Remembering Richard: Dr. Richard Mattingly, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Emeritus Dean of Faculty (1938-2018)

On Tuesday, April 3, Westminster lost one of its legends, Dr. Richard Mattingly, who served the College for nearly 35 years as Professor of Philosophy, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dean of Faculty. Richard’s contributions to Westminster College were immeasurable, and he touched the lives of countless faculty, staff, and students. He will be deeply missed by us all.

Joining the College in 1966, Richard taught Philosophy for his first eleven years, then served as Dean of Faculty and Vice President for eighteen years.  He returned to the head up the Philosophy Department for five years before retiring in 2000. As Dean, Richard helped bring co-education to Westminster and was instrumental in the adoption of a new general education program, the compilation of a complete Faculty Handbook, and the College’s commitment to faculty development. During his tenure, the College established a more formalized sabbatical program, created a fund to support faculty development, and encouraged faculty members to participate in professional meetings and share their research.

With a background and interest in engineering and architecture, Mattingly was actively involved in the design and construction of Hunter Activity Center and the renovation of the west side of Reeves Library. Through his many contributions and initiatives, he helped define the physical and academic environment of the College. Phyllis Masek, who has served as the Registrar for many deans over the years, commented, “Richard spent many hours supervising the many construction projects around campus and was even presented with a hard hat for his own safety.  He was very aware of everything, and I mean everything, that was going on, but he especially liked the construction projects.  He also liked to make certain that the grounds looked perfect and could be caught pulling weeds in his spare time.”

Richard’s kindness, patience, and steady hand kept the College moving forward throughout his many years. As Bob Seelinger says, “Richard was a dear friend and mentor to so many of us, and his contributions and impact on the college community were enormous.  In so many ways the college physically, conceptually, and organizationally was shaped by Richard’s vision and ability to get things accomplished.” 

Richard was also an avid photographer of landscapes and wildflowers, and he traveled throughout the United States with his wife, Susan, hiking and taking photographs. He was active in the Fulton community and continued to support Westminster throughout his retirement years.

A brief gathering will be held during Alumni Weekend—hosted by two of Richard’s fellow deans, Bob Seelinger and Carolyn Perry—at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 20, in the Coulter Atrium (just following Bill Guinee’s retirement reception). The family will hold a memorial service for Richard on Saturday, April 28th at 2:00 pm at the Church of St. Mary, Aldermanbury. Dr. Bill Young will conduct the service. Condolences can be mailed to Susan Mattingly at 2333 Chapel Hill Road #116, Columbia, MO 65203 or brought to either gathering.