‘G.J.’ Mattey Receives Charles P. Nash Prize

Portrait photo
G.J. Mattey

George “G.J.” Mattey, a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, is the newest member of the campus community to be forever linked with the late Charlie Nash over their shared commitment to shared governance.

Mattey recently received the Charles P. Nash Prize, an annual award honoring members of the Academic Federation, Academic Senate and Davis Faculty Association who emulate Nash in the way he fostered the culture of shared governance that is central to the UC Davis community and advocated for the welfare of faculty, staff and students across the university.         

Professor Nash had a near-50-year affiliation with UC Davis, starting with his faculty appointment in chemistry in 1957 and continuing after he took emeritus status in 1993. His family and colleagues established the Nash Prize in 2008, a year after his death.

Mattey is a member of the Academic Senate, in which he has distinguished himself as a knowledgeable and impartial source of information regarding bylaws and procedures. In nominating Mattey for the Nash Prize, 14 members of the philosophy faculty cited his service as chair of the Davis Division’s Committee on Elections, Rules and Jurisdiction (2008-12), explaining that the committee has “significant responsibility … involving substantial research, deliberation and presentation of findings that affect a wide variety of faculty and student concerns and activities.”

Mattey went on to serve as chair of the same committee at the systemwide level from 2012 to 2013 and remains an at-large member of that committee. He has been secretary-parliamentarian of the UC Senate Assembly since 2013.

“We would be hard-pressed to find a faculty member with a greater understanding of the functioning of the Academic Senate, and, accordingly, its role in shared governance,” said his nominators.

Mattey has held multiple terms as a representative to the Davis Division’s Representative Assembly, and he’s a former chair of the division’s Committee on Courses of Instruction (1997-99). He also served for five years as chair of the Faculty of Letters and Science Committee on Courses of Instruction, and one year as chair of the L&S Honors Committee.

In 2014, he served on a five-member workgroup convened to provide guidelines for the implementation of the Step Plus system for lecturers with security of employment and provided additional guidance including suggested revisions to the Academic Personnel Manual, recruitment, salary structure and job expectations for lecturers with security of employment.

Mattey began his career at UC Davis in 1977 as an acting assistant professor of philosophy and advanced to associate professor in 1984. In 1992 he moved to lecturer with security of employment, and in 1999 advanced to senior lecturer with security of employment.

His philosophy colleagues describe him as “easily the most versatile and dedicated teacher in the department” and indicate that “his judicious advice and counsel have been enormously valuable for the present and previous department chairs.” His colleagues also note that his “willingness to give selflessly of his time for a student’s benefit has been duly recorded in his evaluations and unsolicited notes of appreciation.”

The program for the Nash Prize dinner included this statement: “Dr. Mattey’s careerlong and resolute commitment to service at UC Davis has undoubtedly affected the working lives of many faculty, staff and students for the better.

“His uncompromising dedication to ensuring that the machinery of shared governance continues to function efficiently and fairly for everyone is quite evident. These actions embody the legacy and the spirit of Charles Nash, and we congratulate Dr. Mattey on this well-deserved honor.”

 Dateline UC Davis