Honorary Degrees

Toshikiyo Andy Matsui

Toshikiyo Andy Matsui’s successful career alone is inspirational, but his passion and generosity toward students in the community to succeed is truly remarkable.

In 2015, California State University, Monterey Bay, in partnership with Hartnell College, received top-tier recognition from the governor’s committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education for the Computer Science Degree-in-Three Years (CS-in-3) program. While many throughout the state and the CSU have rightly praised this innovative three-year program, few know of the one person who has inspired and steadfastly supported these students through four cohorts, Mr. Andy Matsui. This program is just the latest chapter of his vision to support the Salinas Valley through education, as his foundation has been supporting local students for more than ten years.

Born in Japan in 1935, Toshikiyo Andy Matsui grew up in a small village on a small farm, where his family grew rice, vegetables, potatoes and wheat. Mr. Matsui made the bold decision to join a farm training program in the U.S. and eventually made his way to the city of Mountain View, California, to a farm where he apprenticed in growing chrysanthemums, the national flower of Japan.

Later, when other flower growers in the Salinas Valley were going out of business due to competition from Latin America, Mr. Matsui sought out another solution, traveling the world to learn about orchid growing. He believed that orchids would be the flower of the 21st century, and if he could figure out how to plant them in pots to market them in the U.S., as he had done for chrysanthemums in Japan some thirty years earlier, he could survive in the industry. He is now the world’s largest potted orchid farmer.

In this latest chapter of his life, he has transformed from role model to direct supporter of the young people in the Salinas Valley. In 2004, the Matsui Foundation gave its first scholarship, and from 2004 to 2012, it supported local students in their education at institutions throughout California.

CSUMB was fortunate when in 2013, Mr. Matsui decided to focus his generosity on students at a local college and university. Now seeking its fifth cohort of students, the CS-in-3 program has successfully graduated 68 percent of its first cohort in three years, a rate that far exceeds the average for CSUMB and the CSU. Through the support of the Matsui Foundation, more than 240 local students and their families have a much brighter future.

In recognition of his many accomplishments and work to forward equality and educational attainment at both the local and national levels, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Monterey Bay are proud to confer upon Toshikiyo Andy Matsui the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.​​