Alumna Mary Matus flies through life

Alumna+Mary+Matus+poses+with+family.

Courtesy of Mary Matus

Alumna Mary Matus poses with family.

When Mary Matus graduated Parkway West in 1975, she had no idea in the years to come she would be traveling the world as a flight attendant.

Courtesy of Mary Matus
Standing in her full graduation attire, Mary Matus smiles after graduating Parkway West in 1975.

“[Becoming a flight attendant] really came completely out of left field. I was in school, and I wanted to be a physical therapist, but I was frustrated,” Matus said. “Back then there weren’t all the opportunities there are today to help people in physical therapy.”

When a neighbor talked to Matus about their job as a flight attendant, she became inspired and began applying to different airlines because of her desire to move out of St. Louis and travel.

“I got hired by American [Airlines] right after that,” Matus said. “I had the opportunity to stay down in training and fly international and move to New York, so it was a slam dunk for me. I was very happy.”

Her love for travel expanded, and she wents to places all over the world like Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.   

“I think we walk through life representing our families, our workplaces, our schools and our countries, and it’s very important to be a good ambassador.”

“I would say top of my list, even after 39 years being a flight attendant, the thing I think about most is always traveling,” Matus said.

One of Matus’ favorite countries to visit is India due to the culture, the colorful cities and the innate kindness she has noted in the people.

“I wanted to go to India my whole life, and I started flying there about 10 years ago with American [Airlines], and it just became a love affair for me,” Matus said. “A love of the culture and how it was exotic without being scary.”

Matus was first encouraged to explore the world at West through her humanities classes, including philosophy and theology.

“[These classes] sent me on a course to investigate different religions and different ideas. They just opened up a new world,” Matus said. “I think I must have had something in me very young that wanted to see the world.”

Courtesy of Mary Matus
Posing in front of the St. Basil Cathedral, Mary Matus stands in Red Square located in Moscow.

Because her youngest son plays tennis for St. Louis University High School (SLUH), Matus never misses a chance to revisit West when he plays them.

“I still find my heart pulled in different directions because it’s hard not to root for Parkway West,” Matus said. “Go Longhorns!”

Through Matus’ love for exploring the world, she has had many positive experiences.

“The world is a beautiful place, and I think that we need to pay very special attention to how we move forward,” Matus said. “I’ve told my children repeatedly when you travel you have a huge obligation, just like you have in life, to be a good ambassador. I think we walk through life representing our families, our workplaces, our schools and our countries, and it’s very important to be a good ambassador.”