Alumni Profile: Matthew Donlan

“It ain’t where you from, it’s where you’re at” – Rakim

Dr. Matthew Donlan, MBA, DBH

Founder of Donlan Counseling Services

Mashpee, Massachusetts


As a person in long-term recovery from addiction and a newly-hired Substance Abuse Counselor, Cape Cod Community College was an essential step in my mid-life career change. While working full-time as a Union Ironworker with Local 7- Boston, I completed my Addiction Counselor Education Certification program at UMass-Boston at night and on weekends. When I obtained my certificate, and passed the licensure exam, I was hired as a Counselor at Gosnold. Once I got settled in as a Counselor, I realized that nearly everybody around me had advanced degrees and that I needed to start taking steps to continue my education.

I enrolled in CCCC and was able to take a lot of my initial coursework online but when the time came that I needed to attend classes that were only held on campus, I adjusted my work schedule to make sure that I could meet my academic goals. There were classes that I knew I needed to take in person, like Statistics. It had been over 15 years since I had taken a math course but Professor George Bent made Statistics a fun learning experience. I was encouragement from people like George that made me stride toward excellence, leading up to my graduating with honors and receiving multiple scholarships to complete my Bachelor’s degree at UMass-Amherst’s University Without Walls program.

In 2015, I found myself struggling for opportunities for advancement at Gosnold, so I took advantage of an offer to relocate to Florida and join American Addiction Centers in Tampa. I moved my family south and began a new chapter in my life in the Sunshine State. After graduating UMass in 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Mental Health Studies, I was promoted from Program Manager to Program Director. This promotion brought forth the offer that the company would assist with paying for an Masters degree, if I chose to pursue it. 

I immediately enrolled in the Florida Institute of Technology’s MBA in Healthcare Management program and dove head first into my coursework. I spent the next few years building my occupational and educational skillset.

In May 2018, I was presented with the Florida Institute of Technology’s Outstanding Graduate Business Student of the Year and Phi Kappa Phi National Honors Society’s FIT Chapter Scholar Award. In June, I graduated with my MBA, keeping a 4.0 GPA. 

The next step was Arizona State University’s Doctor of Behavioral Health program, which I graduated with a 4.0 GPA in 2021. This degree offorded me the chance to move back home to the Cape and take a CEO position at a large outpatient clinic in Boston. CCCC also recognized me as one of the two 2019 Alumni of the Year honorees, and this solidified that the move back home was the right choice. 

Two years of COVID protocols were the driving force that helped me make the decision to finish up my CEO contract in Boston and move on to opening my own small practice in January 2022. Donlan Counseling Services is now thriving and the flexibility of being my own boss allows me to help a lot of people while also being able to enjoy the life I have been blessed with. My wife and I are now working on building a non-profit called “Lost Dreams Awaken”, aiming to offer scholarships for students who are in recovery and are looking to help grow the human services industry. 

My journey has taken me a long way from sitting in Grossman Commons between classes cramming for tests, and have worked hard to reach the point in my career where I can make a significant difference in the lives of those struggling with addiction and mental health issues. My recovery and my educational endeavors both started on Cape Cod, a place that I will hold dear to my heart forever.