Intuitive Entrepreneur George Matthews Dies

February 1, 2024 – George J. Matthews died on January 11, 2024. Mr. Matthews was an energetic and fearless entrepreneur, owning and managing a number of companies during his lifetime, most recently, The Registry. “George was a highly skilled and intuitive businessman with good values and a strong moral compass,” said Scott A. Scanlon, CEO of Hunt Scanlon Ventures. “He was also a tough and savvy negotiator as we experienced first-hand during the course of working through the sale of his company to ZRG six months ago. George was a larger than life figure and I am sure that a tremendous void has been left in his wake.”

At the Registry, an agency that places interim executives with colleges and universities, he worked alongside his son, Kevin, who now serves as The Registry’s CEO. Since 1992, The Registry has helped colleges and universities across the U.S. and abroad during times of transition with experienced and diverse interim leaders. The firm has recorded 1,200 placements at over 500 institutions of all types.

“The Registry is the nation’s top firm providing the best-matched interim solutions to institutions of higher learning, especially colleges and universities that are going through challenging transitions,” said Larry Hartmann, CEO of ZRG. “The Registry has placed more senior interim leaders on campuses across the nation than any other organization during the past three decades. The firm initiated and accelerated a new trend in American higher education: the utilization of outside interim presidents.”

Mr. Matthews was also founding owner of the United States Football League and a co-owner of the USFL’s Boston Breakers football team. During his career, he served on many boards during his career. Mr. Matthews joined the Northeastern University board of trustees in the 1980s. During his tenure, he led the effort to renovate the former Northeastern Arena (originally known as Boston Arena). The university renamed the arena the George J. & Hope M. Matthews arena in honor of Mr. Matthews and his first wife.

In 1989, he was elected chairman of the board of trustees, serving in that position for 10 years. His leadership transformed Northeastern from a regional institution to a nationally-ranked university. Mr. Matthews was instrumental in the university, establishing the Center for the Study of Sports in Society. For his service, the university honored George with its highest honor, granting him an honorary doctorate of humanities in 1986. The university’s most prestigious faculty and student awards, the Matthews’ Distinguished Professor and the Distinguished Scholar Awards, were named for Mr. Matthews and his wife, Kathleen Waters Matthews.

For Mr. Matthews’ support of the university’s athletic programs, including women’s athletics, he was inducted into the Northeastern Athletic Hall of Fame. Mr. Matthews joined forces with Mikhail Gorbachev to establish the Gorbachev Foundation of North America, which is dedicated to “the triumph of humanism and justice” in the world.

Mr. Matthews was also co-founder and member of the Club of Madrid, a resource center for democracy, whose one-hundred-plus members are all former prime ministers or presidents of their respective countries. He served as a senior fellow of the Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies at Trinity College of Oxford University, U.K.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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