Now that the 2018-2019 school year has begun, The Partnership for Educational Excellence is wrapping up its mini-biographies of some (12 percent) of its past scholars who have volunteered their information and reflections on the role of post-secondary education in their lives.
The final three bios are a celebration of its three very first scholars. Matt Herman, John Heyen, and Tracy Mathis (in alphabetical order) graduated in 1993. They each received $250 – all that The Partnership could afford – as they set off for college. Today, The Partnership offers $1,000 scholarships, and in 2018 awarded them to 21 Gillespie High School graduates, nearly 30 percent of the graduating class. This education 501(c)3 foundation in Macoupin County CUSD7 has invested nearly $800,000 in district children to date.
Matt Herman graduated from Gillespie High School in 1993, winning a $250 Partnership for Educational Excellence scholarship.
Matt attended the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana (UIUC) where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. He then earned an MSE (master’s degree) from Purdue University in electrical/biomedical engineering. After acquiring his professional engineering license, Matt obtained an MBA in 2003 and then a master’s degree in finance in 2009, both from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
Today, Matt works as director of manufacturing engineering for Smith & Nephew, a global medical technology business. He explains: “I lead a wide range of technical and business functions to support the company’s product development and production processes in the manufacture of medical devices for soft tissue repair and ablation.”
In addition, “I drive the new product transfer process to facilitate faster and more robust product introductions; implement higher quality, faster and lower cost production techniques for a facility with 1,300 staff members in a 24-hour operation; serve as senior member of the plant leadership team with personnel and organizational development responsibilities,” he says.
During his free hours, “I spend the majority of my time with my wife and two daughters,” says Matt.
As to the role of post-secondary education in his life, he says: “It’s the game changer with respect to quality of life and building wealth opportunities.”
And although his $250 scholarship from The Partnership was quite modest, even in the 1993 economy, Matt says the award “absolutely” helped his family. “Given the cost of education, I did not know how I was going to end up paying for college costs. This money, ROTC, a student government tuition waiver, part-time employment during school and full-time jobs during summers” combined to make his education possible, he says, “though I still left school with a fair amount of debt.”
Matt is the son of Jerry and Vy Herman of Charleston, Illinois.
For information or to donate: www.thepartnership7.org or The Partnership, P.O. Box 125, Gillespie IL 62033.