LOUISE ING ’78 & COLBERT MATSUMOTO ’78
Listening to classmates Louise Ing and Colbert Matsumoto provides a hint of why Hawaii has the highest life expectancy among all 50 states.
“Lawyers are much more congenial to each other here than you see elsewhere, partly because it’s a small community and partly because it’s ingrained in our culture,” Matsumoto says. “There’s a high level of sensitivity and courtesy, which makes for a pleasant work environment.”
That ethos extends to giving back. Among their many philanthropic endeavors, Ing and Matsumoto support the Judge Martin Pence ’31 Fellowship Fund—which honors the late Hawaii federal judge by helping talented Berkeley Law students who are from Hawaii or interested in practicing there.
“He enjoyed putting young lawyers through their paces, but he was very supportive of them and very fair,” says Ing, who had a 10-year Ponzi scheme bankruptcy case before Pence, who died in 2000. “He made us become better lawyers.”
Exhibit A: Ing, a founding shareholder and director of Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, recently served as president of both the Hawaii Bar Association and Hawaii State Bar Foundation. She has received numerous honors for her legal work, community efforts, and legislative advocacy on women’s reproductive health issues.
Exhibit B: After 20 years in private practice, Matsumoto became CEO of Island Insurance Company. A trustee of Hawaii’s $15 billion Employees Retirement System, he has led fundraising efforts for several nonprofits and raised $9 million in nine months to save the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii from foreclosure.
“Living in an island community, we’re sensitive to having limited resources and needing to work together,” Matsumoto says. “I grew up on a pineapple plantation and could only attend Boalt because of a scholarship. The concept of giving back to organizations that fueled your success is inbred in most Hawaiians.”
A tight-knit group, Honolulu’s contingent of late-1970s Boalt alums gathers for an annual holiday party. Last October Ing, Matsumoto, Lily Nakagawa ’78, Leigh-Ann Miyasato ’79, and others took a European cruise together with stops in Prague and Copenhagen.
A fitting trip for friends from a school “that put me in the habit of pushing boundaries,” Ing says. “Boalt challenged me and made me stronger in so many ways. I also made lifelong friends. I think that’s why many of us here support the Pence Fund, to make sure new generations get that same opportunity.”
While financial aid brought Matsumoto to Berkeley, institutional support helped him stay. After he bombed a first-semester quiz, Professor Herma Hill Kay called to express concern.
“She and so many others at Boalt supported me and helped me make it through,” Matsumoto says. “I’m very thankful for those kindnesses. They made possible a life-changing and lifedefining experience.”