California Polytechnic State University
|California Polytechnic State University|
|Motto||Discere Faciendo (Latin)|
|Motto in English||To Learn by Doing|
|Established||March 8, 1901|
|Endowment||$168.4 million (2012)|
|Provost||Kathleen Enz Finken|
|Academic staff||1,221 (2012 Fall)|
|Admin. staff||1,394 (2012 Fall)|
|Students||19,703 (2013 Fall)|
|Undergraduates||18,738 (2013 Fall)|
|Postgraduates||965 (2013 Fall)|
|Location||San Luis Obispo, California, United States|
|Campus||Suburban, 9,678 acres (3,916.5 ha) Total; 1,321 acres (534.6 ha) for the Main Campus|
|Colors||Green and Gold|
|Athletics||NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision 20 Varsity Sports|
|Mascot||Musty the Mustang|
|Affiliations||California State University
Big West Conference
Great West Conference
|See Cal Poly Quick Facts|
California Polytechnic State University or California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, also known as Cal Poly San Luis Obispo or Cal Poly, is a public university located in San Luis Obispo, California, United States. Founded in 1901 as a vocational high school, it's currently one of only two polytechnic universities in the 23-member California State University system. Comprising six distinct colleges, the university offers 147 Bachelor's degrees, 49 Master's degrees, and 7 teaching credentials. The university does not confer Doctoral degrees. The university is one among a small group of polytechnic universities in the United States which tend to be primarily devoted to the instruction of technical arts and applied sciences.
Cal Poly is a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. Cal Poly is known for its "learn by doing" educational philosophy that encourages students to solve real-world problems by combining classroom theory with experiential laboratory exercise. Cal Poly is one of four California State Universities that participate in the Big West Conference in athletics.
- 1 History
- 2 Campus
- 3 Academics
- 4 Student life
- 5 Athletics
- 6 Administrative organization
- 7 Notable alumni
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 Sources
- 11 External links
Cal Poly was established in 1901 when Governor Henry T. Gage signed the California Polytechnic School Bill. The university started out as the California Polytechnic School founded by Myron Angel. The polytechnic school held its first classes on October 1, 1903, offering secondary level courses of study, which took three years to complete. The first incoming class was 20 students. The school continued to grow steadily, except during a period from the mid 1910s to the early 1920s when World War I led to drops in enrollment and drastic budget cuts forced fewer class offerings.
In 1924, Cal Poly was placed under the control of the California State Board of Education. In 1933, the Board of Education changed Cal Poly into a two-year technical and vocational school. The institution began to offer Bachelor of Arts degrees in 1940, with the first baccalaureate exercises held in 1942. The school was renamed the California State Polytechnic College in 1947 to better reflect its higher education offerings, and in 1949, a Master of Arts degree in education was added. In 1960, control of Cal Poly and all other state colleges was transferred from the State Board of Education to an independent Board of Trustees, which later became the California State University system.
The college was authorized to offer Master of Science degrees in 1967. From 1967 to 1970, the school’s curriculum was reorganized into different units (such as the School of Science and Math, the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the School of Architecture, which was created in 1968). Cal Poly's FM radio station, KCPR, also began as a senior project in 1968. The state legislature changed the school’s official name again in 1971 to California Polytechnic State University. Since the 1970s, the university has seen steady enrollment growth and the construction of many significant buildings on campus. Cal Poly celebrated its centennial in 2001, and kicked off a $225 million fundraising campaign, the largest fund raising effort ever undertaken in CSU history. The Centennial Campaign raised over $264 million from over 81,000 donors, more than tripling the university’s endowment from $43 million to over $140 million. Cal Poly's endowment was ranked 296th out of 843 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada in 2012. In 1998 the university was referred to as the flagship campus of the California State University system by the chancellor of the CSU.
Relationship with Cal Poly Pomona
Cal Poly Pomona began as a satellite campus of Cal Poly in 1938 when a completely equipped school and farm were donated by Charles Voorhis and his son Jerry Voorhis of Pasadena, California, and was initially called the Voorhis Unit. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation then donated an 812-acre (328.6 ha) horse ranch in Pomona, California to Cal Poly in 1949. Located about one mile (1.6 km) from the Voorhis campus, the two became known as Cal Poly Kellogg-Voorhis. Cal Poly Kellogg-Voorhis broke off from Cal Poly in 1966, becoming the fully independent university, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona). Since 1949, the two campuses have cooperated on creating a float for the Rose Parade. Today, the long-running float program still boasts floats designed and constructed entirely by students year-round on both campuses.
