Where you are right now is where you are meant to be: Words of wisdom from an outstanding graduate

Ian Larsen/Sun Star Reporter
May 1, 2012

In a sea of soon to be college alumni, one man of exceptional scholarship, community involvement and personality is picked from the rest.

Outstanding graduating senior, Matthew Robinson.

Matthew Robinson is the man who fits this description.

Robinson has been chosen by a committee of students and faculty to be the recipient of the Joel Wiegart Outstanding Male Graduate award for 2012.

Robinson was honored at the UAF Annual Student Awards Breakfast for his award. This award recognizes the accomplishments of his college career.

Robinson contributes to athletics and community service.

He was able to maintain excellent grades while taking a full load of classes, graduating with a four-year degree in history in three and a half years. His focus was in environmental studies.

Robinson’s good friend Danny Dicaire met him through the history honors organization Phi Alpha Theta.

One of Robinson’s best personal traits is extreme focus, according to Dicaire.

“If Matt focuses on something he will do it,” Dicaire said. “Matt wrapped up a four-year program in three-and-a-half years, and won the best senior historian award this year as well.”

Robinson’s best characteristic is his ability to listen, Dicaire said. 

“Matt is a listener, he will sit and attentively listen,” Dicaire said. “Whether it’s in class, or you’re hanging out, if you need feedback he will give you honest, no sugar-coated feedback.”

Through listening and feedback, Robinson and Dicaire helped each other overcome obstacles with their theses.

“As young as he is, I don’t feel strange having him proofread my work or to bounce an idea off him,” Dicaire said. “If he hadn’t been sitting there I would have been lost, I would have gotten it eventually, but he guided me, and ended up helping me figure out my topic.”

Dicaire hopes that Robinson’s good nature and traits will rub off on his kids as well, he said.

“I have three kids,” Dicare said. “He has traits that you want to see your kids grow up with, he is focused and has a good head on his shoulders.”

When meeting Robinson for an interview, he was well dressed, wearing a neat button up shirt and carrying a hiking backpack. He talked as though he was talking to a good friend.

As well as being an officer in Phi Alpha Theta, Robinson was once part of the Army ROTC program and the UAF Ranger Challenge Team. He also played intramural hockey during his college career.

Robinson helps the university maintain the ice rink by working with his father, who is manager of the Patty Arena.

He also plays a part in the community’s welfare by being part of the Freemasons chapter in Fairbanks.

“We do a lot of community outreach in the Freemasons,” Robinson said. “Right now we are working on getting a children’s clinic built in Fairbanks.”

On top of extracurricular activities, and helping the community, Robinson maintains a regular student lifestyle.

“This semester I’ve been fortunate, because all my classes are later in the day. For your last semester, that’s the best you can hope for.”  Robinson said. “Basically a typical day for me is getting up, going to class, heading to the library, hanging out, and going home for more homework.”

Robinson currently works for the Department of Fish and Game as a sport fish technician. He loves being able to wake up excited for work, and the people he works with are fantastic, he said.

Robinson’s career goal is to become a pilot in the Air National Guard.

Robinson enjoys fly fishing, fly tying, reading philosophy books and playing hockey.

“The latter half of the school year, all I can think about is fly fishing,” Robinson said. “Especially this time of year, it’s sunny and you’re ready to go fishing. That is what I am battling now with all the schoolwork.”

Terrence Cole’s history class reinforced Robinson’s love of history, and he learned the importance of always bringing a pencil and paper to class.

“One day a kid came to class without a pencil, and Dr. Cole had one of those six foot pencils that you would see in a toy store,” Robinson said. “The person who forgot their pencil had to use that six foot pencil the entire class.”

As a soon to be alumnus, Robinson explained how important it is to maintain a positive attitude, even in unfavorable conditions.

He left a strong message to pass onto the undergrads who are still battling for their degrees.

“We were doing a field training exercise in ROTC with Colonel Patton, it was cold and miserable,” Robinson said. “The colonel said to us ‘Just remember that where you are right now is the place to be.’ That’s something you can carry with you, don’t think about anything else, be in the moment, it makes everything more enjoyable.”

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Stephanie says:

    I really enjoyed ready this article. I know Matt personally and I think you did a great job at conveying his character as well as helping us all to strive for such possibilities! Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *