Skip to main content

Dr. Westina Matthews Shatteen

Dr. Westina Matthews Shatteen

Written by Dr. Daria Graham

For over thirty-five years, Westina Matthews Shatteen, Ph.D. (professionally known as Westina Matthews) has turned her passion and creativity into realities for so many in the community at-large.  An accomplished author, sought-after public speaker, and retired Wall Street executive, Matthews has received numerous honors for her achievements in the boardroom and her commitment to community service.

Matthews earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in education at the University of Dayton, Ph.D. in education from the University of Chicago, and served as a postdoctoral research fellow at both Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She has also received an honorary doctorate of Humanities from Carlow College and the Metropolitan College of New York. Matthews continue to show her love for the University of Dayton by eventually returning to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Matthews shared that much of her experience has been marked by “The first. The only. The one of the few.” This has been evident in much of her experiences and accomplishments. During her time as a resident assistant (RA), she was the only female Black RA in Marycrest. She notes that at that time there were only 19 Black students on campus. She was also the first Black student to be voted as Homecoming Queen.

After an early career as an elementary school teacher and reading specialist, Matthews spent thirteen years in grant making - first as senior program officer at The Chicago Community Trust; and then as manager of all philanthropic programs at Merrill Lynch. She was the first woman and person of color to be elected as a trustee of the Merrill Lynch Foundation, and grew the company’s annual charitable giving from $5 million to $35 million.

Upon her retirement from Merrill Lynch, Matthews was one of sixteen fellows selected for the prestigious fellowship at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University where she researched women and girls of faith in Burundi in east-central Africa. She then joined the Jackie Robinson Foundation for four years as vice president, chief program officer.

Always committed to education as well as the development and retention of women and minorities, in 1990 Matthews was appointed by Mayor David N. Dinkins as one of seven members to the Board of Education, City of New York. She was an early pioneer and advocate for women and minorities in mathematics and science who published extensively on the subject. As a task force member of the Third National Assessment of Educational Progress for mathematics, she was the first researcher to analyze and report data separately for the math performance of women and of minorities.

Matthews initiated and for many years chaired the highly acclaimed annual Black Women’s Leadership Summit at which the top 100 black women executives in corporate American attend to hear from CEOs of Fortune 500 companies (now in its fifteenth year). She also created and moderated the annual Black Women on Wall Street event attended by 300 high potential black women professionals that attracts large media coverage. Proceeds from registration fees and sponsorships of these two annual events support the Ann Fudge Scholars Program, also created by Matthews, whereby undergraduate and graduate black women majoring in business receive scholarships, mentoring, and an international experience of which Spelman business students were the recipients. For two years, scholarship recipients were invited to visit South Africa to learn of business opportunities there – organized by Matthews.

The author of three books in the Have A Little Faith series (2005, 2006, 2007), Matthews has contributed to several Forward Movement anthologies, including A Year of Daily Meditations (2011, 2014, 2015, 2016) and Wisdom Found: Stories of Women Transfigured by Faith (2011); and was a frequent contributor to Sacred Journey: The Journal of Fellowship in Faith. Her forthcoming book entitled Dancing from the Inside Out: Grace-filled Reflections on Growing Older (Church Publishing, Fall 2019) is a collection of inspirational essays, three of which have already appeared in print.  Two of the weekly reflections have already been published (e.g., “The Gift That Cannot Be Regifted,” Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, 2017; “Five Little Words,” University of Dayton Magazine, 2017; and “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda,” Episcopal Café, 2018).

A graduate of the spiritual guidance program at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, for the past nine years, she has been an adjunct professor at General Theological Seminary where she teaches contemplative living through “holy listening.” Continuing to break through new barriers, Matthews is the co-author with Rev. Dr. Tommie Watkins Jr.  for A Contemplative Approach to Spirituality and Sexuality (2017).

Matthews recognizes that the legacy of the University of Dayton is intricately connected to the tradition of giving back and service.  As a preacher’s daughter she has carried with her that proud legacy and continues to exemplify those values in her life and work.