Roy Mathis - PhotoRetired Chaplain and Minister Roy N. Mathis of Gaffney will be recognized on Thursday, May 8, with an Honorary Doctoral Degree from Limestone College.

Affectionately known as “Colonel Roy,” Mathis is highly active in local community and service organizations, and will be honored by Limestone particularly for his years of service on the Board of Trustees, including a period as Chairman of the Board.

The Honorary Doctor of Public Service Degree will be bestowed upon Mathis during Thursday’s Day Program commencement exercises that begin at 4 p.m. at Fullerton Auditorium.

A native of the Goucher community in rural Cherokee County, Mathis (pictured with this article) graduated from Clemson University in 1957, and received a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1966. He pastored churches in Texas and Arkansas before entering active duty with the U.S. Army in 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War.

For thirty years and as Command Chaplain of more than five hundred chaplains in Training and Doctrine Command, Reverend Mathis served at installations throughout the United States, Vietnam, Turkey, and Germany. Among his many leadership positions within the military, he served as Executive Officer for the Chief of Army Chaplains in the Pentagon.  He retired from the Army in 1992 with the rank of Colonel.

In 2012, he published a book about his experiences in the Vietnam War entitled, It Was a Long Time Ago and A Long Way From Home, but God Was There. 

Reverend Mathis’ military distinctions include the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, six Meritorious Service Medals, two Air Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, four Vietnam Campaign Medals, a Foreign Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, two Army Overseas Medals, the National Defense Medal, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Department of Army Staff Identification Badge, three foreign awards, and two Unit Citations.

While serving as a military chaplain, Reverend Mathis continued his pursuit of higher education. He received a Master of Guidance Counseling from Long Island University in 1975, and a Master of Industrial Relations degree from the National Defense University in 1986, as well as studying at the Boston University School of Theology.

Reverend Mathis has sustained his dedication to service throughout his lifetime and has remained active in a number of community organizations. He is a member of First Baptist Church of Gaffney where he is a Deacon and a teacher. He is also a member of the Broad River Pastors Association, Gaffney Rotary Club, the American Legion, Disabled Veterans of America, Retired Officers Association of America, and the Cherokee County Hall of Bravery. His service also includes the Afterschool Good News Club and Harbor of Hope as well as the Board of Directors for the Gaffney YMCA and Marketplace Ministries.

Beginning in 1997, Reverend Mathis served Limestone College as a Trustee and Senior Trustee for fourteen years. He provided leadership as Chairman of the Board from 2009 to 2013, one of the most significant periods in the entire history of our College.

Reverend Mathis is married to the former Nancy Spencer of Gaffney, in whose honor he established the Nancy Spencer Mathis Christian Education Endowed Scholarship Fund which provides an annual stipend to a student in the Christian Education and Leadership Program at Limestone.