educator AND entrepreneur

| Judy Berthiaume

When Dr. Matthew Meyer earned his degree in philosophy from UW-Eau Claire he knew the skills he developed during his undergraduate years would serve him well in graduate school and beyond. After all, the critical and creative thinking skills he nurtured through his liberal arts studies are exactly the kinds of skills he needed to succeed in what he hoped would be a teaching career at the university level.

After earning his graduate degree at Stony Brook University in New York, Matthew returned to the Midwest, where he now serves as an assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies at his alma mater. He credits his philosophy degree with allowing him to pursue his dream career of teaching and writing philosophy, but also with instilling in him an adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit.

In 2008, Matthew and his wife, Jill, started a hobby business called Tired Ol' Belts. Through their business, they make belts out of recycled bicycle tires and other recycled bike parts. The business is an opportunity to combine their passions for environmental awareness, vegan fashion and the cycling culture. Matthew says their approach to business is in the very nature of philosophical thinking. Philosophy faculty teach courses that ask fundamental questions about reality, freedom and knowledge, but they also teach classes that ask fundamental questions about the ethics of business, the environment, law, art, computing and health care.

Philosophy prepares students to think about whatever comes next, much like it has prepared Matthew to look to the future as he pursues his multiple passions. His approach to his teaching and his business reflects his belief that a practical world without creative and critical thinking is not practical at all. By sharing his talents as an educator AND his creativity as an entrepreneur, Dr. Matthew Meyer is helping to prepare students to think critically and creatively while also nurturing his own adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit … and that’s pretty powerful!

Photo caption: Dr. Matthew Meyer uses recycled bicycle tires and other bike parts to create belts as part of his hobby business, Tired Ol' Belts.