Hon. Matthew Fong '85

Former State Treasurer

Known for his genuine warmth, dignity and approachability as much as for his fiscal, political and global expertise, he was a trailblazer as one of the highest-ranking elected officials of Asian ancestry in the continental United States. 

A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and Air War College, Mr. Fong eventually retired from the Pentagon after 33 years of active and reserve military service with the rank of Lt. Colonel as the senior financial advisor to the U.S. Air Force. He earned his M.B.A. at Pepperdine University before completing his J.D. through the SCALE program at Southwestern in 1985 and becoming a member of the California State Bar. 

Beginning in 1990 after several years as a practicing attorney with the firm of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, Mr. Fong provided strong fiscal stewardship in California for eight years, first as Vice Chairman of the State Board of Equalization, and then as State Treasurer when he was the first Asian American to hold statewide office. In that capacity, Mr. Fong managed the state's $28 billion investment pool and state bond sales of over $7 billion annually, and served on approximately 40 boards and commissions including CALPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System). At the federal level, he was a member of the National Association of State Treasurers for whom he chaired the Pacific Rim Investment Task Force. In 1995, he served on the Kemp Commission, a national tax commission charged with reviewing competing tax proposals before Congress. 

In more recent years, Mr. Fong was President of Strategic Advisory Group, where his primary focus was in private equity, real estate and greater China-U.S. cross border investment. He was a managing director in Belstar LLC, and served on the boards of Trust Company of the West Mutual Funds, Seismic Warning Systems Inc. and American Grid, Inc. He was also Of Counsel to the law firm of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLC. 

Mr. Fong served as a trustee of Southwestern, as a member of the Board of Regents of Pepperdine University and as a member of the boards of the Los Angeles Children's Hospital and the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History among numerous other organizations. He received Pepperdine University's 1992 Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Asian Professional Exchange's 1996 APEX Award for Excellence in Community Leadership, and in 1997 was honored as Southwestern's Alumnus of the Year. In 2011, he was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Southwestern.