James was previously the assistant dean of intercultural and student affairs at the university.
“Matt is an exceptional leader who has dedicated his professional career to helping advance the goals and objectives of Marshall University,” Area said. “From his time as a student to today, he has been an advocate for student advancement, and I am confident that he will continue that great work with our strong network of alumni around the world.”
A native of Bluefield, West Virginia, James is a two-time graduate of Marshall, graduating cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences in 2009 and earning a master’s degree in school counseling in 2011. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in higher education leadership and administration.
James, a former student body president at Marshall, has served the university in multiple roles since 2009. He has served in his current position as assistant dean of students since 2015. For his work, James has also received numerous recognitions, including being named as one of West Virginia’s Top 40 under 40 by the State Journal in 2022.
Throughout his career, James has been a champion of diversity, equity and inclusion on campus, and has devoted his career to helping students at Marshall succeed. Through that experience, James says he is excited to begin this next chapter as an ambassador for Marshall and looks forward to bringing alumni together for the common goal of advancing the university.
“I’m thrilled to join the MU Foundation team and begin this new journey,” James said. “In my 18 years on campus, as a former student leader and administrator, there has never been a more exciting time to be a member of the Marshall family. With the incredible leadership of President Smith, and the current excitement surrounding athletics, it’s perfect timing to grow our engagement efforts with Herd alumni across the country. I’m confident my experiences and relationships provide me with a unique perspective to succeed as the new executive director of alumni relations.”
James was named to the position after a nationwide search. He will begin in his new role on Oct. 10.
James currently resides in Huntington with his wife, Sara; daughter, Saylor; and two dogs, Chip and Charlie.