Mathias J. "Matt" DeVito was trained as a lawyer and spent many years as head of one of the nation's most forward-thinking organizations, the Rouse Company. Nonetheless, he says, he has never seen anyone work as hard as the students he meets at MICA.
"I'm astounded by the quality of the students' work when they arrive at MICA from high school, but the experience at MICA gives them the opportunity to really grow and they come out different artists than they were when they began," he said.
Matt first became connected to MICA through another Rouse company executive, Edwin A. "Ned" Daniels, who served on the board for more than 30 years. Over the years, through Rouse Company grants to MICA, meetings with Fred Lazarus, and visits to the school, his admiration grew.
When Matt retired from the Rouse Company, the organization offered to start a scholarship in his name, and he chose MICA as the recipient, matching the company's generous gift with his own and endowing the scholarship that bears his name. Since then, the Mathias J. DeVito Scholarship has provided an exceptional incoming freshman with a significant scholarship for his or her four years at MICA.
"I feel that I'm giving to one of the great arts schools," he said, insisting modestly that he is not a patron of the arts, but someone who is simply "interesting in painting and painters." He is also clear that "providing an arts education is a very expensive proposition, a constant struggle. MICA needs help in providing that to students, and I want to help bridge that gap."
In a life rich with challenge and experience, Matt says "my involvement with MICA has been one of the highlights."
What Matt says he likes most about a MICA education, which he describes as "wonderful," is that it gives students the "ability to express their creativity and to explore it within the context of doing disciplined, trained work. They take what they see and hear and translate it into art - that's what connects them to the world."
"The experience of meeting the student who is awarded my scholarship, getting to know them and their work, watching them mature into really good artists, is thrilling. That's the great reward of giving a scholarship. Every year I get another opportunity to see what the school does."