health Association and the Louisiana Mental
A strong supporter of Southeastern and higher education in general, Matheny served on
the boards of trustees of American University, Centenary College, Iliff School of
Theology and Scarritt College. He served as a past president of Southeastern's Alumni
Association and a member of the Development Foundation board of directors. The history
and government department lecture series during Southeastern's Fanfare arts festival
is named for Matheny, who was selected as the 1981 Southeastern Alumnus of the Year.