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W. Taft Matney, Jr. '97 

Taft MatneyMany from the class of 1997 remember Taft for his mouth. In fact, he was asked to deliver the benediction at the graduation exercises, and he jumped at the chance. “It just seemed fitting,” he said, “that after running my mouth all this time, I’d get the last word.”

Many might also remember him for his creative use of time, as he enjoyed extracurricular activities, in particular, political campaigns, a little too much, necessitating a “university requested sabbatical.” When he returned to campus a few years later, he felt older and more prepared to complete his undergraduate studies, and he went on to graduate with a BA in interdisciplinary studies with concentrations in government and business. 

His fond memories of his years at Upstate include Drs. Ron Romine, Dwight Lambert, Choong Lee, Warren Carson and Rachelle Prioleau, who all created an atmosphere where individual thoughts and opinions were encouraged.

In 2001 Taft started his own firm, TM Public Relations and Government Affairs, a company that offers a host of marketing services including lobbying, media kits, as well as the organization of public events and grassroots coalitions. Taft has branched out to include photography, audio and video components to the firm’s overall service list. Taft also is a managing member of Sandlapper, a political consulting firm, which specializes in crafting strategy, messaging, polling and collateral materials for state and local campaigns.

Born, raised and currently residing in Mauldin, Taft is married to wife Addy, and they have a four-year-old son, Trey. In his spare time he loves to play golf, watch movies, and stay involved in his church, Mauldin United Methodist.