Friends of the Smokies chooses New Board Chair

by Mar 3, 2011NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments


     Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park has announced the election of the Rev. Dr. Daniel P. Matthews of Waynesville as its new board chair, the first from North Carolina since the regional organization’s inception in 1993. 

Rev. Dr. Daniel P. Matthews

     Dr. Matthews says of his election as Friends of the Smokies’ board chair, “Having grown up in Haywood County on the North Carolina border of the park, my childhood memories of family outings in the Smokies are rich.  It is a privilege to be elected as chair of this wonderful non-profit board and to join Superintendent Dale Ditmanson and thousands of supporters who, through the Friends, give generously to help preserve our treasured national park.”

     Dr. Matthews and his wife Deener own and operate the Swag Country Inn on the border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Waynesville, NC.  They also serve on the Foundation Board of the Haywood Regional Medical Center.  He is rector emeritus of New York City’s Trinity Episcopal Church on Wall Street, and currently serves as Trustee and Co-chair of the Development Committee for The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City.  Dr. Matthews’ 17 year tenure with Trinity included serving as an advocate for and commentator on the church’s post-September 11 mission which included a 24-hour center of refuge and relief for eight months after the attack. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his leadership during that period.

     “My staff and I are extremely pleased to see Dan appointed as the Friends’ new Board Chairman.”  Ditmanson said, “His many years in the non-profit sector have given him a broad understanding of the philanthropic environment.  If you combine that business acumen with his background as a clergyman, and the experience of operating a business tailored to guests who come to immerse themselves in the Smokies, you get a leader who profoundly inspires people to love and protect the natural and cultural resources that the Friends were created to preserve.”

     Other changes to the board of Friends of the Smokies include the election of Nancy Daves of Knoxville, TN as a director.  Stephen W. Woody of Asheville, founding vice chair, now serves as treasurer.  Dale Keasling of Knoxville is vice chair, and Knoxville’s Kay Clayton is the board secretary. 

     For more information, visit the organization’s website at