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Character Quest

About Character Quest

Character Quest is a premier leadership development program utilized by corporations and nonprofit organizations nationwide. The program is designed to enrich the beliefs, principles, and values that enhance teamwork, leadership and character.

Character Quest at Carthage is tailored specifically to undergraduate students to enhance their on-campus experiences, as well as their future professions. The program explores methods to achieve one’s personal and organizational missions. Students who participate in Character Quest will:

  • Build team, leadership, and character capacity.
  • Experience the challenge of leading themselves and others to effect positive change.
  • Experience and understand the application of competency, chemistry, and character, and their contribution to effective teamwork and leadership.
  • Model and articulate their team, leadership, and character learning and experiences.

Meet the CQ Team

Dean Matthews ’84
Character Quest was founded by Carthage College graduate Dean Matthews. Mr. Matthews graduated from Carthage in 1984 with a degree in business administration and marketing, and is now president of Matthews Distributing Co. of Iowa, a fourth-generation wholesale beverage distributor. A certified leadership development coach, Mr. Matthews has more than 20 years of leadership development and coaching experience.

Dean Matthews


Derek Matthews ’10, Ph.D.
Mr. Matthews’ son Derek is director of Character Quest. Derek Matthews graduated from Carthage in 2010 with a degree in communication and digital media. He received his master’s degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University in 2011, and his Ph.D. in leadership for the advancement of learning and service from Cardinal Stritch University in 2014. He is the co-founder of the Carthage College Leadership Certification Program.