side graphic
side graphic

University News - Fall 2009

Cal Poly on Forbes Magazine’s List of America’s Best Colleges

Cal Poly has been named one of America’s top colleges and universities by Forbes magazine.
The list puts Cal Poly at No. 201 on a list of 600 colleges and universities. Cal Poly is the highest-ranked California State University campus on the list. It is the second year Forbes has produced the list. Cal Poly jumped up from No. 369 on last year’s list.

“It's always good to be recognized as one of the best. Of course, the real evidence of Cal Poly's strength lies in what our alumni accomplish in their professional lives,” said Cal Poly President Warren J. Baker. “This list affirms what we hear over and over from business and industry leaders: They like to hire our graduates, because Cal Poly's "learn by doing" experience prepares them to contribute on day one.”
More on the Forbes rankings

Cal Poly Ice Cream Featured at Annual Capitol Hill Social

Faculty eating ice cream

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), left enjoys Cal Poly-made ice cream at the International Dairy Foods Association’s 27th annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party in June. Aderholt speaks with IDFA Chairman Paul Kruse (right) and an unidentified woman.

Photo courtesy International Dairy Foods Association

Ice cream made by Cal Poly’s Dairy Products Technology Center was featured June 18 at the International Dairy Foods Association’s 27th annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party. About 8,000 people – most of them members of Congress and their family and friends – attended the event at Upper Senate Park, across the street from the Capitol. Cal Poly’s English Toffee Reduced-Fat Ice Cream with Probiotics was served at the VIP tent, where most of the senators and representatives gathered. The prototype ice cream has about 27 percent less fat than normal ice cream and was made with probiotics, beneficial bacteria linked to digestive health and immunity.
More on Cal Poly Ice Cream on Capitol Hill

Three Chosen to Receive Outstanding Staff Award

Cal Poly 2008-09 Outstanding Staff Award recipients are Vera Gee, administrative analyst/specialist in Admissions, Recruitment and Financial Aid; George Leone, equipment technician II in Mechanical Engineering; and Colleen Rodriguez, administrative support assistant in Fiscal Services-Payroll Services. The President recognized the honorees at Fall Conference on Sept. 14.
More on the Outstanding Staff Award winners

Cal Poly Professor Emeritus Receives 2009 Accounting Exemplar Award

Cal Poly Professor Emeritus Mary Beth Armstrong received the Accounting Exemplar Award for 2009 on Aug. 2. The Public Interest Section Accounting Exemplar Award is given to either an accounting educator or an accounting practitioner who has made notable contributions to professionalism and ethics in accounting education and/or practice, by serving as a role model and/or by making significant contributions to the profession in a manner which serves the public interest. Armstrong, a certified public accountant, began her career at Cal Poly in 1984 as an associate professor in the College of Business.
More on Armstrong’s Accounting Exemplar Award

Cal Poly Wines Capture Medals at San Francisco Competition and Mid-State Fair

Cal Poly captured medals with each of the four 2007 wines it entered in this year’s San Francisco International Wine Competition. Judges at the prestigious event awarded a double-gold medal to the Mustang Red wine (a blend of Paso Robles Zinfandel and Edna Valley Syrah). Cal Poly also captured a gold medal for its Syrah and silver medals for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Meanwhile, the 2007 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay also each won a gold medal in the wine competition for the California Mid-State Fair  in Paso Robles.
More on the Cal Poly Wines Medals

College of Science and Mathematics Adopts College of Education, Liberal Studies

Cal Poly’s College of Education and Liberal Studies Department merged with the College of Science and Mathematics on July 1. The move will help address the state and national issue of preparing K-12 teachers to teach science and mathematics and will provide cost savings for the university. Phil Bailey, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, believes Cal Poly can help address the state’s teacher shortage by continuing to graduate highly qualified teachers – more specifically highly qualified science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers.
More on the merger

Cal Poly Graphic Communication Institute Publishes Book on Princess in SLO

The Cal Poly Graphic Communication Institute (GrCI) is publishing a new book about a real-life princess who lived in San Luis Obispo. “She Cried for Mother Russia: A Princess in San Luis Obispo” tells the story of Tatiana Volkonsky, a Russian princess and longtime San Luis Obispo resident who died in 1988, never publicly revealing the secrets of her past.

Author Friedl E. Semans Bell, a close friend and neighbor of Tatiana, chronicles the princess’s harrowing escape from the brutal Bolsheviks after the 1917 revolution and her subsequent life in Central California. The book and story have ties to Cal Poly. The princess’s younger son, Alec Kelley, graduated from Cal Poly.  And the author’s father, Hubert Semans, was the first dean of humanities on campus. The 200-page book includes 21 photographs. An initial limited edition run of 1,500 copies is being printed.

Sale proceeds will benefit the San Luis Obispo Historical Society and the Graphic Communication and English departments’ educational programs at Cal Poly. Cost is $21.95 plus tax and shipping. To reserve a copy, contact GrCI Program Manager Lyndee Sing at (805) 756-2645 or More information on the book can be found at


ROBERT L. CLEATH – Longtime Speech Communications professor Robert L. Cleath died July 6, 2009, at age 80. Cleath, who came to Cal Poly in 1965, was one of the founding members of the original Speech and Drama Department and was a university Distinguished Teacher. He retired from full-time teaching in 1980, although he continued to teach part-time in the Faculty Early Retirement Program through 2002.

GEORGE GORDON CLUCAS – George Clucas – a former political science professor, research director and dean of Finance and Development – died July 11, 2009 at age 88. Clucas worked as dean of Cal Poly’s Finance and Development Department from 1956 to 1962, when left to work in the CSU Chancellor’s office and later earn a doctorate in public administration. He returned to Cal Poly first as director of Research and Development and then to become the first acting dean of the school of Business and Social Sciences. He later joined the faculty of the Political Science department to teach public administration. He retired in 1982.

WILLIAM W. ARMENTROUT – William W. Armentrout, a former professor of education at Cal Poly, died July 21, 2009 at age 90. Armentrout was a member of the Cal Poly faculty from 1953 until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1980. He served in various capacities on campus, including as coordinator of Teacher Education and Licensing. He also was a past president of the Cal Poly Faculty Council.

RICHARD VANE JONES – Former Cal Poly professor Richard Vane Jones, 89, died July 28, 2009 in San Luis Obispo. Jones served in both World War II and the Korean War. He earned a doctorate in education at UC Berkeley then went on to become a high school principal, a superintendent of schools, and finally a professor of education at Cal Poly, where he retired.