The Mathews Medal recognizes graduating seniors who have made NC State a better place.
Matt Traenkle ’21 was named one of four 2021 Mathews Medal recipients. Named in honor of Walter J. Mathews — the first student to arrive on the campus of the North Carolina School of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in October 1889 — the Mathews Medal recognizes graduating seniors who have served as student leaders and created a lasting legacy at NC State.
For Matt Traenkle ’21, leadership will be a legacy. “Matt exemplifies the Park Scholarships program’s pillars of scholarship, leadership, character, and service,” explained Dana Dubis, Park Scholarships Assistant Director for Development. “Matt is always one of the first Park Scholars to raise his hand to offer assistance when a need arises.”
As co-chair of the Park Philanthropy Council, Traenkle helped raise $765,000 for the Park Scholarships program from alumni and students during the 2019 and 2020 NC State Day of Giving campaigns, inspiring a culture of giving. He managed one of NC State’s signature traditions, the Krispy Kreme Challenge, raising $175,000 for UNC Children’s Hospital.
“Matt’s leadership as a race director for the Krispy Kreme Challenge highlighted his commitment to the NC State community. A true team player, Matt valued each member of the organization’s input, from first-years to his co-directors, and recognized the importance of creating a strong culture to continue this race long after he graduates,” said Elise Romola ’21, Traenkle’s peer and co-race director for the Krispy Kreme Challenge.
As vice president and engagement manager for the NC State chapter of Consult Your Community, Matt helped select and manage diverse student teams to solve problems for local businesses. “It’s not very often I have undergraduate students take personal responsibility for creating more inclusive practices,” shared Tayah Butler, Director of Diversity and Inclusion in the Poole College of Management. “I am very impressed with Matt’s dedication and intrinsic motivation to help the organization achieve a stronger position.”
“Matt has made it a priority to help students create community with each other, helping NC State advance inclusion and well-being to enhance excellence,” explained Park Scholarships Director Eva Feucht ’02. “Matt has made many efforts to help students build relationships with each other, in an inclusive, caring way. Even during the pandemic, he’s continued to thoughtfully provide ways for students to connect.”
He has served as an ambassador for Park Scholarships and the College of Engineering, as well as the philanthropy chair for Beta Theta Pi, a fraternity dedicated to mutual assistance, intellectual growth, trust, responsible conduct, and integrity. “Matt has always worked towards not only living these values in his everyday life, but also leading with these values,” said Mindy Sopher, Beta Theta Pi academic advisor. “His scholarly and service efforts are outstanding examples of his putting values into action.”