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Cal Poly Named Best in the West for 24th Consecutive Year

Cal Poly is once again the best public, master’s-level university in the West — the 24th straight year the university has earned the distinction in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual America’s Best Colleges guidebook. The 2017 guidebook lists Cal Poly in a tie with Saint Mary’s College for ninth place overall in the West for regional universities (up from from 10th place last year) and above all other public universities in the region. Cal Poly’s College of Engineering moves up two spots to No. 5 on the list of best master's/bachelor's program in the nation. As well, The Orfalea College of Business appears for the second straight year on the magazine’s list of best undergraduate business programs. Cal Poly also ranks sixth in the West (up from 10th last year) for most veteran-friendly universities — a listing that shows military vets and active-duty service members which top-ranked schools offer benefits that can help them make pursuing a college education more affordable. More on the rankings.

Cal Poly Women Engineers Win Top National Award for Sixth Straight Year

For the sixth consecutive year, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) conferred its Gold Award for outstanding overall programming on Cal Poly SWE. Cal Poly also placed second in the national Team Tech Competition for a catheter localization (mapping) device designed for St. Jude Medical. The sensor-enabled device can track catheter tips as they move through the body without using the X-ray-based imaging technique fluoroscopy. The multidisciplinary team of students, led by aerospace engineering major Sarah Kaye and electrical engineering major Trefor Szabo, included biomedical engineering majors Kathleen Balfour, Keele Peck and Kyra Schmidt; electrical engineering majors Tyler Scholz and Cecilia Yuen; mechanical engineering majors Sarah DeRosier, Alex Kost and Katrina Prodanov; and software engineering major Abby Schmiedt. In addition, Cal Poly SWE alumna Tracy Van Houten and one current member Rebecca Kandell were honored with national awards. More on the awards.

Cal Poly Researchers Awarded $513,000 Department of Defense Grant

A group of Cal Poly researchers in the field of human motion biomechanics have been awarded a three-year, $513,000 grant by the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity to improve the quality of life for military transtibial amputees. Combat safety advances such as battle armor and armored vehicles have saved lives, but more soldiers are returning home with below-knee or “transtibial” amputations. And although prosthetic limb design has advanced rapidly, even state-of-the-art prostheses do not completely restore natural biomechanics. As a result, veterans who use a prosthesis often develop osteoarthritis and joint pain in their remaining limb when they follow common fitness exercise regimens. The Cal Poly team will focus on identifying exercises that maintain intact limb knee and hip joint and cartilage tissue loads at safe levels and, consequently, prevent the onset of osteoarthritis. More on the grant.

Irrigation Training and Research Center is Industry ‘Partner of the Year’

Cal Poly’s Irrigation Training and Research Center (ITRC) has been named “Partner of the Year” by the national Irrigation Association in recognition of the center’s contributions to irrigation and long-standing support of the Irrigation Association. Nominated by irrigation industry members, the ITRC will be honored at the Irrigation Association’s annual convention and trade show Dec. 6 in Las Vegas, Nev. The center is being recognized for contributions that include the high caliber of Cal Poly graduates who gain work experience through the center and for the technical assistance and training it provides to the irrigation industry. Cal Poly’s ITRC has played a leadership role nationwide and internationally in programs that specialize in irrigation district modernization, water and energy optimization, water balances, water conservation, on-farm irrigation design and management, and landscape irrigation design and management. The ITRC supports the irrigation teaching program at Cal Poly through financial and material contributions and provides field experience for faculty and students. It employs 15 full-time staff and hires about 40 student researchers annually. More on the award.

Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Opens New SLO HotHouse Location

Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has opened a new 15,000-square-foot SLO HotHouse location in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo. The SLO HotHouse is a collaborative effort with the county, city and local business community, aimed at supporting innovators and entrepreneurs to build a unique startup culture in San Luis Obispo County. “The grand opening of the SLO HotHouse is a major investment in the future of San Luis Obispo that will benefit our community for generations,” said CIE Executive Director Tod Nelson. “Working with our partners in the county, city, and the business community, the possibilities are limitless. Increasing economic development opportunities will have a ripple effect across our region.” More on the new location.

Cal Poly Receives $20 Million Pledge for Multidisciplinary Research and Technology Center

Cal Poly has received a pledge of $20 million from alumnus William L. Frost and his wife, Linda, toward construction of a planned multidisciplinary undergraduate research and technology center on campus. The Frosts have pledged the gift in support of Cal Poly’s comprehensive polytechnic education and in hopes of attracting additional donations to fund the estimated $57 million Science & Agriculture Teaching and Research Complex — a center of at least 64,000 square feet that will feature research labs and technology space for Cal Poly’s Colleges of Science & Mathematics, Liberal Arts, and Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences. “This center will bring Learn by Doing alive for thousands of Cal Poly students across many disciplines,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “We are grateful to Bill and Linda for their generosity, vision and leadership on this project and their ardent support for undergraduate research.” The Frosts believe in Cal Poly’s model of involving students in real-world projects. Bill Frost is a 1972 Cal Poly graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. Linda Frost earned a degree in biology from San Jose State University. More on the pledge.