Sun Ming Hsien, who was born in 1937 in Taiwan, received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from National Taiwan University in 1960, a master's degree in plant pathology from the University of Minnesota in 1966, and doctoral degree in plant pathology from Purdue University in 1971.
He was dedicated to crop improvement in Taiwan, working as commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry in Taiwan and later chairman of the Taiwan Council of Agriculture. Sun is considered one of Taiwan's most significant agricultural leaders and worked as the executive director of Taiwan 21st Century Foundation and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center.
When Sun received the Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals from the University of Minnesota in 2005, the selection committee cited his visionary leadership in "a long and distinguished career in research, administration, non-profit governance, national government, and international diplomacy."
In 2001, Sun published his autobiography “Big Agriculture – My Life Journey in Agriculture” to summarize the history, challenges, and solutions to Taiwan’s agriculture industry. He wrote, “I have a dream. I hope I can live until 100 years old, not for personal well-being but for my passion of working on agricultural development. With more time, I could work towards the significant accomplishment of Dr. Norman Borlaug (University of Minnesota alumnus and Nobel Prize Winner).”