The JMU community is filled with students, faculty, staff, and visitors. We see them all on a daily basis and typically wave and walk on by. We may know many in passing, but only a select few touch our hearts. One of those select few is Dr. Ramon Mata-Toledo. Dr. Mata-Toledo is a Computer Science professor at JMU. He has taught twenty-seven courses in his twenty-one years at the university. He not only has an impact on his students, which is evident by his numerous student nominators, but also the surrounding community. When interviewing students and colleagues for this speech I asked them, “How would you describe Dr. Mata-Toledo?” It can be summed up easily, Dr. Mata-Toledo wears many different hats; teacher, mentor, friend, and advisor.
Dr. Ramon Mata-Toledo is that professor who encourages his students to reach their full potential. As his graduate assistant put it, “He doesn’t push his students in a certain direction, he guides them, and helps them to try and apply themselves.” He is a very knowledgeable computer scientist. He received his bachelors of science from Instituto Pedagogico de Caracas in Venezuela, two masters degrees from the Florida Institute of Technology, and holds a doctorate in Computer Science from Kansas State University. His background allows him to provide quality instruction. As his students put it, “He is known for his ability to create a supportive and interactive classroom community while still providing quality course material.” He tries to take the stress away from the learning environment so that his students can get the most out of his classes. His prominent enthusiasm for teaching makes his an outstanding professor. The greatest compliment came from one of his former graduate assistants stating, “Working for him was a deeply enlightening experience that helped envision my future.” Everyone I spoke with had nothing but kind words and high praise for Dr. Mata-Toledo.
Another title he’s been given is friend. His students have told me that he is wonderful because he can make you laugh when you are most upset. He is a man who is there when you need to talk. He opens his home to his students and has been known to invite students over for Thanksgiving Dinner. His family has also thrown a baby shower for an international student who was not able to be with her own family at the time. He is a caring wonderful man who makes everyone feel at ease.
As a mentor, he encourages people in their academic and personal lives. Several people told me that he helps students purse their full potential. All of the students I spoke with shared with me that they are continuing their education because of the support they felt from Dr. Mata-Toledo. His former student Pranshu Gupta said it best, “He encouraged me to have a vision in life.” All of his nominators had very strong feelings about the passion Dr. Mata-Toledo brings to life, class, and community.
Dr. Mata-Toledo is involved with JMU in more ways than one. He is a member of the University Council, Faculty Development Committee, Task Force on Science and Mathematics Organizational Issues, International Programs Development Committee, Representative of CISAT to the ADA Subcommittee on Academic Affairs and Administrative Computing Advisory Committee. In the department of computer science he is a member of the Personnel Advisory committee, graduate computer science admission committee, an also a representativ3e of the Computer Science Department to Faculty Development Committee, Computer Science Department to the International Committee. As a member of all these committees he has shown his continuous support of students, faculty body, and improvement of the academic programs. With all that he is involved in, it’s amazing that he has any time for himself.
His list of activities doesn’t end here! He is also a registered translator of Spanish and Portuguese with Rockingham Memorial Hospital and the police department.
Dr. Mata Toledo encourages people to unite, work for the community, and excel academically.
I am honored to have had the opportunity to share with you Dr. Mata-Toledo’s accomplishments and impact. It is with great pleasure and admiration that I present him with the All Together One award.
Omicron Delta Kappa