James Randel “Randy” Matson ’67, long-time fundraiser and Olympic gold medalist, retired in January from the Texas A&M Foundation as senior philanthropic officer.
His efforts at the Foundation centered on major gift fundraising and helping former students and friends fulfill their charitable giving goals. In this role, he contributed to the success ofÂ One Spirit One Vision, the university’s $1 billion capital campaign. To date, the seven-year campaign has raised more than $1.4 billion.
Matson, a BBA marketing graduate, redefined the sport of shot put in the 1960s and 70s. When he was just a freshman at Texas A&M, he took the silver medal in shot put at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Another highlight in 1965 came when he set the world record for shot put at the age of 19â€”70 feet, 7 3â„4 inches at a meet on Kyle Field. Two years later Matson broke his own world record with a heave of 71 feet, 5 1â„2 inches. In 1967 Matson received the Sullivan Awardâ€”the highest award given to an amateur athlete in the United States. And in 1968 he became the Olympic gold champion shot putter in the Mexico City games.
He began his Texas A&M fundraising career in 1972 as director of the annual fund for The Association of Former Students and served as the association’s executive director for 20 years. During his tenure, the annual fund grew from $1.75 million to $5.5 million. He oversaw construction of the Clayton W. Williams Jr. Alumni Center and establishment of the Bonfire Relief Fund following the bonfire collapse in 1999. Matson was named Outstanding Alumnus of Mays Business School in 1998 and a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University in 2001. He retains the title of executive director emeritus of The Association of Former Students. Matson joined the Texas A&M Foundation in 2003.
“I consider myself blessed to have had the opportunity to attend Texas A&M University and represent this school through track and field,” Matson said. “My time with The Association of Former Students and the Texas A&M Foundation has been very rewardingâ€”it’s the way I chose to give back to Texas A&M and I certainly will miss my work here.”
Matson and his wife of 40 years, Margaret, have three children: Jessica ’91, Jim ’93, and Cole ’96, and six grandchildren.
Categories: Former Students