1960 football team plane crash
On October 29, 1960, a chartered plane carrying the Cal Poly football team, hours after a loss to Bowling Green State University, crashed on takeoff at the Toledo Express Airport in Toledo, Ohio. 22 of the 48 people on board were killed, including sixteen players.
In 1904, Cal Poly opened as a coeducational school with 40 new male students and 12 new female students. In 1930, Cal Poly banned females from the entire school until 1956 (26 years later) when Cal Poly once again began admitting female students. The university remains coeducational today, with females constituting 44.9% of the Fall 2012 total student population.
The university's style guide indicates its official names are "California Polytechnic State University" and "Cal Poly." When necessary to distinguish between Cal Poly and its former satellite campus, Cal Poly Pomona, the lengthier "Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo" is occasionally used. The California State University system's style guide identifies the university as "California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo."
20th century early leaders (1902–1979)
Leroy Anderson, 1902–1907: Appointed in May 1902, Leroy Anderson was instrumental in establishing the California Polytechnic as the first institution in the state to teach agriculture at the secondary level and the only institution other than the University of California where agriculture was taught. Born in Magee, New York in 1866, Anderson earned his PhD in 1897 at Cornell University. He taught there until 1900, when he came to California to join the agriculture faculty at the University of California. His recommendations for the Polytechnic School, submitted at the request of the board of trustees, resulted in his appointment as director in 1902. Anderson recruited the first faculty. He oversaw the construction of the campus buildings and the equipping of the agricultural and mechanics units. Throughout his five years he was a vigorous promoter of the school, lobbying with the state legislature for support and recruiting students throughout the state.
Leroy Burns Smith, 1908–1914: In 1905, Leroy Burns Smith began his affiliation with Cal Poly as an instructor in English, history and economics. An energetic supporter of the school, he was named vice-director in June 1907 and upon the resignation of Leroy Anderson, became the school's second director in January 1908. Like his predecessor, Smith was a graduate of Cornell University (1901). He came to Cal Poly with educational and administrative experience in the Young Men's Christian Association at the University of Wisconsin and in San Francisco. As the director of the California Polytechnic, Smith continued the campus development and the educational plan begun by Anderson. Smith extended the academic program from three years of study to four, and introduced a series of agricultural and domestic extension courses for men and women on the local farms. At his encouragement and under his advisement, student organizations flourished, and Cal Poly’s Student Association, precursor to the ASI, was formed.
Robert Weir Ryder, 1914–1921: The appointment of Robert Weir Ryder as the third director of the Cal Poly School was, in a sense, an affirmation of the importance of the school's engineering program. A graduate of the University of California, Ryder came to Cal Poly in 1911 as head of the Mechanics Department. Ryder’s administration was marked with numerous innovations to the Cal Poly curriculum, including a college preparatory course, auto mechanics, and a printing course, which was a precursor to today's journalism and graphic communications departments. With the introduction of an academic course, Cal Poly received accreditation by the University of California in 1917. A military training program was introduced at Cal Poly and after World War I, Cal Poly provided vocational training for disabled veterans.
Nicholas Ricciardi, 1921–1924: Nicholas Ricciardi became director of the Cal Poly School on July 1, 1921. On July 30, 1921, an act of legislature restructured the state normal school and vocational school systems. Cal Poly's local board of trustees was disbanded and Ricciardi, now "president," reported to the state superintendent of public instruction. A graduate of the University of California, President Ricciardi brought extensive experience in secondary and vocational education. He had served as director of vocational training for the Oakland school system and as head of the Twelfth District Board for Vocational Training of World War I veterans. At Poly, Ricciardi emphasized "vocational efficiency and efficient citizenship" of students. He introduced vocational testing and guidance into Cal Poly’s educational mission. The Journalism and Graphics Communications departments originated during this period in the new "printing course."
