Archie and Emelie Matthews have devoted countless hours supporting agricultural education and Florida FFA. Archie and Emilie are shown here on the left with John Hoblick, Florida Farm Bureau Federation presenting the award.


Archie Lewis Matthews was born in Gainesville in 1954. He began his FFA career in the eighth grade at Santa Fe High School. While a student there, he developed a love for the organization that has proven to be lifelong. When the Florida FFA Alumni Association was chartered, he joined immediately. He was elected as a district director and state president. After two decades as a director, he retired, but at a subsequent meeting, the board of directors elected him to the position of director emeritus, in recognition of his years of service and dedication.


Archie wrote The Land in the Sunshine, which promotes Florida agriculture, informing readers of agriculture’s impact on everyday life. The book, a fundraiser for the Alumni Association, has proven to be a valuable classroom resource, with many schools developing lesson plans around it. Each year at the Florida FFA Convention, Archie takes on additional responsibilities, from examination proctor to registration to coordinating the election process for state officers.


Archie is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Alachua Historical Society, and Dudley Farm Historic State Park. Archie has received the Outstanding Florida FFA Alumni Award, the Florida FFA Blue and Gold Award, and the Honorary State and American FFA Degrees.


Emelie Labeur Matthews was born on September 14, 1953, in Dunkirk, New York, in an area where there was no FFA chapter. When she and Archie began dating in the early 1980s, she found that he was very dedicated to the organization. After marriage in 1986, Emelie threw herself into the FFA as much as Archie, taking on roles at the convention. After becoming the admissions coordinator for UF’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Emelie has been responsible for shepherding many FFA members through their educational career at UF.


Emelie has received the Florida FFA Blue & Gold Award, the Honorary State and American FFA Degrees, and many awards at UF for excellent service, including the UF Superior Accomplishment Award. Emelie serves as president of the Alachua Historical Society and as the co-secretary of the Dudley Farm Historic State Park Citizen’s Support Organization.


The Matthews have one son, David, and two informally adopted daughters, Dominique and Tracey.