June 3, 2015

Contact: Tessa Stevens

Cal Poly to Award Honorary Doctorate to Phyllis Madonna at June 13 Commencement Ceremony

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly will award an honorary doctorate degree to hotel owner and philanthropist Phyllis Madonna at a spring commencement ceremony set for 5 p.m. Saturday, June 13.

Madonna will receive the degree and address graduates of Cal Poly’s colleges of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences and Science and Mathematics at the ceremony, which will be held in Spanos Stadium on campus.

A resident and business owner in the San Luis Obispo community for more than 60 years and the mother of four proud Cal Poly alumni, Madonna is passionate about giving back to her community — driven especially by her love of education and the arts. 

Her generous sponsorship of Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School, San Luis Obispo High School, and Cal Poly will continue to benefit students for many years to come. She also has supported the San Luis Obispo Symphony, Festival Mozaic, I Madonnari, the Performing Arts Center, the SLO International Film Festival and the local Women’s Shelter.

Madonna’s legacy of support has earned her many distinctions in the local community. She has been San Luis Obispo Woman of the Year; a Cuesta College Woman of Distinction; Cattlewoman of the Year; San Luis Obispo Chamber Citizen of the Year; and grand marshal of Cal Poly’s Poly Royal parade and the San Luis Obispo Christmas Parade.

Cal Poly will hold three ceremonies for Spring 2015 commencement. The colleges of Engineering and Architecture & Environmental Design will graduate at 9 a.m. June 13. GoDaddy CEO and technology pioneer Blake Irving will deliver the keynote address. And alumna and Emmy-winning Southern California news anchor Laura Diaz will speak when the College of Liberal Arts and Orfalea College of Business graduate at 9 a.m. June 14. All ceremonies will take place in Spanos Stadium on campus.


More than 4,100 graduates are eligible to take part in commencement June 13 and 14. For more information,


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