Mat Nelson was a Political Science doctoral student with a Specialization in Political Economy. Mat passed away in January 2017 after a long illness, surrounded by family and friends. He was 35 years old. He was compassionate and kind, brilliant and hilarious. His untimely passing has left many within the Carleton community heartbroken.
During his time at Carleton Mat made numerous friends, many inspired by his passionate struggle for social, economic and human rights. He was an activist who deplored violence, racism, and inequality. Mat’s many accomplishments included his service as President of CUPE 4600 (Unit I), Carleton University’s Teaching Assistants union. Mat also served as President of the Ottawa CUPE District Council. Mat passed away before he was able to defend his last great accomplishment, his doctoral thesis entitled “Race, War, and Bio-Power: A Political Genealogy of State Racism in Canada.” His PhD degree was awarded posthumously on June 8, 2017.
The Mathew Nelson Memorial award, granted annually, is for an outstanding graduate student (MA or PhD) in the Institute of Political Economy who demonstrates academic excellence and reflects most accurately the qualities that Mat possessed: an extraordinary mind with an unwavering belief in a better world through social activism.