Candace M. Forbes


California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Candace M. Forbes is the co-founder of an innovative high-technology company who helped nurture its dynamic growth into one of the most successful producers of embedded computer technology. She then leveraged that success to further support her lifelong interest in expanding educational opportunities for children locally and around the world.

Mrs. Forbes earned her bachelor's degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a master's of business administration from Santa Clara University, with an emphasis on international business. While completing her master's degree, she and her husband, Bert, co-founded Ziatech Corporation in 1976 and, in her words, "created a family of the several hundred people who worked with us, and that turned out to be Ziatech's greatest legacy." Under their leadership for the next 24 years, Ziatech moved to the forefront of its high-tech niche, and was acquired by the Intel Corporation in 2000.​

After the acquisition, Mrs. Forbes retired as vice president and devoted her full energies to causes first awakened in her as a high school exchange student to Chile.

She has been involved with a wide array of institutions and organizations locally including Cal Poly, Cuesta College, the Performing Arts Center, Woods Humane Society as well as global organizations including UNICEF, CARE and AFS, a nonprofit international exchange organization for students and adults.

For her extensive service to the community and her philanthropic efforts, Mrs. Forbes received Cuesta College's Women of Distinction Award in 2008, and she and her husband received the Cal Poly President's Arts Award that same year.

In consideration of her distinguished professional accomplishments, her steadfast service to the arts, education, and children's issues locally and around the world, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo are proud to confer upon Candace M. Forbes the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.