College of Business

First Accounting Professor Cathy Ku Passes Away

Professor Cathy Ku

November 13, 2020 – Our own Professor Cathy Ku, the first FT/TT accounting faculty member to be hired in the former department/school of business that became the College of Business, passed away in Taipei after a prolonged illness. She was a truly valuable member of our founding COB team and a well-loved, thoughtful and considerate teacher and colleague. Cathy was loved by students, staff, and faculty members across the CSUMB campus.

It is always a moment for deep reflection when a cherished colleague, who was close and dear, passes. Cathy was an exceptional human being and colleague. She cared for her students and spent countless hours with them, helping them to learn as students and grow as human beings. She was always someone who worked behind the scenes and shunned the limelight. She was tireless in her student and college success efforts. She organized and led our Summer Semester program in Taiwan which was immensely beneficial in opening new horizons for our students. She was instrumental in the success of our VITA student tax assistance program partnered with the United Way. She was the founder and organizational leader for our Business Ethics Panel which later became the Ethics and Responsible Business Forum.

Cathy was also very active in the Monterey Bay community – in her church, as a volunteer with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the United Way of Monterey County, Kernes Adaptive Aquatics, and Cardinal Yu-Pin Manor. She initiated the very successful VITA program that has had a huge economic impact on the region's communities. She also served on innumerable college and university committees including in the academic senate. She was a scholar, having published over ten refereed journal articles and many other conference proceedings. Before joining CSUMB in 2008, she taught at CSU, Fullerton, and was Chair and Professor of Accounting at National Dong Hua University in Taiwan. She also taught at other Taiwanese universities. She won the Marion Penn Partnership Award of the Service Learning Institute at CSUMB for her tireless community partnership work.

She helped us understand Chinese/Taiwanese culture and was always generous with her gifts of moon cake and other Chinese delicacies. She had many friends on campus and in the community but was always a steadfast and loyal friend.

In memory of Cathy Ku, a great person, colleague and teacher, we cherish and celebrate her life and contributions to our University and community.

Reflections by Cathy's colleagues and friends at CSUMB

"I will always remember Cathy for her passion for student learning, spending countless hours with them outside of class in extra office hours. Cathy was a kind and warm spirit with an outgoing personality who made friends wherever she went. Cathy made friends all over the world who loved and valued her. Cathy, besides initiating many accounting courses in the concentration, also initiated the very successful VITA program that has had a huge economic impact on the region's communities." – Babita Gupta

"I always admired Cathy. She was in her office early in the morning till late at night and always had time for students who would come and sit at her table for tutoring. Her office hours were literally all day and evening and her door was always open. Cathy knew some students struggled with her accent so she worked hard to provide resources like videos she made where she worked through problems and they could pause as they needed. She bought special equipment to make whiteboard videos before it because common just because she thought students would benefit. Cathy shared her food traditions with faculty and with students. She always brought her classes healthy food on exam days because she said they did better when they were well fed. Her warm welcome to me when I arrived in 2008 is one I will always cherish. We were such a small school Cathy was always around to help, talk, or listen. Through good days and bad, Cathy always had a smile and kind words. She was a real treasure. I feel so lucky to have known her." – Jill Hosmer

"Cathy Ku was our first full-time accounting faculty hired while we were still the School of Business. She joined Jeff Froshman, our Distinguished Lecturer, to teach our accounting courses. She was instrumental in enticing ChiChun Chou to join our accounting faculty team. Through the years, Cathy was responsible for the Ethics Forum, now called the Ethics and Responsible Business Forum. Cathy was humble; she always wanted to be behind the scenes. She made everyone else “shine” in the Ethics and Responsible Business Forum, and she did the planning…never taking the limelight. I remember when Cathy Ku was promoted to Associate Professor. She was delighted. She made arrangements to take us (faculty and staff) out to dinner to celebrate her promotion. Cathy loved our potluck events. I always looked forward to Cathy cooking tea eggs; these eggs were hard-boiled in tea and were delicious. I was inspired to celebrate the moon festival in the fall with mooncakes and the Chinese New Year in the early Spring with Laisee red envelopes. Even after she left us, I continued to celebrate these holidays…always in her honor and memory." – Marylou Shockley

"I am very sorry to hear about Cathy Yu's passing. She was a valued member of our university community and deeply committed to her students. We will always remember her and her contributions. Please convey my condolences to her family and to our colleagues who were closest to her." – Eduardo Ochoa