On almost any given day of the week in the admissions office at Providence Christian College, past the front desk, behind the blue dividers, and under a sign that says, “Matt Gabrielse, Admissions Counselor”, Matt can be found working at his desk. Matt, who joined the Providence admissions team in the fall of 2007, was born and raised in Chino, California.
Throughout Matt’s childhood and high school years, his father was the owner of a dairy supply and service company and his mother worked at Ontario Christian Middle School as a secretary. Matt attended Christian schools and spent his spare time at sports games, trading sports cards with his dad, playing basketball and baseball, spending time at the beach, and hanging out with friends. Matt grew up in a family that was and is devoted to their church, First Chino United Reformed Church (URC). He was part of their youth group and their Cadet Club. His parents also believed in the value of helping Christian institutions and were involved in supporting them in any way they could. Matt is still committed to and involved in the Cadet Club at a national level as a congressman and describes his involvement there as one of his favorite pastimes.
In the office at Providence, Matt is known for throwing bouncy balls at student workers, said Ruby Snieder, who worked for Matt her freshman year. Justin Bleeker, the Student Life Director, said, “Yes, he is infamous for the bouncy balls.” Ruby and Justin both said that Matt hates all food other than American food like hamburgers and after hearing this, Matt laughed and explained that he does not like to experiment much with food. In fact, he said that he does not even like coffee or chocolate. “But he does eat a lot of suckers,” said Ruby. “He really likes suckers.” Ruby also said that Matt hides gum in the top drawer of the filing cabinet. Matt laughed at this, too, and said, “Strawberry twist gum.” He tried to keep suckers at the new campus in Pasadena, but not surprisingly, the ants got to them.
These are not the only things Matt is known for among co-workers and friends at Providence. Consistently, office workers described Matt as extremely loyal, especially to his family, his church, and the Cadets. He explained that the reason for his loyalty is that “They’ve done a lot for me.” Part of this loyalty and commitment to friends is shown by the extra, usually empty chair kept next to Matt’s desk. This chair waits there for Dave Ligtenberg, a fellow staff member and life-long friend, who comes by daily to sit and chat.
Matt also said that having a Christian, reformed college education was extremely influential on him. For this reason, he is also loyal and committed to the work, institution, and well-being of Providence. He said, “I feel like I’m called to be here right now. It’s important to have a strong, reformed college on the west coast, so that motivates me.”
While habits like throwing bouncy-balls at student workers and keeping gum in the top drawer of a filing cabinet keep things interesting in the office, his loyalty, commitment and belief in the mission and work of Providence are what make Matt stand out as a valuable part of Providence Christian College.