List of Cal Poly Pomona Presidents - History

History

See also: History of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California.

Let it be the Cornell of the Pacific... where any person can find instruction in any study.

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Events leading to the foundation of present-day Cal Poly at Pomona began with the demise of the Voorhis School for Boys in San Dimas, California and its acquisition by the San Luis Obispo-based California Polytechnic School in 1938.

The California Polytechnic School was founded as a vocational high school when California Governor Henry Gage signed the Polytechnic School Bill on March 8, 1901 after its drafting by school founder Myron Angel. Voorhis School, on the other hand, had been established in 1928 as a private vocational school which provided elementary schooling for underprivileged boys and operated under the Christian religious principle, "education coupled with the Kingdom of God". Its founder Charles B. Voorhis and headmaster Jerry Voorhis maintained the school opened throughout the worst years of the Great Depression but persistent economic pressures forced them to transfer control to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1938. Hence, Voorhis School became the Cal Poly-Voorhis Unit and its educational offerings were raised to the same level as Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s –then a two-year college. The entire horticulture program was moved to the new satellite campus and the two units operated as one institution spanning two locations under the leadership of president Julian McPhee.

During World War II most of the student body was called to active duty, enrollment declined and the campus closed in 1943. Reopening after the war, Cal Poly-Voorhis Unit operated in San Dimas until 1956 when it moved to Will Keith Kellogg’s former horse ranch in the neighboring city of Pomona, California. Acknowledging its Kellogg legacy, Cal Poly-Voorhis Unit changed its name to Cal Poly Kellogg-Voorhis Unit and offered six programs in agriculture. The inaugural class of 1957 at the new campus consisted of 57 students graduating with Bachelor’s degrees in a ceremony held at the Rose Garden in Pomona and religious services at Voorhis Chapel in San Dimas. Also in 1957, Cal Poly Kellogg-Voorhis introduced the College of Engineering, the second academic unit after the College of Agriculture. The California Master Plan for Higher Education added the two Cal Poly campuses to the new California State College system in 1961 and Cal Poly Kellogg-Voorhis Unit opened its doors for the first time to 329 female students. President McPhee retired in 1966, and Cal Poly split into two different and independent universities. The partnership between the two campuses remains with their involvement in the annual Cal Poly Universities Rose Float.

To better reflect its new ties to the State College system, Cal Poly Kellogg-Voorhis changed its name to “California State Polytechnic College, Kellogg-Voorhis” in 1966 and became the 16th campus to officially join. Robert C. Kramer assumed presidency of the independent campus in 1966 (second overall as the university recognizes McPhee as its first) and California State Polytechnic College, Kellogg-Voorhis finally adopted its present-day name California State Polytechnic University, Pomona on June 1, 1972.

In 1998, Cal Poly received criticism when it planned to grant an honorary degree to Robert Mugabe. Mugabe’s negative humanitarian record as president of Zimbabwe lead to protests from staff, faculty and students, ultimately forcing the university to rescind the award.

Cal Poly underwent further growth in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, with the construction of the CLA Building (now soon to be demolished), academic facilities, expansion to the Cal Poly Pomona University Library and the addition of programs such as the Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies, the I-Poly High School and the U.R. Bronco undergraduate research program. Under president J. Michael Ortiz, Cal Poly launched its first comprehensive capital campaign in fall of 2008 to increase its permanent endowment. Nevertheless, the negative economic effects caused by the late-2000s recession has increased student fees, reduced enrollment availability, eliminated two athletic programs and introduced a mandatory furlough calendar for most of its 47,000 employees. Cal Poly Pomona’s financial endowment declined in value from $33.7 million in fiscal year 2007 to $27.6 million in 2009, before rising to $55.6 million in 2012.

Read more about this topic:  List Of Cal Poly Pomona Presidents

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