Margaret Chase (Acting), 1924: Margaret Chase, the only woman to head the California Polytechnic, joined its faculty in 1908 as instructor in English and served the institution in a variety of teaching and administrative capacities. Born in Canada, Chase graduated from Dalhousie University and received her M.A. from the University of California. As head of the Academic Department, Chase was instrumental in attaining accreditation from the University of California during the Ryder administration. Having served as Ricciardi's vice-president, Chase was the obvious choice for an interim executive upon his resignation. In a period of fiscal austerity and intense scrutiny of the school's educational mission, Chase provided a sense of continuity and optimism for students and faculty. With the appointment of President Benjamin Crandall, Chase resumed the post of vice president. She also continued as head of the Academic Department and in 1928, was made dean of the Junior College Division. Chase retired from Cal Poly in June 1945. Chase Hall is named in her honor.
Benjamin Ray Crandall, 1924–1933: In Benjamin Crandall, Cal Poly acquired a well-respected educator with teaching and administrative experience at both the secondary and university level. He inherited a somewhat embattled Cal Poly and his tenure was one of constant re-evaluation, reorganization, expansion and retrenchment. With degrees in pedagogy from the University of Wyoming and the University of Denver, and additional graduate training at Cornell and the University of California, Crandall served as superintendent of schools in several western cities prior to becoming a professor of agricultural education at the University of California in 1921. In 1924, he was urged by the State Board of Education and the governor to accept the presidency of Cal Poly. In 1926, the project system, predecessor of the senior projects, was applied in agricultural courses. In 1927, the opening of the two-year Junior College Division foreshadowed Cal Poly's evolution into a university, and a new aeronautics program was added to the Engineering Department. In 1929, as part of a reorganization of the school, enrollment was limited to male students, and by 1933, the college preparatory course was eliminated. The Polytechnic became a vocational institute open only to students over the age of eighteen. Crandall Gymnasium is named in his honor.
Julian A. McPhee, 1933–1966: A graduate of the University of California, obtaining a B.S. in 1917 and a masters degree in 1928, Julian McPhee first gained experience in agricultural education in the U.C. Agriculture Extension Service and as director of vocational agriculture at El Dorado County High School and Gilroy Union High School. McPhee’s influence in the State Bureau of Agricultural Education helped save the flagging school from being closed by the state. McPhee was instrumental in the reorganization of Cal Poly into a single-sex institute for men over the age of 18. In 1933, McPhee was appointed president of the California Polytechnic and served concurrently as chief of the Bureau of Agricultural Education, California State Department of Education. Then a two-year technical institute, Cal Poly, under President McPhee's leadership, evolved into a four-year college in the California State College system. During WWII, McPhee served as director of California’s War Food Production Training Program. He later served as acting chief of the Bureau of Readjustment Education, assistant executive officer of the State Board of Vocational Education, and director of Vocational Education for the State of California. He was awarded the LL.D. by Armstrong College in 1952. In 1966, after thirty-three years as president of Cal Poly, Julian A. McPhee retired.
Dale W. Andrews (acting), 1966–1967: Dale W. Andrews received his B.A. from the University of California, Davis in 1941 and his M.A. in agricultural education at Cal Poly in 1952. Andrews joined the Cal Poly faculty in 1950 as an instructor in agricultural education. He is credited with establishing the annual Poly Royal buttons. In 1960, Andrews was named Special Educational Services coordinator by President Julian McPhee. In 1966, he was appointed vice-president and then acting president when President McPhee retired. He was named executive vice-president in 1973. In 1979, he was once again named acting president following the retirement of President Robert E. Kennedy.
