Tom Mattia RC ’70 and his wife, Marti Mattia, are a dynamic duo who are longtime SC&I supporters. A Jersey boy from Newark, Tom was the first in his family to attend college, an opportunity made possible thanks to his father’s union job. He put his Rutgers education to excellent use throughout his impressive career, exemplifying the university’s tagline: “Jersey Roots, Global Reach.”
After earning his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Rutgers College in 1970, Tom worked briefly as a newspaper reporter before moving into the field of communications and public relations. He held top positions at Yale University, Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Co., Edelman China, EDS, GCI Jennings, among others. He also taught at The George Washington University and, from 2016 – 2020, was a senior lecturer at SC&I, teaching a graduate seminar in transmedia storytelling. In June 2020, Assistant Director of the Rutgers Oral History Archives Kathryn Tracy Rizzi interviewed Tom for the Rutgers Oral History Archives, capturing his memories for posterity; it makes for fascinating reading.
Marti earned her BJ from the University of Texas at Austin and her MFA from Pacific University. Following a career in journalism and corporate PR, she has dedicated herself to writing projects including essays, poetry, fiction, and a book of oral histories. She currently is working on both a screenplay and a novel while Tom has embarked on playwriting.
Together, the Mattias have three children and remain active in their professional and philanthropic spheres. They have endowed scholarships for first-generation students at SC&I and UT Austin and are longtime supporters of Kapadia Education Foundation, for which Marti served on the board of directors for over a decade. She also founded the Girls Education Mission, a small foundation dedicated to assisting impoverished girls primarily in Tanzania and Kenya stay in school.
Recently, they donated $25,000 to Scarlet Promise Grants, a program that provides financial aid and emergency support to university students for whom a Rutgers education otherwise would be impossible. In a fortuitous overlap of their past lives, Tom served as the chief communications officer at Yale while Jonathan Holloway was dean at Yale College. When Holloway assumed the role of president at Rutgers, he kick-started a $10 million focused campaign for the Scarlet Promise Grants program on his first day in office (July 1, 2020). This resonated with Tom.
“I hold Jonathan in very high regard, and I believe that one of Rutgers’ great strengths is its position to help give a great education to families who are experiencing that for the first time. Both President Holloway and [SC&I Dean] Jonathan Potter are exceptional leaders and should be supported. We’re happy that this donation does that and helps the students in New Jersey.”
Before their most recent gift, the Mattias established the Tom and Marti Mattia Endowed Scholarship in Journalism and Mass Communications, open to first-generation Journalism and Media Studies majors who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and financial need. They also helped renovate the entry foyer at the School of Communication & Information located on the College Avenue campus.
“It’s all about paying forward,” said Tom. “Now that we’ve lived out our professional lives, Marti and I are fortunate to be in a position to help. I encourage others who can to do so.”