It is my sad duty to notify the VIU community of the loss of one of its
long-time members, Mike Matthews of the English department.
Mike died on Saturday, February 25, after a brief struggle with lung cancer,
having been admitted to Emergency only on February 8. Mike leaves behind his
wife Carol, who has strong connections of her own to Malaspina/VIU having
served as one of our deans, and their daughter Alison, who has also taught
for us a few years ago. Mike was 74.
Mike Matthews joined Malaspina College at the old Kennedy Street campus in
1970, a year after it opened. Over the years until his retirement, Mike
taught hundreds of students their college composition, or Canadian
literature, or both in the Arts One program. This man kept students engaged
the old-fashioned ways: through passion for his subjects, gusto, and not a
little dash of theatricality. Mike would walk into a classroom carrying his
trademark music stand as a portable lectern, and if you walked by that
classroom you would hear Mike in full flight. No technology required; in
fact, Mike's struggles with technology are a legend unto themselves.
In those early days of the College, Mike helped to develop the department's
expertise in and connections to Canadian literature and writers, and he
helped develop the community through literary and theatrical productions and
performances. After his retirement, Mike returned to teach a few courses for
the English department, and he also got involved in the ElderCollege
I am sure many of you have a memory of Mike Matthews - I know I have
several. Many are posted on a blog that Carol maintained over the past few
Carol and Alison are still in the planning stages of a memorial to Mike,
sometime later in March. Also, I believe there are already discussions to
create a scholarship for students in Mike's memory. I will provide further
details as I receive them.
My thoughts go out to Carol and Alison. This is, indeed, a loss.
Steven M. Lane, Ph.D.
Academic Planning and Aboriginal Initiatives
Vancouver Island University
900 Fifth Street
CANADA V9R 5S5