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Seventh Principal / Seventh President
1900 - 1904 / 1904-1930
President Matthews brought 30 years of progress to the Tempe Normal School/Arizona State Teachers College at Tempe. Prior to Arizona statehood, the Normal School of Arizona enrolled high school students when no other secondary educational facilities in the state existed. It was Principal Matthews who was instrumental in changing the school to an all-college student status. He initiated a building schedule that included the state's first dormitories. Of the 18 buildings constructed under his tenure, six are still in use. Matthews' legacy of an "evergreen campus" with the importation of many shrubs and trees, including the planting of Palm Walk, continues today with the establishment of ASU Arboretum.
Matthews also saw to it that the Tempe Normal School of Arizona was an accredited institution outside the state. He served on numerous national educational boards, bringing recognition to the campus and its faculty. On March 20, 1911 a historical event occurred when former President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Tempe Normal School of Arizona, and spoke from the steps of Old Main. He had dedicated the Roosevelt Dam the day before and was impressed with the people and their state. He noted that construction of the dam would benefit central Arizona's growth and that of the Tempe Normal School.