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Staff Excellence - Presidential Award of Excellence

By Carrie Sherman
September 23, 2009    

Matty Leighton
Administrative assistant Matty Leighton in front of Murkland Hall where her father, Professor Charles Leighton, taught for 38 years. Perry Smith, Photo Services

In the 1960s, Matty Leighton “grew up all over campus.”  Her mom worked in several departments at UNH, and her father was a professor of Spanish and humanities for 38 years.

An alum, Leighton earned her BA in English in 1984. She returned to Durham in 2003, after many years in Colorado, to care for her father during his final year and a half. She also took a position with the department of family studies.

“While I was working in the department, I got interested in family studies,” says Leighton, who is now pursuing her master’s degree in child advocacy and family policy.

Leighton has also become an important resource for students, faculty, colleagues, and visitors. Whether she’s helping a student find a roommate, promoting graduate studies, or keeping complex accreditation reviews on track, she works with energy, talent, and precision.

“Matty is a skilled and innovative administrator who is a valued member of the department of family studies,” says Corinna Jenkins Tucker, associate professor of family studies and graduate coordinator. “For example, her public relations work regarding our new offerings has resulted in several applicants to our graduate program.”

In 2006, Leighton joined the Operating Staff Council and became an advocate for issues of equity, fairness, and improved working conditions. She is now the council’s chair, and serves on the President’s Steering Committee for Strategic Planning.

In 2008, she attended a diversity-training program that is inspiring her work on diversity initiatives across campus.

With great compassion, Leighton coordinates her department’s contributions to the Cornucopia Thanksgiving Food Baskets and the Adopt a Family/Wildcat Santa programs. The department’s offerings exceed the minimum requests, and Leighton makes sure the presentation is attractive as well.

“My connection to UNH is a family one. I am excited to make my own contribution here,” says Leighton. “I have a strong sense of place and, like my dad, I feel that both Durham and UNH are special.”


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