Robert E. Kennedy, 1967–1979: Robert E. Kennedy received his B.A. from San Diego State College in 1938, his M.A. in journalism from Stanford University in 1950, and his PhD in education administration from Claremont Graduate School (now Claremont Graduate University) in 1966. Kennedy joined the Cal Poly faculty in 1940 as a journalism instructor. He served as advisor to student publications, and during WWII, with the arrival of U.S. Naval training programs on the Cal Poly campus, instructed cadets in communications. In 1946, Kennedy became head of the Journalism Dept., to which title he added public relations director in 1949. He was assistant to President Julian McPhee from 1950 to 1957; dean of the Arts and Sciences Division from 1957 to 1959; and vice president of Cal Poly from 1959 to 1967. Following the retirement of President McPhee, Kennedy was appointed president. In 1972, under President Kennedy's leadership, California Polytechnic State College was officially designated California Polytechnic State University. During his long tenure as faculty and administrator at Cal Poly, Robert Kennedy represented the college on numerous state and national education councils, including the Chancellor's Council of Presidents and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). For the AASCU he served as a member of the board of directors, a representative to the Education Commission of the States and a member of AASCU committees on agriculture, public relations, and state relations. In 1978, in honor of his long and dedicated service to Cal Poly, the CSUC Trustees voted to name the new Cal Poly library "The Robert E. Kennedy Library."
Late 20th century to present day leaders (1979–present)
Warren J. Baker, 1979–2010: Holding BS and MS degrees in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame, Baker received his doctorate in geotechnical engineering from the University of New Mexico.
Under Baker’s leadership, Cal Poly consistently earned national recognition for academic excellence including 17 years in a row as the best public-master's university in the West by U.S. News & World Report. This is largely due to Cal Poly's learn by doing educational methodology that encourages students to solve real-world problems by combining classroom theory with experiential laboratory exercise. Also during Baker’s tenure, admission to Cal Poly became increasingly competitive. Freshmen SAT scores and grade-point averages steadily increased and as a result, applications to the university increased nearly fivefold over the past 30 years making Cal Poly one of the most selective public universities in the nation.
Applied research programs also expanded over the Baker years. Among the new centers and institutes for applied research established since 1979 were the Irrigation Training and Research Center, the Environmental Biotechnology Institute, the Dairy Products Technology Center, the Collaborative Agent Design (CAD) Research Center, and the Brock Institute for Agricultural Communication. Baker also oversaw an aggressive upgrade and expansion of campus buildings and facilities that approached $1 billion over his 30 years, thanks to investment from a variety of public and private sources.
Jeffrey D. Armstrong, 2011–present: Jeffrey D. Armstrong currently serves as Cal Poly's president. President Armstrong received his bachelor's degree in agriculture from Murray State University. He received both his master's and doctorate in physiology and endocrinology from North Carolina State University. Armstrong joined the Cal Poly campus in 2011 after tenure at North Carolina State University (faculty), Purdue University (Head of the Department of Animal Sciences) and Michigan State University (Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources).
Owning 9,678 acres, Cal Poly is the largest land-holding public university in California (the next largest is the University of California, Davis with 7,309 acres). Part of the Cal Poly property is the Swanton Pacific Ranch, a 3,200-acre (1,290 ha) ranch located in Santa Cruz County, California, outside the town of Davenport. The ranch provides educational and research opportunities, encompasses rangeland, livestock, and forestry operations for the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental sciences, and fosters Cal Poly’s teaching philosophy of “Learn by Doing” with emphasis on sustainable management of agricultural practices.
The Cal Poly Master Plan calls to increase student population from approximately 17,000 students to 20,000 students by the year 2020–2021. To maintain the university's "Learn by Doing" philosophy and low class sizes, the master plan calls for an increase in classrooms, laboratories, and professors.
- The Center for Science and Mathematics
- Will replace aging "spider" Science Building 52, built in the 1950s, with a new 189,000-square-foot (17,600 m2) structure. The $119 million, six-story building was made possible by voter-approved state education bonds and $18 million in private donations. It is currently under construction and set to open in 2013. The center will add new laboratories, classrooms, and offices for the physics, chemistry and soil science programs, as well as an open area and terraces for student study and meeting places. The top floor of the Center will house labs and offices for the school's Western Coatings Technologies Center and the Environmental Biotechnology Institute. It is planned to be the largest and most technologically advanced structure on campus once completed. In the space between the remaining wings of the old "Spider Building" and the new Center will be Centennial Park, a landscaped central green.
