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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 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.

Cal Poly Names Performing Arts Center Managing Director

A veteran of Seattle theater management was named managing director of the Performing Arts Center. Christopher F. Miller brings more than 31 years of experience in general management, business development, operations, patron service production and facilities management for major performing arts public assembly venues to the position. Miller will begin his new role May 9. The PAC’s managing director is an important leadership position for Cal Poly and the San Luis Obispo community. The premier performing arts venue in San Luis Obispo County is the result of a 30-year partnership involving the university, the city of San Luis Obispo and the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center.

Cal Poly Again Ranked Hign on Return on Investment by

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — A Cal Poly education continues to be one of the best values among the nation’s top schools, has announced. The university ranks 15th among the nation’s public universities and No. 32 among all institutions for return on tuition investment, according to a new listing from the online salary, benefits and compensation information company. Among public California institutions, Cal Poly is second in ROI behind UC Berkeley. In addition, in a separate recent ranking, Forbes named Cal Poly as one of the 300 Best Value Colleges in the U.S. More on the rankings.

Cal Poly Announces New Executive Director of University Housing

Cal Poly announces the appointment of Jo Campbell — a 35-year veteran of higher education leadership, inclusive practices and administration — as the university’s new assistant vice president for student affairs and executive director of university housing. Campbell — formerly a director of residential life at the University of Toledo, Ohio and senior associate director of housing at the University of Illinois at Chicago — will begin at Cal Poly in July. In her new role, Campbell will assume responsibility and management of university housing, which includes residential education, facilities maintenance and custodial, housing assignments and marketing. As a division leader, Campbell will also develop new residential facilities, including the programming of the Student Housing South project (1,475 first-year student beds) scheduled to open in fall 2018, as well as additional residential opportunities. Cal Poly currently houses approximately 40 percent of its student body and seeks to house up to 65 percent in the future. More on Campbell.

Cal Poly Institute's Wave Energy Project Receives $1.5 Million Research Grant

Cal Poly’s Institute for Advanced Technology & Public Policy is contracted to receive a one-year $1.5 million grant for from the U.S. Department of Energy for second phase of assessing the feasibility of siting a National Wave Energy Test Facility off the Central Coast. This is the second U.S. Department of Energy grant awarded to the Institute for this purpose, totaling $2.25 million. “We’re excited that the U.S. Department of Energy has decided to provide a second round of funding for this important wave energy research here at Cal Poly’s Institute for Advanced Technology & Public Policy,” said Dr. Sam Blakeslee, who serves as the Institute Director and Principal Investigator for the project. The California Energy Commission estimates the statewide wave energy generation potential to be 7,500 megawatts, or about three and a half times the electricity produced by the recently retired San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in Southern California. More on the wave energy grant.

Cal Poly Receives $2.6 Million Grant to Foster Stem Cell Scientists

Cal Poly’s regenerative medicine program has received a five-year, $2.6 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the Golden State’s stem cell institute. Cal Poly is among just 15 programs funded by CIRM to support the training of a workforce capable of accelerating stem cell treatments to patients with unmet clinical needs. The university’s master’s degree specialization in regenerative medicine was founded in 2009 with an initial $1.4 million grant from CIRM. Offered to 10 students each year, the interdisciplinary program includes graduate students from biomedical engineering, biology and animal science. More on the grant and its impacts.

Cal Poly Exceeds State’s Order for 25 Percent Water Reduction

Cal Poly surpassed Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for a 25 percent reduction in water use by 2016. “I am very pleased to report that Cal Poly achieved a reduction in total water use of 31 percent, exceeding both the California State University system’s original 10 percent target and the governor’s subsequent 25 percent goal,” said Dennis Elliot, Cal Poly’s director of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability. Elliot attributed the savings to Cal Poly’s 2015 Drought Response Plan, a collaborative effort between Facilities, Housing, Associated Students Inc., Campus Dining, and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Services. “The commitment and innovation demonstrated by every water-using entity on campus was critical to the plan’s success, and President Jeffrey D. Armstrong encouraged the team to strive for the deepest reductions possible,” Elliot said. More on the university's conservation efforts.

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 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.