18:19 PM

Tammy Smithers, Ed.D ’20, Surprises Longtime Friend Matthew McConaughey on Live Talk Show

Fifteen minutes of Hollywood fame came shining onto UST Adjunct Professor for the School of Education and Human Services, Tammy Smithers, Ed.D ’20, on Nov. 17. The expert lecturer on diversity, equity and leadership appeared on "Red Table Talk" with host and actress Jada Pinkett Smith to surprise Smith’s guest, movie star Matthew McConaughey. The Academy Award winner was obviously delighted to reconnect with his former co-worker from 30 years ago when both were in college and working at a black-owned restaurant/bar in Austin, Texas.

The show’s producers tracked down Smithers after McConaughey wrote about her in his memoir “Greenlights” calling her “the black-and-beautiful-as-a-midnight rock star waitress who ran the floor” and saying that she “opened his eyes to different cultures.”

It was a sweet reunion for the longtime college friends and prompted Smithers to note afterward, “Matthew said I opened his eyes to different cultures, and it’s interesting to see that I’m still doing that in my work. I’m a recent graduate of UST’s Ed.D Ethical Leadership Program and have always focused on race, gender, diversity, inclusion and leadership issues.”

Smithers’ most recent research—entitled “Whiteness and Privilege: Lifting the Veil on Systemic Racism”— is commissioned by Rutgers University’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice and will be published within a matter of weeks.

In addition, on Dec. 3 Smithers is scheduled to moderate a panel on Post-Election and The Future of Higher Education: Supporting Vulnerable Populations. To register for the virtual event click here.

Meanwhile, the heartwarming talk show experience was recapped by People.com and Yahoo news. To watch the recorded video of the actual interview on "Red Table Talk" click here.