Mattia, Tom


Tom Mattia was born in 1948. He grew up in Newark, New Jersey and attended the parochial schools St. Francis Xavier and Essex Catholic. From 1966 to 1970, Mattia attended Rutgers College, where he majored in journalism, played on the fencing team, and pledged in Alpha Chi Rho fraternity. Beginning as a newspaper reporter, he spent his career working globally in communications and public relations. He served as the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Public Affairs and Communications for the Coca-Cola Company, during which time he led Coca-Cola's global water stewardship program. He also served as the Chairman of Edelman China, the Chief Communications Officer of Yale University, the Corporate Vice President of Communications for EDS, Chief Operating Officer of GCI Jennings, and the Interim Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Carnegie Mellon University. He has taught at George Washington University and Rutgers University. He served as chairman of the Peabody Awards Board and helped found the Girls Education Mission. He and his wife Marti, an author and retired public relations professional, endowed a scholarship at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information called the Tom and Marti Mattia Endowed Scholarship for Journalism and Mass Communication.

In Part 1, Tom Mattia discusses his family history, parents' World War II service, childhood experiences growing up in Newark in the North Ward, fencing in high school and at Rutgers, experiences being a contentious objector during the Vietnam War, freshman year at Rutgers College, fraternity life in Alpha Chi Rho, graduation in 1970, the Newark riots of 1967, the student protest movement at Rutgers, drug use during the 1960s, experiences during the National Strike in May 1970, and demonstrating in the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam in Washington, DC in October 1969.

In Part 2, Mattia delves into student life at Rutgers in the 1960s, his experiences being a journalism major and a member of the fencing team, the impact of the draft on the Class of 1970, antiwar activism on campus, the occupation of Old Queens in May 1970, and Class Day activities and Commencement on June 3, 1970. He traces his career, beginning with working a newspaper reporter and then shifting to senior executive positions in communications and public relations at IBM, Hill and Knowlton, GCI Jennings, Ford Motor Company, and EDS.

In Part 3, Mattia begins by discussing his family's immigration history and then continues to trace his career. He relates his experiences working at the Coca-Cola Company as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Public Affairs and Communications and the environmental and water conservation programs instituted at Coca-Cola. He talks about working at Yale University as the Chief Communications Officer, Edelman China as chairman, and Carnegie Mellon University as Interim Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He concludes with discussion of his family and philanthropic work, including the founding of Girl Education Mission to foster educational opportunities for high school-aged women in Africa.

Tom Mattia's oral history is a part of the Class of 1970 Oral History Project to commemorate the class's fiftieth reunion milestone.

Pictured in the photo are Tom and Marti Mattia.