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Longtime Smith School Champion Joe Mattingly Dies at 84

May 27, 2014
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U.S. Army veteran and educator Joseph Guy Mattingly Jr., a professor emeritus and longtime undergraduate director at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, died May 17, 2014, at his home in Annandale, Va. He was 84.

“Joe was a special person who had an affinity for undergraduate students and their needs,” said former Smith School Dean Rudy Lamone, who hired Mattingly as a faculty member in 1972 and quickly appointed him as assistant dean of Undergraduate Studies. “He would meet with students who were angry or frustrated, and they would come out of his office smiling. He was able to calm them down and point them in positive directions.”

Smith alumnus Ron Paul ’78 remembers his experience in Mattingly’s office. Through his membership in Phi Sigma Delta, Paul had volunteered to serve as chairman of an annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The fraternity event, a 72-hour dance marathon called Dance Against Cancer, raised $15,000 the first year, $30,000 the second year and then $40,000 the third year.

“It became like a full-time job for about six months in addition to going to school,” Paul said. “It started interrupting with my ability to take a full load of classes.”

Paul approached Mattingly with a proposal to convert the enterprise into an internship for college credit, and Mattingly agreed. “He recognized the value of having the experience of running this small business,” Paul said. “He just got the message of what it takes to help students prepare for success in the workforce.”

Paul, the founder of a real estate investment firm and chairman of EagleBank in Bethesda, Md., said students learned to revere Mattingly for his guidance. “He gave you his time,” Paul said. “He listened to you.”

Mattingly was born March 24, 1930, in Kentucky and joined the Army right out of high school in 1948. He served for the next 22 years as a Transportation Corps officer in Germany, South Korea, Vietnam and other locations, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1970.

“He sacrificed much to provide dedicated service to our nation by tackling huge logistics challenges for the military all over the world,” said Tom Corsi, the Michelle E. Smith Professor of Logistics and co-director of the Supply Chain Management Center at Smith. “Yet he never let his military obligations diminish his dedication to his family, which remained constant throughout his life.”

Mattingly’s first connection to the University of Maryland came in 1952 during his service in Germany, when he enrolled in an overseas program. He eventually became a triple alumnus of the university, earning a Bachelor of Science in 1958, an MBA in 1966 and Doctor of Business Administration in 1979.

“He was very proud of his doctorate from our business school and dedicated his professional life to our students and his country,” Corsi said. “He will be missed and will always serve as a role model for all Smith School faculty.”

Among his accomplishments, Mattingly inherited an undergraduate program with three student organizations and grew the number to 17 by 1980. Smith Professor Emeritus Jim Bedingfield said the success was partly due to Mattingly’s management style.

“His staff was just crazy about him,” Bedingfield said. “Joe set a standard for administering the undergraduate program in a fair manner that carries on to this day.”

Smith Professor Curt Grimm, the Charles A. Taff Chair of Economics and Strategy, remembers coming to the school in 1982 as a job candidate and meeting Mattingly for an interview. “He had a no-nonsense demeanor that could come across as a little gruff or intimidating,” Grimm said. “But he had a heart of gold under that exterior. He was a generous person with his time and his advice.”

Brian Horick, assistant dean of Undergraduate Studies, said students, staff and colleagues recognized Mattingly for his wisdom, compassion and sense of humor. “I was always amazed at how quickly he could reason through any situation and provide excellent advice or determine an appropriate course of action,” Horick said. “He didn’t always give you the news you wanted to hear, but he provided you the news that you needed to hear.”

As an academic, Mattingly was published extensively and served as co-editor and then sole editor of Defense Transportation Journal from 1979 until 2002. The journal’s publisher, the National Defense Transportation Association, later honored Mattingly with its President’s Award.

The Smith School also honored Mattingly with the Dean’s Lifetime Service Award in 2001. By the time Mattingly retired as a lecturer that same year, his affiliation with the school had spanned nearly 40 years.

“Dr. Mattingly would often say that he didn't care if someone liked him,” Horick said. “He just wanted to be sure that they respected him, and in the end, respect is the word that I think of the most when I think of Dr. Mattingly.”

As a tribute to Mattingly, friends and former associates are invited to share their recollections in the comment section below this article.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.