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Wilbur Mattison, Honorary Chair

Dr. Wilbur Mattison was instrumental in founding The Charles Armstrong School in Belmont, CA. The Charles Armstrong School is an independent, co-educational lower and middle day school specializing in teaching students with language-based learning differences, such as dyslexia. Currently, the school is participating in a special research collaboration with the Dyslexia Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Mattison graduated in the Class of 1943 at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., and was immediately commissioned in the U.S. Army. During World War II, Wilbur served in an Infantry Division in France, where he was injured and hospitalized. While recuperating, he was inspired to enter the medical profession. Upon his discharge, he returned to The Citadel to complete his pre-medical studies and later enrolled in Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. After his graduation, Dr. Mattison began a 6 year post-graduate training period in Internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. At the end of his training, by the greatest chance, he saw a letter that had been sent to Hopkins in which the writer told of an opportunity in Menlo Park, California, to practice medicine at The Menlo Medical Clinic that had been established in 1948 by Dr. Charles Armstrong.

Wilbur wrote, “I was thoroughly intrigued by the feeling of enthusiastic optimism that was so well expressed in the letter. Later, I would find that this spirit of enthusiastic optimism was an integral part of Dr. Armstrong’s life. I went to California for a few days and was convinced that The Menlo Medical Clinic was the right place for me, and Dr. Armstrong was all that I had envisioned him to be.” In July of 1958, Dr. Mattison, and his wife, Patricia, and their two children moved to Menlo Park, where he practiced Internal medicine for 30 years.

Wilbur Mattison: “Dr. Armstrong became my mentor in all that I did, which included joining the Clinical faculty of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto. He and I became great friends, and it was an unimaginable tragedy for all of us when he suddenly and unexpectedly died in 1962. His colleagues at The Menlo Clinic chose to honor him by creating The Armstrong Memorial Foundation. The first project undertaken by the Foundation was the problem of dyslexia, which was a significant issue in our community.”

“Our work led us to come to know doctors associated with the Orton Society (now the International Dyslexia Association) and Mrs. Beth Slingerland in Renton, Washington. She came to Menlo Park to conduct training sessions for public school teachers, and while she was there she suggested that we consider forming a private school for dyslexic learners. We chose to name the school after Dr. Charles Armstrong, and it was remarkable how his spirit of enthusiastic optimism became a vital part of the school’s philosophy of operation. We were blessed with many people who served on The Board of Trustees of the school. I served as The Chairman of The Board from 1968 to 1996, and I am pleased to state that during that time, as well as since then, the spirit of optimistic enthusiasm prevailed in the philosophic mindsets of the Trustees, the Faculty members, and the students.  So, in many ways, Dr. Armstrong has been and always will be an important part of my philosophic life.”