- The Academic Center and Library Building Project
- Program planning for an expanded Library and Academic Center began in 2007. Current plans call for a design phase to begin in 2013, with a two-year construction phase projected to begin in 2015 or earlier. The new Academic Center will be a LEED-certified building of nearly 113,000 gsf, connected with the original Kennedy Library by a broad, above ground concourse. Formal and informal meeting spaces, including ample collaborative spaces, will encourage interactions among students, faculty, and staff from across the entire campus and community.
Campus parking is limited. In its most recent survey of available parking spaces on campus, the Cal Poly University Police reported 2,892 general purpose parking spaces, 3,492 dorm resident spaces, and 8,648 total spaces. In its facilities Master Plan, the university admits that while more parking spots will be added, the actual ratio of parking to students will decrease since enrollment is expected to increase sharply. To resolve the disparity, the Master Plan calls on the university to reduce the demand for individual vehicle parking. As part of that plan, the university has constructed additional dorms and has tried to make campus life more desirable. In addition, Cal Poly Commuter and Access Services has successfully promoted alternatives to commuting in single occupancy vehicles: in the past 10 years, bus use has more than doubled and the use of bicycles has close to quadrupled.
Currently, there are over 6,500 bike rack spaces and 224 secure bike lockers available on campus; 57% of students and 33% of faculty/staff live within 5 miles of the Cal Poly campus, an easy bike commute. The city's SLO Transit bus system provides service to and from campus. Cal Poly financially supports SLO Transit with funding from parking citation revenue (not from state general funds nor from student tuition), so faculty, staff, and students ride for free. Bus service throughout the county is provided by SLO Regional Transit Authority. Discounted passes are available to the Cal Poly community.
- College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
- College of Architecture and Environmental Design
- Orfalea College of Business
- College of Engineering
- College of Liberal Arts
- College of Science and Mathematics
|U.S. News & World Report||9|
|Master's University class|
According to U.S. News & World Report's 2014 America's Best Colleges report, Cal Poly is ranked 1st in the Western United States for regional public schools whose highest degree is a Master's for the 21st straight year  and 9th overall (including private schools), with the College of Engineering ranked 8th for undergraduate engineering schools in the U.S. whose highest degree is a Master's. Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business once again has been named to BusinessWeek magazine’s list of the nation’s top undergraduate business colleges, ranked No. 64 on the 2013 list.
In 2013 Forbes magazine rated Cal Poly No. 170 out of the 650 best private and public colleges and universities in America. In 2008, the first year of the list, Cal Poly was ranked No. 369 out of 569.
Among schools whose highest degree is a master's, Cal Poly engineering programs were ranked by U.S. News & World Report's 2014 America's Best Colleges report (includes both private and public universities):
- Electrical Engineering: 5th overall)
- Computer Engineering: 3rd overall)
- Mechanical Engineering: 2nd overall)
- Civil Engineering: 3rd overall)
In the 2012 edition of "America's Best Architecture & Design Schools" published by the leading architecture and design journal DesignIntelligence, Cal Poly was the No. 4 undergraduate architecture program in the nation. The landscape architecture program was ranked 1st in the Western region.
Cal Poly’s graduate program in City and Regional Planning ranked No. 1 in the Planetizen 2011 Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs in the U.S. for programs whose highest degree is a Master's.
In 2009, the magazine Diverse Issues in Higher Education placed Cal Poly among the top 10 of its “Top 100 Degree Producers 2009” ranking. This places the university in the top 10 schools in the nation in granting degrees to Hispanic, Asian and other minority students in agriculture, architecture and engineering.
Cal Poly is considered one of the top investments for educational value, with a projected 30-year net return on investment of $1,151,700 according to PayScale's 2013 "College Education ROI Rankings." This ROI is the highest in the CSU system, higher than all of the University of California schools except Berkeley, and 37th highest of the 1,511 US colleges and universities that were ranked.
