27 Years of Impact: Matthew Ives Honored with Anna Howe Award


Ellie Yang

Matthew Ives interacts with students in his AP European History class, one of the many courses he has taught since joining Masters.

Neena Atkins and Allie Faber

The Masters’ community is gearing up for the upcoming reunion weekend, where beloved Tower advisor, Masters thesis teacher, and history and religion department chair, Matthew Ives, will receive the Anna Howe award on May 20, 2023. The award is given out annually during reunion weekend, and last year’s recipient was Upper School Math Teacher Michele Dennis. This year, Ives was nominated and selected by Masters alumni as the teacher that they feel has most deeply impacted their lives. 

Ives is not one to brag, so when he learned that he would be honored with the Anna Howe Award, he said he felt “humbled” by the news. However, Ives has more than just humility on his mind as he prepares to accept the award this weekend. I’m excited by the people that I know are going to be there,” he said. 

He has worked at Masters for 27 years, and in his time, he, along with the class of 2010, broke a world record for building the tallest pyramid of cans. On top of that, he revived Tower in 1998, introduced the Masters thesis class in 2000, and in addition to teaching, filled various administrative roles, including head of Upper School and class dean.   

Among colleagues and students, Ives is famous for being well-liked, level-headed, and devoted. While teaching the Masters thesis course, in which students produce their own thesis papers, Ellen Cowhey, a longtime friend of Ives, Tower advisor, and religion teacher, said that Ives is, “Right there right next to [students] in the trenches investigating and researching.”

The thesis class is a year-long major, and is a challenging feat for students to take on. Violet Paull, a junior in Masters thesis this year, described how passionate Ives is about the class. Paull detailed, “[Mr. Ives’] enthusiasm about the topics that we’re learning really sets him apart.” She continued in an email, “I feel like Mr. Ives really shines when he’s helping students explore their passions, especially in a class like Masters thesis.”

As a teacher, friend, and pillar on campus, Ives strives to boost independence and responsibility within his students. He explained, “I want my students to be able to do more than just follow directions. I want them to really think for themselves.”

Kira Ratan ‘22, former Tower editor-in-chief and member of Ives’ advisory, recalled the graduation gift she and fellow advisees received from Ives: a Swiss army knife. “[The knife], was probably just like the most Mr. Ives gift he could have ever given us…like he was giving us the tools that we need to, you know, survive and succeed – literally,” Ratan commented. 

When it came time for Ratan to graduate from Masters and cross the bridge into college, she was able to apply Ives’ “words of wisdom.”

“Obviously, he was there if we needed him, but he was also sort of hands off in a way that allowed us to take charge of our own growth and have that agency.”

— Kira Ratan '22 Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Masters’ class of 2020 graduate, Olivia Sharenow, recalled an extensive research paper that presented her with a challenge in Ives’ AP European history class. The paper, which discussed portions of history through the lens of a painting, piqued the interest of Sharenow, who now studies art history in college.

Ives helped Sharenow and their class navigate the technical side of the report, “He spent a lot of time talking about how to go about doing the research.” She elaborated, “It was kind of the first time I, like, I mean, I had written a research paper, but not of that scale before.” 

Over the course of his time here at Masters, Ives has been a prominent, and recognizable face on The School’s campus. “He’s kind of like Masters’ poster boy,” Cowhey said. “If there’s a photographer, they will take pictures of Matt Ives.”