Rich Matsuda, W. M. Keck Observatory Director

Rich Matsuda is the Director of the W. M. Keck Observatory. During his nearly 30-year career at the Observatory, Matsuda helped build and operate the Keck Observatory telescopes, progressing to roles in senior leadership, including Chief of Operations and Associate Director of External Relations, before assuming his current role.

In addition to overseeing the operation and performance of the Observatory, Matsuda also serves as the appointed Maunakea Observatories representative to the Maunakea Stewardship and Oversight Authority (MKSOA), the management and governance body for Maunakea established through Act 255 by the State of Hawaiʻi, founded on the principal of mutual stewardship.

Prior to joining Keck Observatory in 1993 during its construction phase, Matsuda worked at Boeing on the design and fabrication of the 777 airplane. He holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from University of Washington.

Born and raised in Hawaiʻi, Matsuda is passionate about creating a resilient and sustainable future for Hawaiʻi’s next generations. He serves on Hawaiʻi Community Foundation’s Hawaiʻi Island Leadership Council, is a past-trustee at Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy, and is an Omidyar Fellow. Drawing upon his relationships and knowledge in astronomy and in the local community, Matsuda seeks to build bridges between the two, with aspirations of a vibrant future for all. Matsuda is the first Hawaiʻi-born director of Keck Observatory.


John O’Meara, W. M. Keck Observatory Chief Scientist
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Peter Wizinowich, W. M. Keck Observatory Chief of Technical Development
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CARA Board of Directors

Board Chair

George R. Blumenthal, Chair
Chancellor Emeritus, University of California at Santa Cruz, Director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education

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Thomas Soifer, Vice-Chair 
Director, Spitzer Science Center, California Institute of Technology

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Board of Directors

Katherine Newman
Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, University of California

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Fiona Harrison
Kent and Joyce Kresa Leadership Chair, Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy and Benjamin M. Rosen Professor of Physics at Caltech

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Bruce Macintosh
Director, University of California Observatories (UCO)

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Chris Martin
Director, Caltech Optical Observatories, California Institute of Technology

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Board Liaisons

Hashima Hasan, NASA Liaison
Program Scientist, NASA

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Doug Simons Director
Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii

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T.J. Keck, Keck Representative
W. M. Keck Foundation

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Science Steering Committee

See list of members


Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.