College of Science

Alumni spotlight: Educator Matthew Troutman


CLEMSON — As a doctoral candidate at Clemson a decade ago, Matthew Troutman (M.S. 2007 + Ph.D. 2010 physics) taught an undergraduate astronomy lab course. He enjoyed the experience so much that he changed his career path from astrophysics research to pre-college education and leadership.

Alumnus Matt Troutman
Physics alumnus Matt Troutman (M.S. 2007, Ph.D. 2010)

Today, Troutman is a faculty member and director of teaching and learning at Thomas Jefferson School, a private boarding and day school for grades 7-12 recently ranked the best boarding school in Missouri. In July, he will become the head of school at the venerable St. Louis institution when the current head retires.

Troutman came to Clemson after earning his bachelor’s degree from Roanoke College, in part, because he was impressed with the breadth and depth of Clemson’s physics research. Working under the direction of physics professor Sean Brittain, Troutman used novel techniques to look for evidence of planets that might be forming around young stars.

“Clemson physics was able to finesse research expertise across multiple fields, and our faculty were on the forefront of astrophysics,” said Troutman, noting the accomplishments of people like Dieter Hartmann, Mark Leising, Brad Meyer, Jeremy King, and Brittain.

Among his many accomplishments at TJS during the last nine years, Troutman played a lead role in developing a statement of faculty excellence based on 14 core principles.

“That document has become part of the school’s strategic plan and other members of the staff and community have emulated it to produce their own statements of excellence,” he said. “This was a major thing we accomplished as faculty that I’m very proud of.”

He led the most recent academic accreditation cycle, a multi-year process that includes a site visit from the accreditation team, and a thorough review of the school’s alumni engagement, board governance, finance, classroom teaching and curriculum.

In addition, he founded TJS’s robotics team, coached both boys’ and girls’ soccer, chaired the mathematics department, and has served on a variety of organizational committees.

When he takes over as head of TJS this summer, he plans to focus on building stronger connections with alumni and developing a campus master plan.

In his spare time, Troutman enjoys creating home brews — a hobby that he picked up while at Clemson. He and his wife, whom he met at Clemson, stay connected to their alma mater through the St. Louis Clemson Club.

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