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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

Connecting with Heritage

Matt Cole '71

from The Bridge: Spring/Summer 2011 issue

Matt Cole '71Matt Cole missed the classroom so much that he changed careers in 1998, going from a post as a corporate treasurer to one as a history teacher. Today, as the assistant headmaster for development for the Wesleyan School in Norcross, Ga., Cole has found a way to blend his interest in academics with his business acumen.

"When I decided to come to Wesleyan, I was 100 percent in the classroom," he says. "It was not six months before my business experience, particularly in negotiating, influenced the headmaster to ask me to consider fund-raising.

"There is no higher calling in my view than to support the schools and mentors who have supported you and your children."

Among the W&L mentors who most influenced Cole are professors Ollinger Crenshaw '25, '26, Milton Colvin, Allen Moger and Jefferson Davis Futch. To honor them and the University, Cole has committed $150,000 to the Colonnade renovation and restoration.

"I think the renovation has been approached with particular attention to the historic details," he says. "The ability to undo the 1950s suspended ceilings and restore the skylights and the original architecture in Newcomb connects W&L with its heritage. Every detail seemed to be thought through very carefully."