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Matthews Honored with Outstanding Alumni Award at Arts and Sciences Banquet

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 01:47pm

Ronald E. Matthews, left, an alumnus of the USM School of Construction and Design, is congratulated by Erich Connell, director of the school, for being named recipient of the USM College of Arts and Sciences's 2019 Outstanding Alumni Award.

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) College of Arts and Sciences held its first faculty, staff, and alumni awards banquet on May 2 and recognized Ronald E. Matthews, class of 1988, as the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Alumni Award for his extraordinary contributions to the field of construction management.

Matthews was born in Tylertown, Mississippi, and grew up in Summit, where he graduated from high school in 1984 before attending USM. He completed a B.S. in Construction Engineering Technology in 1988 and a minor in Architectural Engineering Technology.  After graduation, he began his career at Hensel Phelps Construction, one of the largest construction companies in the United States. 

Employed in the health care division, Mathews worked on hospital and healthcare facilities in the Jackson area before joining the McDonald's Restaurant Corporation, one of the largest developers in the world. He later served as regional vice president for construction with McDonald's, overseeing international construction projects.

School of Construction and Design Director Erich Connell credited Matthews's appreciation for people as part of what has made him so successful as a construction manager.

“Mr. Matthews shows our current students what is possible, and reminds the faculty and staff of their impact on each student's future,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Chris Winstead. “We appreciate his continuing engagement with Southern Miss and our School of Construction and Design.”

After leaving McDonald's, Matthews founded Pinnacle Contracting Group, with offices in Ft. Worth, Texas, and Metairie, Louisiana.  He has returned to his alma mater to serve on the School of Construction and Design Industry Advisory Council.
The College also honored faculty and staff for their recent achievements in applied and scholarly research, creative activity, teaching, advising and mentoring, and service. “It's important that we stop every so often and honor those faculty and staff whose service, teaching, and research accomplishments are having transformative effects on the lives of our students, and are making a national and international impact in their fields,” said Dean Winstead.

Award recipients include:

*Applied Research Award
Dr. Vijay Rangachari
School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

*Creative Research Award
Dr. Marcos Machado
School of Music

*Scholarly Research Award
Dr. Weihua Zhou
School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering

*Faculty Advising and Mentoring Award
Dr. Charles Scheer
School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security
Dr. Alan Shiller
School of Ocean Science and Engineering

*Junior Faculty Award
Dr. Rebecca Tuuri
School of Humanities

*Faculty Service Award
Dr. Jeanne Gillespie
School of Social Science & Global Studies

*Tenure-Track Teaching
Dr. Laura Gulledge
School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security

*Teaching-Track Teaching
Dr. Johnathan Hugh Broome
School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

*Staff Service Award
Petra Lamb
School of Social Science & Global Studies

For information about the USM College of Arts and Sciences, visit