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Dr. Larraine R. Matusak
  • International Leadership Association (ILA)
    8601 Georgia Avenue, Suite #1010
    Silver Spring, MD 20910

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“Larraine was part of the package when I met Tom, my spouse. Graduate students at the University of Minnesota, Larraine and her sister, Connie,...Read More »
1 of 6 | Posted by: Alice and Tom Ressler - MN

“So sad to hear of the passing of Larraine. What a wonderful person & neighbor to have. She was a joy to be with. We enjoyed her company &...Read More »
2 of 6 | Posted by: Karin & Bob Schardt - SUN CITY, AZ

“Larraine was a dear friend, a wonderful colleague and an outstanding professional. Both Bob and I have many happy memories of sharing parties on her...Read More »
3 of 6 | Posted by: Robert and Eleanor DeVries

“Larraine was a SPECIAL lady. I met her at different community events, but developed a more one on one relationship when I worked at Lakeview Square...Read More »
4 of 6 | Posted by: Judith Carol Jones (Judi)

“I am so profoundly sad to read of Larraine's passing. She was a remarkable woman, mentor, leader, visionary and scholar. Her wisdom, advice, kindness...Read More »
5 of 6 | Posted by: Teresa Durham - Battle Creek, MI

“So profoundly sad by the loss of Larraine. She was a remarkable woman who I dearly admired. Her book, advice, and thoughtful leadership will forever...Read More »
6 of 6 | Posted by: Teresa Durham - Battle Creek, MI

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Dr. Larraine R. Matusak, of Battle Creek, MI and Sun City, AZ, passed away on March 26, 2021 surrounded by her friends. She was born in Chicago, IL on July 22, 1930 to the late Rose and Ted Matusak. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her sister Nancy, by her beloved Aunt Helen, and by her longtime companion, Constance Patricia "Connie" Julius. She is also survived by friends of many years, Tom and Alice Ressler and family of St Paul, MN, Roger and Cindy Sublett and family of Cincinnati, OH, Cheryl Foster of Kalamazoo, MI, Rich and Lynne Hansen and family from Boston, MA, and Patrick and Karen McDonough from Santa Barbara, CA, and John Edwards and family of Battle Creek, MI.

Following graduation from St. Joseph High School in Chicago, IL in 1948, Larraine entered the Benedictine Convent/Monastery of the Sacred Heart, in Lisle, IL where she lived, taught in schools from first grade through 12th grade, and studied until 1972. That work took her to many different places in the United States to help others.

As a speaker, author, university president, and international leadership expert Larraine Matusak had a profound impact on people's lives around the world. She held a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, MN, and a master's degree in entomology from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She earned her doctorate in higher education administration at Fielding Institute of Graduate Studies, Santa Barbara, California. As early as 1971, Dr. Matusak pioneered the adult alternative baccalaureate degree at the University of Minnesota and also served as a professor of natural sciences at the university. In 1974, she became the first dean of the College of Alternative Programs at the University of Evansville, Evansville, Indiana following which she served as the second president of Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey from 1979 to 1982. In 1982, she became a program officer at the WK Kellogg Foundation where she was the Program Director for the National Fellowship program and then served as a Leadership Scholar, where she led international grant-making efforts. Hailed for her design and direction of the Kellogg National Fellowship Program, a development program for emerging leaders in the early years of their career, Dr. Matusak was the founder of the Kellogg Leadership Scholars Program (KLSP), that brought together scholars and practitioners of leadership for the greater good. She retired from the foundation in 1996 and founded a private consulting firm Larcon Associates, where she was a consultant for many organizations on leadership. Larraine R. Matusak was an innovative scholar and nationally renowned practitioner of leadership, who dedicated her career to the advancement of continuing education. Her commitment to access, choice, and quality of higher educational opportunities for adult learners made her a leader and change agent in her profession for more than 40 years.

Dr. Matusak held many professional appointments with regional and national education organizations. While a Senior Scholar at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland, she also served as graduate advisor and mentor for the Fielding Institute of Graduate Studies in Santa Barbara, California. She was a trustee of the ILA (International Leadership Association); the Leadership Institute, Los Angeles, California; Dia-Logos-Institute for Generative Learning and Collaborative Social Change, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts; BCACSF (Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools Foundation); The Humane Society of Battle Creek, Michigan; and was a past president of the board of SAFE Place and the College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, Minnesota. Additionally, she trained thousands of individuals on alternative approaches to meeting the needs of adults returning to college, as one of the original board members of the Council for Adult Experiential Learning (CAEL). Larraine served as an advisor and keynote speaker to many communities, organizations, businesses, academic institutions, and foundations, including The Blandin Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Lily Endowment, University of Denver, University of Maryland, Marietta College, and the National League of Cities. As an author, Dr. Matusak wrote numerous publications and articles in the field of nontraditional adult education and leadership. Her 1996 book, Finding Your Voice: Learning to Lead…Anywhere You Want To Make A Difference, outlines the knowledge and skills necessary for effective leadership. Noted business expert, former university president, and author Warren Bennis called the book, "… remarkable … the only one I know that focuses on how ordinary citizens can learn to lead."

Dr. Matusak earned recognition from educators, business leaders, nonprofit groups, and community organizations receiving numerous honors for her contributions to adult learning and leadership. Her accolades include the 1974 Outstanding American Educator Award from the Medical College of Augusta, Georgia; the 1996 International Morris T. Keeton Award and several honorary doctorates, including the honorary doctor of humane letters, in recognition of her lifetime of visionary leadership and her steadfast dedication to the field of alternative and adult higher education from the Union Institute and University in 2012. Additionally, she was inducted into the National Adult Educational Hall of Fame in 2013. Importantly, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Leadership Association (ILA) in Barcelona in 2015. Roger Sublett, a friend and former colleague at Kellogg and ILA board member, sums up her contributions well, "Wherever Dr. Matusak has served as a leader in higher education or philanthropy she has transformed organizations and people."
In her private life, Larraine enjoyed music from the symphony and brass band in Battle Creek and Arizona, as well as enjoying her home and friends. One could often find a group of friends at Larraine and Connie's house in Battle Creek, MI as well as in Sun City, AZ cooking on the deck or the lanai. Her home was filled with friends for Christmas, St Patrick's day, and the Fourth of July along with birthday celebrations for Connie around Labor Day.

Cross country travel in the US was important to both Larraine and Connie. They and their dogs took the travel trailer for camping to see

Upcoming Funeral Services

Saturday, May 01
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM    3911088 4002577 20210501T140000 20210501T150000

Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care

105 Capital Ave. N.E. Battle Creek, , MI 49017
(269) 962-5527

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Saturday, May 01
3:00 PM    3911089 4002578 20210501T150000

Dr. Larraine R. Matusak's Service