All undergraduate students at Cal Poly are required to complete a senior project. The senior project is intended to be a capstone experience for students receiving a baccalaureate degree to integrates theory and application from across a student's undergraduate educational experiences. The senior project consists of one or more of the following: a design or construction experience, an experiment, a self-guided study or research project, a presentation, a report based on internship, co-op, or service learning experience, and/or a public portfolio display or performance. Senior projects have often led to students obtaining jobs or recognition for their work. In July 2011, a company created from a Senior Project, Punchd, was acquired by Google. Jamba Juice, originally founded as "Juice Club", was inspired by the Senior Project idea, but was founded after the founders had graduated.
|* SAT out of 1600|
Cal Poly's admissions process is "more selective" according to U.S. News & World Report. For students entering Fall 2012, 11,545 freshmen were accepted out of 36,941 applicants, a 31.3% acceptance rate. Enrolled freshmen had an average high school GPA of 3.87, an average ACT Composite score of 27.18, and an average SAT score of 1231 (out of a possible 1600 for reading and math scores), with 85.4% coming from California, 13.8% from other states, and 0.8% from other countries. For transfer students, Cal Poly accepted 1,466 of 7,529 applicants, a 19.5% acceptance rate; enrolled transfers has an average GPA of 3.36.
For students entering Fall 2013, 13,939 freshmen were accepted out of 40,402 applicants, a 34.5% acceptance rate. Enrolled freshmen had an average high school GPA of 3.88, an average ACT Composite score of 28, and an average SAT score of 1273 (out of a possible 1600 for reading and math scores). All of those averages are the highest ever for any freshman class at Cal Poly.
Cal Poly requires students to declare a major when applying for admission, and the university then admits the most competitive applicants within each major based on GPA and SAT or ACT scores. Resultantly, changing majors at the university is difficult. Each major has adopted a specific change of major plan which includes required classes to be taken while maintaining a certain GPA (usually between 2.5–2.75) in order to be considered as a transfer candidate. In some cases, students wishing to change majors completely transfer to other universities.
Due to continued reductions in state funding, Fall 2011 fees for the average student reached approximately $2,600 per quarter. For comparison, the Spring 2002 fees for the average student were $760 per quarter. While total yearly fees for an in-state student were just $2,976 in 2002, students entering in Fall 2011 faced an annual fee of over $7,900.
Of the students enrolled in Fall 2011, 53.7% of undergraduates and 60.8% of first-time freshmen received some form of financial aid in 2011-12. The amount of financial aid awarded in 2011-12 totaled over $136 million, of which 68.2% came from federal funds, 19.8% came from state funds and 6.3% came from institutional funds. Loans comprised 59.0% of the financial aid, 31.5% came in the form of grants, and 6.4% in scholarships.
Cal Poly’s endowment more than tripled during its Centennial Campaign from US$43.1 million to US$140.1 million. Growth is attributed to gifts and prudent stewardship. However, since 2007, the university's endowment has fluctuated dramatically, going from $181.7 million in 2007 to $130.9 million in 2009, before rebounding to $168.4 million in 2012.
Cal Poly's on-campus student housing of 6,239 spaces is the largest student housing program in the California State University system. Cal Poly housed about 35 percent of Fall 2012 undergraduates in 28 dorms on campus, and 98.1 percent of first-time freshmen lived on campus, even though Cal Poly does not require them to do so. In addition, 50.8% of Cal Poly sophomores lived on campus in Fall 2012.
There are five distinct groups of residence halls on the Cal Poly campus. The five North Mountain halls, constructed in the 1950s, are the oldest on campus still used for residential purposes. The six "red-brick" halls were completed shortly afterward in 1959. The Sierra Madre and Yosemite halls were finished by 1968, and the Cerro Vista Apartments were completed in 2003. The Poly Canyon Village housing complex, with a similar style as the Cerro Vista apartments, was completed in 2009 at a cost of $300 million, making it the California State University system's largest construction project to date.
Each of the residence halls represent a different living community on campus. The six red-brick halls are the Living-Learning Program halls for the different colleges of Cal Poly. The five North Mountain halls are organizationally a part of the engineering Living-Learning Program. The Sierra Madre and Yosemite halls are the First-Year Connection Program halls and focus on freshman-oriented transition programs. All buildings house students of all majors. The Cerro Vista Apartments is the Transitions community for first-year and second-year students. Poly Canyon Village is the Sophomore Success Program community, which is open to primarily to sophomores, but also juniors and seniors, and helps students transition into independent living.
Since 1949, Greek organizations have been present at Cal Poly. The Greek community consists of three governing councils at Cal Poly: United Sorority and Fraternity Council (USFC), Interfraternity Council (IFC), and Panhellenic Association (PHA).
