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University News

U.S. News Calls Cal Poly: Best in the West for 18th Year

For the 18th straight year, Cal Poly has been rated the best public-master’s university in the West in U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 America’s Best Colleges guidebook.

Cal Poly again ranked sixth in the magazine’s overall list of the West’s best universities, including both public and private institutions, that provide “a full range of undergraduate and master’s-level programs but few, if any, doctoral programs.”

U.S. News ranks colleges that grant doctoral degrees, such as those in the University of California system, in a separate category.

“We are pleased that U.S. News has recognized the university once again for a level of excellence that Cal Poly faculty, staff and students have worked to achieve, and of which the entire university community is justifiably proud,” said Interim president Robert Glidden.

Cal Poly’s College of Engineering program moved up one spot to second best public master’s engineering program in the country, bested only by the U.S. Military Academy.

Click here for more on the U.S. News rankings


Cal Poly Moves Up on Forbes Magazine’s List of Best Colleges and Universities
Cal Poly ranks No. 177 on Forbes magazine’s list of the 610 best colleges and universities in the U.S. for 2010, up 24 places from 2009. The list, released this week, puts Cal Poly at No. 21 among 50 California colleges and universities featured.

And just as last year, Cal Poly is the highest ranked California State University campus on the list. It is the third year Forbes has produced the list. Cal Poly appeared at No. 369 on the inaugural 2008 list, and then at No. 201 in 2009.

“With our rigorous academics, bright students, dedicated faculty and alumni and focus on hands-on learning, it’s no surprise that Cal Poly continues to climb the ranks of Forbes’ list,” said interim Cal Poly President Robert Glidden. “Cal Poly is only improving on its longstanding reputation for producing committed, well-prepared professionals who make a real difference in the world.”

Click here to read more on the Forbes ranking


President Emeritus Warren J. Baker (far left) poses with former students who were forced to leave Cal Poly during World War II because of internment. These men, and families of others, received honorary degrees during a special ceremony on campus.

Cal Poly Presents Honorary Degrees to
Japanese Students Interned During WWII

During a special ceremony June 7, Cal Poly administrators presented honorary degrees to four former students and the families of seven others – all of the students Japanese-Americans whose academic pursuits were halted by internment during World War II.

Cal Poly is one of six campuses in the California State University system determined to have had students who were removed from their programs and interned in 1941 or 1942. The CSU Board of Trustees voted at its September 23, 2009 meeting to award special honorary bachelor of humane letters degrees to CSU students of Japanese ancestry whose college educations were disrupted by forced internment.

The CSU-wide effort was called the Nisei Diploma Project, taking its name from the Japanese term Nisei, which is used in countries in North America and Australia to refer to children born to Japanese immigrants in their new country.

“The internment of Japanese-Americans and Japanese immigrants during World War II represents the worst of a nation driven by fear and prejudice,” California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed said of the project. “By issuing honorary degrees, we hope to achieve a small right in the face of such grave wrongs.”

Cal Poly President Emeritus Warren J. Baker conferred the honorary degrees in a ceremony at the University House. A luncheon for the former students and family members followed, featuring remarks from former CSU Trustee Joan Otomo-Corgel and Dan Krieger, professor emeritus of history at Cal Poly.

Click here to read more about Cal Poly’s Nisei Project.
Click here to read more on the CSU Nisei Project.


Cal Poly Students Take Top Title in Scotland Dairy Judging Competition
Three Cal Poly students earned the top two team and individual awards in an international dairy cattle judging competition in Scotland.

Cal Poly Dairy Judging Team members Mandy Brazil, Kelli Carstensen and Sam Cheda traveled to the Royal Highlands Show in Scotland to participate in the invitational competition, held in late June.

The three Cal Poly students, along with recent high school graduate Rocco Cunningham, competed under the banner of the Petaluma Future Farmers of America. All four grew up in Petaluma and are longtime members of the Petaluma FFA group.

Click here for more on the students’ achievements in Scotland


Cal Poly’s Technology Park Opening with Two Tenants
Cal Poly recently signed a lease with Couto Solutions Inc. for approximately 3,500 square feet of space in the newly opened Cal Poly Technology Park.

Couto Solutions is a software development firm specializing in custom social networks for businesses and online communities. The company was founded in 2004 by Justin Couto, a former Cal Poly business graduate. Couto Solutions will maintain its headquarters, which includes its core software and development team, at the Tech Park.

Phase I of the Technology Park project encompasses a 25,000-square-foot building that was completed earlier this month. The first lease was signed in February with Applied Technologies Associates Inc. (ATA) for 3,000 square feet of space. ATA designs, builds and manufactures technology products for the oil industry.

Currently 9,000 square feet of space is leased, with 11,000 square feet of space still available. Individual labs/suites range from 500 to 3,200 square feet and are available for lease.

A project of Cal Poly’s California Central Coast Research Partnership (C3RP), the Tech Park will serve as a home on campus for technology-based businesses – particularly firms engaged in applied research and development. Companies located in the park benefit from the expertise and skills of Cal Poly faculty and students.

