2011 Tillman Scholar
Matt is a Tucson, AZ native who served as a combat medic in the U.S. Army from 1998 to 2003. Matt’s service was highlighted by being a part of the remains recovery team that was responsible for repatriating the remains of US soldiers previously listed as missing in action from the DMZ (Korea), deploying for Operation Nobel Eagle in 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Among the awards and commendations Matt received during his service were two Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals and two Good Conduct Medals.
Matt returned to school at the University of Arizona in the fall of 2008 and cofounded the Veterans Education and Transition Services office and served as the VETS Office Director for 3 years. Matt has served on several non-profit and advisory boards to include, Student Veterans of America (SVA), Esperanza En Escalante, Southern Arizona Justice for Veterans, Senator John McCain, Senator Jeff Flake, Representative Gabby Giffords, and Representative Raul Grijalva’s veteran’s advisory committees, The Southern Arizona VA Director’s Advisory Council, The Southern Arizona Fisher House Board of Directors, and a member of the Department of Education Rule Making Committee. Matt is currently the Chairman of Governor Doug Ducey’s Veterans’ Service Advisory Commission as well as a volunteer wrestling coach for a local area high school.
Matt graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arizona in May of 2011 earning a B.S. in family studies and human development and was selected as the 2011 Robie Award winner as the distinguished honor graduate of the class of 2011.
In 2011 Matt was selected as a Tillman Scholar by the Pat Tillman Foundation and was named one of Tucson’s 40 under 40 by the Arizona Daily Star.
Matt graduated with a juris doctorate from the University of Arizona’s Rogers College of Law in May of 2014. Matt was named the Jim Himelic Award winner for his dedication to the community and the Rose Davis Public Service Award winner for his leadership and service.
Matt co-founded and is currently the managing partner of Randle Palmer & Bernays, a family and juvenile law firm located in Tucson, AZ.
Matt’s contributions locally and nationally were recorded in the U.S. Congressional Record by Congressman Raul Grijalva in 2011. He has been featured by several prominent media outlets to include CNN’s The Lou Dobbs Show, NBC Nightly News, Dateline, the American Council on Education’s, In Their Boots, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today as well as several local newspapers and news programs for his work with veterans.
Matt’s hobbies include spending time with his wife Holly and his four children, hunting, golfing, and rooting for University of Arizona athletics.