Photograph Courtesy of Jason Masters and Little Rock Soirée Magazine
One Westminster couple first met at the Oaklawn Race Track in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and they have been a winning combination ever since.
Although Matt Finch ’97 ΣΧ says he knows nothing about picking horses, when an old friend introduced him to Casey Sparkman ’97 KKΓ at the track in 1992, he knew he had picked a winner for a lifetime companion.
Both have gone on to be highly successful in both their professional and personal lives. Matt is a partner in the prestigious Little Rock law firm of Gill Ragon Owen, Pennsylvania, and Casey owns a unique gift boutique which has been in business for 35 years called The Full Moon. The couple has two daughters, Bailey and Libby, and a son, Reese.
Most recently, Matt and Casey Finch made local news for their highly successful fundraiser to help the Fillmore campus of Methodist Family Health, a residential treatment facility for Arkansas CARES, a three-month drug and alcohol treatment program for pregnant women or mothers with children 12-years-old or younger.
They co-chaired a Derby Day soiree called Southern Silks complete with ladies’ hats, hobby horses, mint juleps and Hot Browns, which is a baked, open-faced turkey-and-bacon sandwich with a Mornay sauce that is served in Louisville, Kentucky, the headquarters for the famous race.
Through donations and a live and silent auction at the event, the Finchs had set a goal of raising $127,000, the amount needed to remodel three of the kitchens in the cottages on the home’s campus and buy new appliances for each of them. The evening was so successful they raised over $140,000, the largest amount in the event’s history.
When asked what is the largest source of pride in their lives, both say family, followed by career.
Matt is President, shareholder, and director of his law firm and has been recognized as a “Mid-South Rising Star” by Super Lawyers, one of Arkansas’s “Best Lawyers,” and a “40 Under 40” honoree by a statewide publishing group. Casey’s lifelong dream was to own her boutique, and she has been recognized as “A Woman to Watch” by local Little Rock magazine Little Rock Soiree.
Both were quite involved in campus activities during their years at Westminster. Matt was a member of the Skulls of Seven, Junior Class President, Public Relations Chair and Vice President of Sigma Chi, and played football as a senior on the first football team Westminster fielded in almost 60 years. Casey was a PR Chair and Representative for Student Government, Intramural Chair and Representative at Camp Minnawanca, a member of the Margaret Thatcher Visit Committee, a French tutor at the local elementary school, and Recruitment Chair for her sorority.
And both had quite a bit to say about their beloved alma mater:
How did Westminster help you in your life and career?
Matt: Having a liberal arts educational background not only prepared me for my law school studies, but having a background in numerous disciplines is a great advantage in dealing with the various businesses we represent on a daily basis. The interpersonal and leadership development Westminster gave me has also been critical in creating opportunities to lead and serve within my law firm and the community.
Casey: Westminster gave me the broad educational background that I can fall back on every day. Owning my own retail business, I have to use accounting, marketing, public relations, economics, personal communications, and sometimes, even my French!
What is your favorite Westminster memory?
Matt: There are too many great memories made with my brothers in the Sigma Chi house to list, but being co-captain for the final football game of the season and celebrating the overtime win (and a piece of a conference championship) afterward with my teammates is a moment I’ll never forget and always cherish. Footnote: Thanks to overtime, I was on the field for two coin tosses but only play the entire game!
Casey: One of my favorite Westminster memories is the great snowstorm of ’95, I believe. The school was closed for several days, and we were all going stir crazy inside. There was a campus-wide football game in two feet of snow!
Do you recommend Westminster to prospective college students?
Matt: Absolutely! So much of education and business is being specialized and mass produced and delivered thanks to technology, but what is easily lost is the personal touch. Westminster’s size and curriculum allows their graduates to enter the next phase of their career and life with not only the technical skills to succeed but also the interpersonal and well-rounded abilities to lead!
Casey: I would definitely recommend Westminster to prospective students! With a daughter who is about to start looking at schools, I can relay to her the impact Westminster had on me. The small class sizes, the involved professors and advisors, and the opportunity to take part in many different activities will help any student grow educationally and socially. Having a balanced college life is so important, and I believe Westminster fosters that.