Click here for more on the Technology Park


Cal Poly’s Concrete Canoe team won the national championship in June at an event hosted by the university in SLO County.

Cal Poly Takes National
Concrete Canoe Championship

Cal Poly's Concrete Canoe team earned first place in the 'America's Cup' of Civil Engineering, held in San Luis Obispo County on June 19, pulling past 21 other collegiate teams to win American Society of Civil Engineers’ 23rd annual National Concrete Canoe Competition.

It was the first national title for the Cal Poly team, which competed in a 170-pound, white canoe named the Amazona. The victory also marks the first time that a school has hosted and won the championship simultaneously.

The annual event challenges competing teams to design, create and race canoes made of concrete. Throughout the year, teams of civil engineering students from across the country and Canada logged thousands of hours researching, designing and constructing their concrete canoes in search of the winning combination of creativity, knowledge and teamwork.

Click here for more on the concrete canoe victory


Cal Poly Recognized as Best Practice Award Winner in Energy Efficiency
Cal Poly received two best practice awards and an honorable mention for energy efficiency in June at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference. The three awards are the most of any CSU awarded.

The university received top honors for its Student Sustainability Program, called Green Campus, and HVAC Design/Retrofit on the Recreation Center renovation, and honorable mention for Lighting Design/Retrofit for the Recreation Center renovation.

The awards are given as part of the 2010 Best Practice Awards competition for the Energy Efficiency Partnership Program. The partnership includes the University of California, the California State University and the California Community Colleges.

Click here for more on Cal Poly’s energy efficiency honors


Two Cal Poly Wines Win Gold in Orange County
Two Cal Poly wines received gold medals recently at the Orange County Commercial Wine Competition. The winning wines were the 2008 Mustang Red, a red blend, and the 2008 Cal Poly ‘Poly Royal’ red dessert wine. Both were made by student winemakers in Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture Program from grapes grown in San Luis Obispo County. The Cal Poly wines took the gold medals in one of the state’s largest and most comprehensive competitions in a double-blind judging by wine industry peers. The winning “Mustang Red” and “Poly Royal” wines were featured at the Orange County Fair in July and August.

Click here for more on Cal Poly’s winning wines


Cal Poly’s Rugby team in action.

Cal Poly Team Invited to Compete in
Division I Rugby League in 2011

Cal Poly has been invited to participate in the 2011 USA Rugby College Division I Premier Championship league.

Cal Poly is one of 32 teams from around the country that will compete in the new intercollegiate league, according to the invitation letter from USA Rugby. Other participating schools include Army, Navy, Air Force, Brigham Young University, Penn State and Dartmouth.

The teams will be grouped into four divisions of eight squads. Cal Poly will compete in the Pacific Division along with UC Berkeley, UCLA, Central Washington, Claremont, San Diego State, St. Mary’s College and UC Davis.

“Cal Poly’s history of success on the West Coast makes it a natural fit, and we are excited to have them in the league,” said Todd Bell, Collegiate director for USA Rugby.

Click here for more on the new rugby league


Cal Poly ‘Renaissance Man’ Brian P. Lawler Named Educator of the Year
Cal Poly professor Brian P. Lawler has won this year’s Educator of the Year Award for Higher Education from the Electronic Document Systems Foundation.

Lawler teaches color management, digital printing, and typography at Cal Poly. He is a graphic arts and photographic expert with more than 30 years of experience in photography, typography and prepress. His specialty is color management and the integration of color systems in prepress work flows. He has also taught a humanities course, Values and Technology, for several years.

The award is presented to academic professionals who are dedicated to the advancement of the industry through education and who have made significant contributions in the classroom with their students, in curriculum development and within the document management and graphic communications marketplace.

Click here for more on Lawler’s award


Sandra Ogren, Retired Vice President for Advancement
Sandra Gardebring Ogren, who retired in the spring after six years as Cal Poly’s vice president for Advancement, died July 20 after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 63.

Ogren was named interim vice president in 2004. Former President Warren J. Baker made her appointment permanent in 2006. However, Ogren had battled a rare form of cancer for nine years, and the disease forced her to retire this past Spring quarter.

“I greatly respected Sandee’s wisdom, sound advice and tireless efforts on behalf of the university,” Baker said in a statement to the campus announcing Ogren’s passing. “She made extraordinary contributions during her tenure. The structure for fund raising and friend raising she put in place will serve the university well for many decades. Sandee brought a new perspective to our work and was admired by all who came in contact with her.”

Ogren came to Cal Poly from Minnesota, where she had worked as vice president for institutional relations for the University of Minnesota.

Before her career in higher education, Ogren served on the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1991 to 1998 and on a state appeals court from 1989 to 1991.

Her public service in the state also included service as a commissioner with the Minnesota Department of Human Services, director of the EPA’s enforcement division, and commissioner with the state’s Pollution Control Agency.