Matthews said he is excited about becoming one of the six voting members of the school's governing board.
"I know these are critical times to universities with the financial cutbacks," Matthews said. "Hopefully, my expertise can help solve those problems."
Holden, a Democrat, named Matthews to one of the board's three Republican seats. The appointment is for a six-year term.
Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau, recommended Matthews for the post this fall. Kinder will sponsor Matthews' nomination in the Senate.
"Ned Matthews comes from a very well respected family in Southeast Missouri," Kinder said. "He has a broad business background and a passion to serve. He will be a fine addition to the board."
Matthews, 54, is director of Matthews Cotton Co. in Sikeston, manages family farms in Mississippi, Scott, New Madrid and Dunklin counties and is also involved in his family's other businesses. He is a graduate of Drury College, the California State Polytechnic University School of Mortgage Banking and the Louisiana State University School of Banking of the South.
Southeast President Dr. Ken Dobbins said the board welcomes a member with Matthews' background.
"This is a very challenging time, and his expertise will be well used," Dobbins said.
Matthews will replace Doyle Privett of Kennett, whose term ended Thursday. Dobbins praised Privett for his service to the university.
"Doyle did a tremendous job for us with his understanding of financial issues," Dobbins said.