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April 3, 2007

UMBC’s Isaac Matthews Named Arthur Ashe Jr. 2007 Sports Scholar by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education Magazine

Meyerhoff Scholar Mechanical Engineering Major Honored for Balancing Academics, Athletics and Leadership

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Isaac Matthews
, a senior mechanical engineering major and a four-year track and field letterman at UMBC, has been named the 2007 “Arthur Ashe Jr. Male Sports Scholar of the Year.” The national honor places him on the cover of the April 5 Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine.

Matthews, a native of Oxon Hill, MD, and a graduate of Oxon Hill High School, is a Meyerhoff Scholar at UMBC with a 3.88 G.P.A. He serves as treasurer for UMBC's chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and gives motivational talks to NASA Sharp students. He is well known on campus as a dedicated mentor and tutor to young African-American middle and high school students and as an accomplished cello player.

Matthews will graduate in May with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and has already been accepted to several prestigious engineering graduate programs including MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, Michigan and Illinois.

In the Diverse cover story, he discussed his lifelong quest to shatter stereotypes about black students and the challenges of mentoring the younger generation. “There are more black doctors than there are basketball players, but you don’t see the image… As the numbers increase, as you have more black engineers, professors, that image can be defeated by the numbers,” said Matthews.

LaMont Toliver, director of the Meyerhoff program at UMBC, described Matthews in the Diverse profile as “the prototype for a scholar-athlete… with the potential to be the Paul Robeson of our time. He’s that well rounded.”

David Bobb, head track and field coach at UMBC, said in the same story that Matthews “epitomizes the student-athlete because he always puts academics first.” Matthews’ athletic achievements include finishing seventh in the 2005 America East Indoor Championships 800-meter run, placing eighth in the 2004 America East Outdoor Championships and being named a Toyota Athlete of the Week in 2003.

The Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars awards are given annually by Diverse: Issues in Education magazine to the female and male athletes in America who best combine athletic and academic excellence with community activism. To be included, students have to compete in an intercollegiate sport; maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.2; and be active on their campuses or in their communities. The magazine also ranks teams from around the U.S. in different sports based on their collective GPAs.

Matthews shares the cover of the April 5 issue of Diverse with women’s winner DeCarol Davis, a basketball player with the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. For more information on the awards, visit

Posted by crose at April 3, 2007 8:28 AM