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Cal Poly Considers Workforce Housing Near Grand Avenue Campus Entrance

Cal Poly administration is considering the possibility of a proposed public-private partnership to build a workforce housing complex near its Grand Avenue entrance. The university is in the early stages of discussions regarding the proposed project, which would be built on land near the northeast intersection of Grand Avenue and Slack Street. The 10- to 15-acre parcel being considered is designated for residential housing on the university’s Master Plan update maps, which were shared publicly last year and have been available at The project — which could include up to 420 market-value units — would be targeted toward Cal Poly faculty and staff, as well as qualified members of the San Luis Obispo community. “We are eager to move forward with possible solutions to our urgent need for workforce housing,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “We believe this concept can help the university recruit and retain high-quality faculty and staff members while also easing impacts on the local housing market.” Find out more about the proposed project.

Jessica Darin Named President’s Chief of Staff at Cal Poly

Jessica Darin, deputy chief of staff for the California State University Chancellor’s Office and a 10-year veteran of higher education administration, has been named Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong’s new chief of staff and associate vice president, the university announced. Darin will oversee daily operations of the President’s Office, which includes University Communications, the office of Student Ombuds Services, and the Office of University Legal Counsel. She will also serve as Armstrong’s point of contact with Cal Poly’s Academic Senate, Associated Students, Inc., and other internal and external stakeholders. Darin will assume her new role May 2. “Jessica’s background as an administrator at both the campus and system level within California public higher education makes her an excellent fit for Cal Poly,” Armstrong said. “She has an innate understanding of our mission to help students become tomorrow’s leaders.Equally important, Jessica’s demonstrated professional excellence will serve Cal Poly well in a key position that touches all aspects of the campus as well as the surrounding community. We are excited to welcome her to the Cal Poly family.” Read more on Darin's appointment.

Cal Poly Float Wins Lathrop K. Leishman Trophy at 2016 Rose Parade

Cal Poly universities’ “Sweet Shenanigans” float received the Lathrop K. Leishman Trophy for the most beautiful non-commercial entry at the 127th Tournament of Roses Parade held New Year’s Day in Pasadena. It was the second consecutive year the universities’ float won the award that honors the former Tournament of Roses president and grand marshal who died in 1995. The 18- by 55-foot entry, designed and built by teams from Cal Poly and Cal Poly Pomona, celebrated the 2016 parade theme, “Find Your Adventure.” “Learn by Doing is on display for all the world to see,” said President Jeffrey D. Armstrong of the annual yearlong project. “Students from a variety of majors across our entire university use creativity, ingenuity and more than a little perspiration to produce a marriage of art and engineering covered in beautiful flowers.” Read more on the Rose Parade float's award.

Cal Poly Receives Record Athletics Donation: $10M for Golf Program

Retired Raytheon Company Chairman William H. (Bill) Swanson and his wife, Cheryl, have donated more than $10 million to the Cal Poly golf program — the largest single gift in the history of Cal Poly athletics and among the largest ever cash donations to a collegiate golf program in the U.S. The Swansons’ historic gift will provide essential, competitive support for Cal Poly’s men’s and women’s golf programs and position them to compete for Big West and national championships. The $10.188 million gift will be used to provide immediate cash support for scholarships and establish an operating endowment named the “Swanson Cal Poly Golf Program.” The endowment will fund new scholarships, focusing on engineering and first-generation student-athletes, and support participating in better national tournaments, more robust travel and recruiting budgets and improved equipment and gear for the men’s and women’s teams. “Bill and Cheryl’s gift is a testament to Learn by Doing and the lasting value of a Cal Poly education,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “We are so thankful for their support and the new opportunities their gift will provide to future student athletes. I am especially pleased that Bill, Cheryl and other supporters are providing cash for immediate full funding of scholarships and are also building the endowment for long-term support of the program.” More on the Swansons' donation.

Cal Poly’s Swanton Pacific Ranch Joins US Forest Service Research Program

Research in the redwoods at Swanton Pacific RanchCal Poly and the USDA Forest Service recently signed an agreement to include the university’s Swanton Pacific Ranch near Santa Cruz, Calif., in the federal Experimental Forests and Ranges program. The U.S. Forest Service’s system of Experimental Forests and Ranges provides places specifically designated and administered to enable the research necessary for developing improved methods of forest management. The five-year agreement between Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station will facilitate an increase in research projects at the 3,200-acre Swanton Pacific Ranch, aimed largely at monitoring and attempting to predict the effects of climate change on the nations farm, range and forest lands. “This is a mutually beneficial agreement that creates the potential for exciting collaborative research with the Forest Service and other experimental forests, and with other nearby universities,” said Swanton Pacific Ranch Director Brian Dietterick, a researcher in hydrology and watershed management and professor in Cal Poly’s Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences Department. Learn more about Cal Poly's agreement with the Forest Service.

Cal Poly Architecture Program Rated No. 2 Nationally by DesignIntelligence 

Cal Poly’s bachelor of architecture program was ranked No. 2 in the 2016 DesignIntelligence ranking of the country’s 34 best public and private architecture and design schools. Among public universities, Cal Poly’s program was rated No. 1 in the U.S. Noted for its high-quality program, Cal Poly’s bachelor of architecture program placed in the top 10 in eight of nine skill sets  Cal Poly was deemed strongest nationally in two categories: construction methods and materials and sustainable design practices and principles. Additionally, the bachelor of architecture program earned second place in cross-disciplinary teamwork and fourth in computer applications. In addition, Cal Poly’s bachelor of landscape architecture program earned the No. 6 spot in the national ranking. Both programs secured the title of “Best in the West,” placing No. 1 in undergraduate programs in top schools in the Western states. Find out more on the College of Architecture and Environmental Design's honors.

Cal Poly is the Best In the West for 23rd Consecutive Year

Cal Poly has kept its streak alive for 23 years as best public-master’s university in the West, according to the latest edition of the U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges guidebook. In the rankings released Sept. 9, Cal Poly tied for 10th in the magazine’s overall list of the West’s best universities, which includes 116 public and private institutions in 15 states, that provide “a full range of undergraduate and master’s-level programs but few, if any, doctoral programs.” “We are humbled by the recognition of this prestigious ranking,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “It is always gratifying to see Cal Poly honored for our singular Learn by Doing approach to education. Read more on this year's rankings.