Matt Hodge: Professor, Composer, Author… What’s Next?

Jul 27, 2021

Some people pick what they want to do and stick with it to a fault. Others, however, see many opportunities and want to explore them all. Life has many doors, and some people cannot bear to leave any unopened. Matthew Hodge, assistant professor of theatre and musical theatre at William Peace University, is one such person. Hodge followed his many passions to build a career as a professor, composer, and author.

Hodge earned a Bachelor of Arts in theory and composition and a Master of Arts in music from Campbellsville University and a Master of Fine Arts in music composition from Vermont College of Fine Arts. This hard work led to many accolades, including multiple awards for his musical work with charities, and on video games, television and film composition. He has also had many opportunities to work with exalted artists and creative minds in many fields. His most recent creative endeavor, Cool Cats and a Hot Mouse: A History of Jazz and Disney, has garnered significant attention in its own right. 

Hodge’s bestselling nonfiction novel has received several awards: the 2020 NFAA (Nonfiction Author’s Association) Gold Award, the 2020 BIBA (Best Indie Book Award) in Nonfiction, a 2020 Literary Titan Silver Award, and most recently, a nomination for the 2021 ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collections) Award. The book has also attained bestseller status on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats. 

Hodge chose to write about jazz and Disney’s history after noticing a niche that was not being filled in the literary world. “Jazz has a fascinating history, and Disney does as well, but no one was talking about them together… during my research, I was shocked that no one had thought to combine these subjects. There are a ton of books about jazz, a ton of books about Disney, and a ton of books about Disney music… but no books talking about the relationship between jazz and Disney.”

Born and raised in Louisville, Ky., Hodge knew early on that he loved stories and writing. His English classes were among his favorite subjects, and he even won a young author award in elementary school. He loved music in high school, and in college, he discovered musical theater. “It gave me the music and the songs that I loved and the stories that I loved,” he said. “It was a perfect marriage between the two.”

So how do you go from writing for musical theatre to writing a nonfiction novel? According to Hodge, it came from setting a new professional goal every few years. “Throughout my 20s, I was involved in music and the musical theatre world,” he said. “About three years ago, I had done a bunch of that and it was itching me like I wanted to try some writing. So, I decided that the next few years, I wanted to focus on writing.”

But everyone knows you do not make such a career all on your own. Hodge cited several of his professors-turned-colleagues as inspiration for his impressive work, including award-winning professor Dr. Frieda Gebert and Emmy-nominated composer and award-winning filmmaker Don DiNicola. 

With so many accomplishments under his belt, one would think Hodge would not be satisfied teaching at a small university in Raleigh, N.C. However, his students appreciate his commitment to education. “Matt Hodge is one of my favorite teachers,” said Emily Freer ’20, a WPU musical theatre major. “I always love coming to his classes and seeing how he will challenge us to think that day. He’s legit the best!” As for what’s next for Hodge, another literary work is already slated to be released in 2021. “Gotham City Sounds: The Music of Batman Villains” will be released through Pulp Hero Press later this year. 

Digital Edition

PEACE Magazine, the award-winning publication of William Peace University, published annually.

View the 2021 edition. 

Give Courageously to Peace

Thanks to the generosity of William Peace University supporters, current and future WPU students have access to the resources needed to learn through immersive experiences, build upon their courage and develop the confidence needed to turn passion into purpose.
Roses float in the campus fountain after an alumni event.
a student uses a laptop on a green bench at William Peace University

Give Now

Support future Pacer success. 


Become a Corporate Partner

Find out how your organization can collaborate with Peace.


Whether you’re hoping to attend WPU or hosting an event, you’re welcome to visit WPU! 

Wedding at WPU
Phantom in downtown Raleigh

Conferences and Events

Host your conference, event, or wedding at WPU.

Location and Directions

Get directions, our address, a campus map, and hotel discount information.


Learn about WPU and all it has to offer so you can guide your students to the best fit for their next step. 

Admissions Info

Meet and connect with our Admissions team.

Schedule a Visit

Learn about our processes and schedule a visit.


Our success as an institution has always been rooted in the strength of our community. As an integral part of that community, we invite alumni to stay informed and connected. 

Alumni outside at WPU
Roses float in the campus fountain after an alumni event.
Building at WPU

Get Involved

Stay connected to Peace.


Contribute to the success of future Pacers.

General Info

Read about alumni benefits.


Families are an integral part of a student’s path to WPU. Find answers to your questions here. 

Two WPU students work together on a project during class

Student Success: Why Choose WPU?

Learn about the value of an education at WPU.

Billing and Due Dates

Questions about your student’s enrollment or billing? Start here.

Current Students

Already a Pacer? Here’s your quick path to information, links, and other useful stuff.

Group of students talking
Students high-fiving each other

Current Students

Missing something? Can’t find a link? Start here.

Current Parents and Families

Is your student a Pacer? Here’s where to get information and contacts.

Future Students

Welcome to William Peace University! We offer programs for both traditional undergraduate students and online/hybrid classes through our School of Professional Studies. Find your path to WPU here.

Three WPU students walk through a brick archway on campus.
Three students discuss their work during class.
Older gentleman at a computer

First Time in College

Your WPU education will help you build practical skills for your future.

Transfer Students

Transfer up to 90 credit hours from any institution. 

Working Professionals

Enhance your existing career.

A WPU student works on a video game in the new esports and gaming lab on campus.
Woman in army green typing at computer
Two female international students


If you previously attended WPU and are ready to return, start here. 


Learn more about how to apply the GI bill.

International Students

Find out how to attend WPU.


WPU has a long history as one of the city’s oldest universities. Find out more about our institution in the heart of downtown Raleigh. 

2023 Student Showcase
Staff Pumpkin Painting


Through 160 years, William Peace University has evolved to meet the changing needs of the students we serve.


William Peace University is a small, private institution located in downtown Raleigh, NC.

Work at WPU

Join our team and see why William Peace University was voted one of the Triangle’s Best Places to Work!

DEI Staff
Design Rendering of WPU

Contact Us

Contact the University

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Learn about DEI at WPU.

Mission, Vision, and Values

Learn about WPU core tenets. 

Student Life

Whether you want to know more about on-campus events or see our residence halls, get a sense of what life is like as a student at WPU.

WPU Student on bouncy slide
A WPU student sits with his friends while eating at Belk dining hall.
WPU Safety Officer

Clubs, Activities and Events

Discover what’s fun at WPU.

Housing & Dining

When people say that WPU “feels like home,” we think that’s the ultimate compliment.

Safety & Security

The Office of Public Safety is committed to providing a community-friendly approach to enhancing campus safety for students, faculty and staff.

Dining room at Peace
A WPU student sits with his friends while eating at Belk dining hall.
Health and wellness at WPU


Cheer on your Pacers at their next home game.

Student Support Services

Find out how the WPU team supports the whole you.

Health and Wellness

Learn about physical and mental health services available to students.


WPU offers a mix of more than 30 degree programs and additional minors. Our courses are four credit hours each, and every course features immersive learning experiences.

A student in WPU's online School of Professional Studies works on her homework.
2023 Internship Showcase

Immersive Learning

Find out about WPU’s unique approach to learning.

Center for Student Success

Peer tutoring, a first-year success program, and an internship program are just part of why Pacers succeed. 


Start here to find out how to apply, visit, and learn more about WPU.

Before you apply:

Admissions team
students walking on campus
A student reviews scholarship and payment information in the financial aid office.

Connect with an Admission Couneslor

They’ll be your guide through the process.

Visit Campus

Get a feel for campus life.

Understand Costs

Find out about Financial aid and other options to pay for college.