Liriodendron tulipifera flower

The University of North Carolina
A Department of the North Carolina Botanical Garden


Collectors of the UNC Herbarium
The information from the Milestone was provided
by Nancy Matthews and George Sawyer of Coker College.
Additional bibliographic information was compiled by Lisa Giencke.

Dr. Velma Dare Matthews

Portrait from 1956 Milestone dedication

Born 1904, Burlington, North Carolina

B.A. North Carolina College for Women (now University of North Carolina - Greensboro)

M.A. 1927: Studies on the Saprolegniaceae and the genus Pythium

Ph.D. 1930: Studies on the genera Nematosporangium and Pythium

M.A. and Ph.D. degrees were completed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under the advisement of Dr. William Chambers Coker.

The University of North Carolina Herbarium has catalogued approximately 400 vascular plant specimens collected by Dr. Matthews.As only about 10% of the collection is catalogued, no doubt there are many more of her specimens to be found.About 20 fungal specimens collected by Dr. Matthews have been catalogued; label information on NCUís mycological collection is available at


From the 1958 Milestone (Coker College yearbook):

"How beautifully feminine she looked in her blue hat that matched her blue eyes" as described by a chapel speaker.

Velma Matthews was head of Coker's Biology Department for twenty-two years. This mental picture will always remain in our minds, for Dr. Matthews was lovely, not only in appearance, but also in life.

A prominent Carolina scientist, Dr. Matthews filled key state and regional offices in a number of scientific organizations, including a 1946-1947 term as the first women president of the South Carolina Academy of Science. She was also author of numerous scientific publications.

She was a leader as well in local community planning and improvement activities. Coker's campus was Dr. Matthew's own personal garden, and we at Coker loved her for the beauty she created and shared with others, for the value she found in people and for the courage of her life.


Dedication to Dr. Matthews in the 1956 Milestone

Article recognizing her dedication in the 1956 Milestone

†† Curriculum in Ecology†††††††††††††††††North Carolina Botanical Garden†††††††††††††††Biology Department
†††††††Curriculum†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† North Carolina††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††UNC

††††††††In Ecology††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Botanical Garden†††††††††††††††††† Biology Department

University of North Carolina Herbarium
CB# 3280, Coker Hall
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280
phone: (919) 962-6931
fax: (919) 962-6930

Last Updated: 3 October 2011