Professor Matthew Hilton-Watson (Dr. Matt) Memorial

On Monday March 16, 2009 Associate Professor Matthew Hilton-Watson passed away. Professor Hilton-Watson collapsed and died while doing what he loved--teaching. Friends, colleagues, and family gathered at the University of Michigan-Flint to celebrate his life and mourn the loss of a treasured educator. There was a memorial service at 3 pm Friday, March 27, 2009 in the University of Michigan-Flint Theater. Afterwards there was a reception in the University Center, Michigan Rooms C & D. It is requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Matthew Hilton-Watson Study Abroad Scholarship for students at the University of Michigan-Flint.


Professor Hilton-Watson was born in Lexington, Kentucky on October 28, 1968, the son of Mark and Teresa Watson. He married Sarah Hilton in Frankfort, Kentucky on May 21, 1994.  He earned his B.A. and M.A. in French and Spanish, from the University of Kentucky in 1991 and 1993, respectively, and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2000.  Dr. Matthew Hilton-Watson joined the faculty of the University of Michigan-Flint as a lecturer cum assistant professor in 1999, was appointed as assistant professor in 2000, and was promoted to associate professor, with tenure, in 2006. He had been serving as chair of the Foreign Languages Department since July 1, 2008. He was also the Director of the International and Global Studies Program, taught in the Honors Program and organized many special projects and events.


Dr. Matt as his students called him was active in spearheading new projects; he was working with the Cultural Center planetarium to do “Poetry Under the Stars,” a special program that highlighted foreign languages. Dr. Matt also recently led a group of students to Montreal, Canada for an alternative spring break experience. His contributions to this campus are numerous and valuable.


Dr. Matt was a teacher, a scholar, a leader – a colleague and a friend. This is a personal and devastating loss to all who knew him. And all of us, who knew him, loved him.


Words cannot fully describe what Dr. Matt meant to his students. He embodied all that is good about his profession. He gave of himself tirelessly, always trying to find a better way. His enthusiasm, his passion, and his love of knowledge were infectious and inspiring.  In the relatively short time that he served the University of Michigan-Flint and its students, he left a huge impact on everyone that knew him and he will be sorely missed. Many members of the campus community have very fond memories of Dr. Matt. He was simply everywhere, doing all he could for our university. As we mourn the loss of this great scholar, teacher, and friend, our condolences go to his wife, Sarah, and their two children, Alexander, age 10, and Catherine, age 4.