Toward Fairness & Inclusiveness

Gift supports reporting on issues of diversity and tolerance by establishing endowed presidential scholarship

Mattia Banner

Journalism alumna Marti Boone Mattia (B.J. ’77) recognizes the important role journalism plays in addressing issues of diversity, gender, sexual equality and tolerance.  

At a time of increasing public attention on these issues, she said that good reporting can help Americans understand diverse perspectives in order to make informed, compassionate decisions.

“The best reporting has forced me to look at our country as a whole and at myself as an individual and to question what role I unwittingly play in creating and permitting unfairness, often through plain ignorance,” she said. “I’m grateful for this reporting. It isn’t comfortable, but I believe it’s good, and can move us all toward the kind of country that is both fair and representative, which is what Americans hold dear.” 

In order to help further reporting on these issues, Marti and her husband Thomas Mattia have created an endowed presidential scholarship in the Moody College of Communication School of Journalism through a $50,000 gift. This scholarship is intended to highlight the importance of inclusiveness and to support Journalism students dedicated to reporting on diversity issues.

“I was worried about the world and its commitment to the role of media and telling the truth,” Marti said. “I want students to have the opportunity to study and focus on fairness among all groups of people. In particular, we hope that students applying for the scholarship will be interested in reporting on diversity issues related to the LGBTQ community.”

Her husband Tom Mattia, a storied public relations executive, earned a journalism degree from Rutgers University and studied marketing at Duke University. He has led communications for two Fortune 50 companies and two major universities and served as the board chairman of the Peabody Awards.

Marti and Tom have three kids and remain active in the world of journalism and public relations. Together, they started the Girls Education Mission, a small foundation dedicated to helping impoverished girls stay in school, primarily in Tanzania and Kenya. Marti also serves on the boards of Meds for Africa and the Kapadia Education Foundation.

Marti holds an MFA from Pacific University. Her first book, “Conversations with George Bush: Beyond Polls and Partisanship – Real Life in the USA,” published in 2005, explores the polarization of America by examining the lives of everyday individuals linked by a single fact: they share their name with the 43rd president of the United States.

“We need to do better,” Marti said. “One necessary step will be to improve media diversity and increase reporting on issues of gender and sexual equality, particularly the challenges of gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and queer individuals, with the goal of improving fairness and quality of life across the board.  Our scholarship is a tiny contribution, but I believe Moody College can be a change maker in this arena, and I’m proud to be part of that.”

The University Of Texas System Board Of Regents established the Endowed Presidential Scholarship Program in 1973 to provide merit-based scholarships to outstanding upper-division students. The scholarship program allows the donor to specify whether the scholarship be University-wide or designated to a specific college and/or school and may also impose preferences of program criteria.

Lauren Phillips
Public Affairs Representative