The challenge in editing Cal Poly Magazine is selecting which great stories to share with you. The sheer abundance of stories about the success students, alumni, faculty and staff, is inspiring – but still, the editor has to decide which stories live or die.
For this issue, it was easy to decide to highlight Warren Baker’s 31-year tenure as Cal Poly president. But deciding on which highlights could be packaged into the magazine? Well … not so easy.
So we sought presidential guidance, and as you might guess, we learned a few things.
For starters, it was “almost by accident’’ that Dr. Baker became a university president, let alone stayed for 31 years. In speaking with us recently, he recalled that he never thought academic administration would be his long-term career at all.
“I accidentally got into this at a relatively young age, when I tried out being a dean at a college of engineering,” Baker said. “I really thought that I would not stay in the academic world.
“I have an engineering background. I had a consulting background, and I had worked with two or three corporations in that field. I didn’t have a plan to be a university president.”
But as president, he had a plan – quite a few plans, in fact, that over the years helped Cal Poly blossom in reputation for its learn-by-doing teaching methods and its ability to produce resourceful professionals ready to contribute to the workforce on Day One.
Along the way, Cal Poly became a truly comprehensive polytechnic university, renowned for its scientific and technical curriculum as well as for its distinctive offerings in business and the liberal arts.
Indeed, it was a fortunate accident for Cal Poly that Warren Baker found his way to San Luis Obispo – and stayed.
Now, as he is set to retire once a successor is identified and assumes office sometime in the next few months, we look back on a remarkable 31 years of Cal Poly’s growth.
Matt Lazier, editor