Q: What was it that drew you to the opportunity at St. Cloud State?
A: After working in advertising for some time, I transitioned into higher education working in advancement — as an Associate Vice President for development and alumni programs for Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, my hometown. I was there for seven years and I was interested in moving up into a leadership position. I’d get inquiries all the time from various recruiters, and this one came my way. The headline caught my attention. It said, “In St. Cloud, Minnesota, they have two seasons: summer and hockey.” So I read on and it intrigued me.
The community of students that St. Cloud State serves reminded me so much of my own journey as a first-generation college student. I saw this as an opportunity to build something. It was really the mission and the kind of students being served by St. Cloud State that motivated me.
Q: What were the challenges you encountered as you prepared for the “Unleash the Future” campaign?
A: The challenges are too numerous to mention them all, but one of the first things I sensed and understood here was that, the institution itself suffered from a lack of what I’ll call institutional self esteem. Faculty, other leaders, coaches — I don’t think they necessarily believed that their academic program or sport was worthy of a $1 million gift. So I think one of the challenges was that we had to help the St. Cloud State community believe it was worth major investment from our donors. That’s a really important thing; you have to really believe you’re worth it to convey that kind of confidence to a donor.
Another challenge is that it had been over 20 years since the last campaign so in many respects we were starting all over again.
Q: What excites you about the future of philanthropy at St. Cloud State?
A: As I conclude my time here, we are preparing and completing our strategic plan, which will guide the Foundation through its work over the next five years. The state of Minnesota, as with all states across the country, is not investing in its higher education systems in the way that it once did a generation or more ago. And there are a lot of reasons for that, but institutions like St. Cloud State have to seize control of their destiny, independent from whatever the state of Minnesota decides to invest in us. That means more and more private resources will need to be raised in order to meet and further our educational mission and our service to the students and, by extension, to the state of Minnesota. So I see philanthropy growing increasingly more important to the work being done at St. Cloud State.
Q: How do you want your time at St. Cloud State to be remembered?
A: I think all of us in any organization or any institution are really just momentary stewards of their institution or organization. I don’t expect that my name will be recalled 10 years from now. That’s not why I’m here. What I hope is that the Foundation — what I’ve left, and the energy and the movement toward a new era of philanthropy, a new way of thinking about it — those things will have been cemented and they will last, and that the success of the people who come in the decade after me and following that, they will benefit from the foundational things I’ve put in place that have created a shift in the philanthropic culture.
Q: What’s next for you and your family?
A: Nancy and I recently became grandparents to our first — a boy, Everett August Andrew, born to my son Alex and his wife Jordan who live outside of D.C. I think I’m going to look for ways that I can remain relevant and still contribute — probably somewhere within the realm of the philanthropic landscape. I also envision opportunities for travel and taking time to be with family and friends, and embrace the joyous things in life.
Alumni and friends who wish to honor Matt’s service to St. Cloud State are encouraged to make a gift to the Matt and Nancy Andrew Endowed Study Abroad Scholarship at www.stcloudstate.edu/impact