Scholarship Fund Highlight:
Hoss Matthews "Friends are forever" Memorial Scholarship Fund
A graduate of the Class of 1951, Hoss was a beloved member of the UNG family. His dedication to the university and his passion for the Corps of Cadets has led to the formation of this scholarship which will benefit those who were so special to him. The goal is to raise $25,000 for an endowment by June 16, 2021.
The scholarship will be presented to qualified members of the University Rifle Team, of which Hoss was an original member, with preference to team members who are also members of the Corps of Cadets.
An interview with Neal Matthews (Hoss' son)
What is your best memory of your father?
Wow, how do you pick one memory out of 56 years. There are just too many. It could be hiking up a mountain together while I was in scouts or teaching me the woodworking skills that I still use today. It could be the birthday trip I took him on to DC where we spent several days together seeing the museums and memorials, the Korean War memorial being especially touching for him. It’s remembering him standing beside me as I received my Eagle Scout award and as my best man when I got married. It would be each time we met for a breakfast or lunch. It could be any one of the countless favors he did for me. It could also be the last phone call I had with him when he ended it with “love ya bud."
What was your dad’s upbringing like, and what do you think drove him to UNG?
Dad was born in simpler times in Perry, a small Georgia town. His parents taught him to respect his fellow man, to work hard for what he wanted and to be proud of his accomplishments. He started at Gordon College in Milledgeville where he was in ROTC and a member of the rifle team. He transferred to NGC to complete his degree and was an original member of the NGC rifle team.
Suzanne (Neal's wife), Hoss, and Neal at Hoss' favorite Chinese restaurant for his birthday.
What made “Hoss” Matthews unique in your eyes?
Dad met everyone the same way, with a big smile and a handshake. He was genuinely interested in getting to know people. He was always happy telling us about the new “friends" he met. In his later years he spent almost every morning opening up shop at Ward’s Automotive, our family mechanic and friend. He would have the coffee ready and be looking forward to visiting with the customers and lending a hand if he could. His loyalty to his friends was everlasting. He returned to Perry often to visit those he grew up with and faithfully attended each class reunion. He loved returning to the NGC campus and helping the cadets. He considered them all a part of his “family” and took so much pride watching them succeed.
How did the nickname “Hoss” come about?
Growing up in Perry all of Dad’s friends gave each other nicknames, a common practice in small towns. It may have been one of his team mates from the Perry High School basketball team. We don’t know who gave it to Dad but he liked it and it stuck.
I have heard your dad being described as “everybody’s friend” and I wonder how important was “Friends are Forever” to him and if those relationships made a personal impact in you and your family.
When my Dad started FAF I don’t think he ever expected it to grow into what it is today. He took so much pride in letting us know how many members were able to attend each luncheon. These were his friends and they were so important to him. He cared for each and every one of them and their families.
I have had the opportunity to get to know many of these members. It has really been special to have them share with me their stories and feelings about my Dad.
How do you hope The “Hoss” Matthews “Friends are Forever” Memorial Scholarship Fund will further your father’s legacy in UNG and in the lives of future scholarship recipients?
FAF original members have friendships that have spanned over 65 years. I hope that each recipient will realize that they are now part of an elite group. Perhaps when they learn the history behind it they too will realize the importance of having friendships that last a lifetime.
You can support the Hoss Matthews "Friends are Forever" Scholarship Fund by clicking on the Give Now button and writing "Hoss Matthews" as the fund. You can also give by contacting UNG's Gift Entry Specialist Anna Waters at Anna.Waters@ung.edu or (706) 867.2876.