There are currently:
10 USFC Fraternities/Sororities: Alpha Kappa Delta Phi, Chi Delta Theta, Gamma Zeta Alpha, Lambda Phi Epsilon, Lambda Sigma Gamma, Lambda Theta Alpha, Lambda Theta Phi, Nu Alpha Kappa, Omega Xi Delta, Sigma Omega Nu
16 IFC Fraternities: Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Gamma Rho, Beta Theta Pi, Delta Chi, Delta Sigma Phi, Delta Upsilon, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Sigma Kappa, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Nu, Sigma Pi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Theta Chi, Zeta Beta Tau, Kappa Sigma
Week of Welcome orientation program
Also known as WOW, the Week of Welcome program serves as a volunteer-based orientation program for new students during the week prior to the beginning of the school year in September. Its purpose is to introduce students to the campus and the community and prepare them for a successful college career. New students are placed in a group of about 10–20 other new students led by two current Cal Poly student Orientation Leaders. The WOW groups participate in an array of orientation events in addition to activities both on- and off-campus. In 2010, the awareness section of the program won the 2010 National Orientation Directors Association (NODAC) Media & Publications Showcase Award in the Emerging Technologies. The awareness section was entirely developed by student volunteers. The program started in 1956 and is now the largest volunteer orientation program in the nation.
Cal Poly fields 20 varsity sports (10 each for men and women) and participates in the NCAA's Division I. Cal Poly generally competes in the Big West Conference, except football and wrestling. Cal Poly's football team competes in the Big Sky Conference; the wrestling team is a member of the Pacific-12 Conference. Prior to joining Division I in 1994, the school won 35 NCAA Division II national team championships and competed in the NCAA Division II California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). Cal Poly's mascot is Musty the Mustang, and the spirit group is the Mustang Maniacs.
Cal Poly also offers various non varsity sports. The Mustangs play college rugby in the California conference of Division !-A. The Mustanges are often ranked in the Top 25 nationwide, and their rugby sevens team has been ranked as high as 7th. The Mustangs finished 8th in the nation at the 2011 USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships, and 12th at the 2012 competition.
Four administrative divisions
The university is organized administratively into four divisions: Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Administration and Finance, and University Advancement. The academic division is organized into six colleges, each with its own dean. Academic Affairs also includes the Library, Research and Graduate Programs, and Information Technology Services.
Cal Poly Corporation
The Cal Poly Corporation is a public-benefit, nonprofit corporation and university auxiliary. It provides commercial services, fiscal services, and key support services to assist and promote the educational mission of Cal Poly and the California State University System (CSU). The Corporation engages only in those activities ancillary to state operation that are requested by Cal Poly’s President and approved by the CSU. The corporation was founded in 1940 and was known as the Cal Poly Foundation until February 1, 2006.
Cal Poly Foundation
The Cal Poly Foundation is an auxiliary organization and IRC 501(c)(3) public charity that accepts and administers tax deductible gifts to the university. The Cal Poly Foundation leads campus philanthropic activity by supporting fundraising activities and investing and managing the campus endowments.
Cal Poly Continuing Education
The Cal Poly Continuing Education provides access to degree, certificate, and professional development programs and services of the university to the citizens of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Monterey Counties and through distance learning technologies to students across the country.
Associated Students Inc.
The Associated Students Inc., (ASI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation owned and operated by Cal Poly student leaders. ASI has an annual operating budget in excess of $12 million. ASI provides co-curricular experiences for students, faculty, and staff, including events, speakers, concerts, intramural sports, fitness programs, aquatics, outdoor adventure trips, craft center enrichment courses, and child development. ASI manages the University Union, Recreation Center, Sports Complex, and Children’s Center, totaling more than 450,000 square feet (42,000 m2) of campus facilities.
The Cal Poly Alumni Association seeks to engage and serve alumni; to foster a lifelong connection between the University and its alumni; and to foster goodwill and support for the University. The association includes 15 regional and special interest chapters.
Cal Poly has more than 140,000 alumni living and working everywhere from New York to Washington D.C. to Wisconsin to Idaho to Hawaii.
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