David Mathews is president of the Kettering Foundation, a nonprofit research foundation rooted in the American tradition of invention. Prior to his work with the foundation, Mathews served as secretary of health, education and welfare in the Ford administration.
From 1965 to 1980, he taught history at the University of Alabama, where he also served as president from 1969 to 1980. Mathews earned an A.B. degree in history and classical Greek. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Alabama, he received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. Mathews has served on the boards of a variety of organizations, currently including the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, National Issues Forums Institute, Southern Institute on Children and Families, and Public Agenda. He has received numerous awards, and in 2007, the Alabama Center for Civic Life was renamed in his honor. He is also the recipient of 17 honorary degrees.
Mathews has written extensively on Southern history, public policy, education, and international problem solving. His books include “Politics for People: Finding a Responsible Public Voice,” “Reclaiming Public Education by Reclaiming Our Democracy,” and “The Ecology of Democracy: Finding Ways to Have a Stronger Hand in Shaping Our Future.” Mathews is married to Mary Chapman Mathews, and they have two daughters and six grandchildren.