William Rankin Matthews, Jr., Twelfth Rector: 2005-2011


When the Chapel bells rang in the news of the appointment of the Twelfth Rector of St. Paul’s School on January 10, 2006, the St. Paul’s School community was welcoming one of its own to head the School. Reminiscent of Rectors from the School’s early history, many of whom had long histories at St. Paul’s before serving as Rector, it was fitting in the School’s Sesquicentennial year that the School’s Twelfth Rector was Bill Matthews, with his five-decade history at the School as student (Form of 1961), teacher, coach, and administrator. Mr. Matthews had served as Interim Rector since the previous May.

One of Mr. Matthews’s first challenges as Rector was to guide the School through the “Mother’s Day flood” of 2006 and to oversee its subsequent recovery and rebuilding. That summer he initiated a rigorous strategic-planning process, with community-wide representation in the kind of open environment on which he insists, with frequent communication to all constituencies. The guide for School decision-making during his tenure as Rector, the Strategic Plan emphasizes academic excellence, community life, environmental sustainability, diversity, a global view, and service to others. Encouraging student leadership through service is a primary focus for Mr. Matthews, who frequently invokes the School Prayer’s admonition to “bear the burdens of others.” The same theme is echoed in the St. Paul’s School Mission Statement, which Mr. Matthews re-drafted in collaboration with students, faculty, staff, and Trustees. In 2010, St. Paul’s School Trustees announced the completion of fund raising for the Lindsay Center for Mathematics and Science, the most ambitious capital project of Mr. Matthews’s rectorship.

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"William Rankin Matthews, Jr., Twelfth Rector: 2005-2011." St. Paul's School. Ohrstrom Library Digital Archives. Web. 23 July 2024.