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Memory Wall

Share Your Memory

Alumni, faculty and staff share their personal memories of Cal Poly Pomona. Do you have an interesting, funny, or nostalgic story? Share your story or photograph by filling out this online form or mail to Public Affairs, 3801 W. Temple Ave., Pomona, CA 91768.


1940's

Agriculture Alum Captures Campus History


Cal Poly Pomona students in front of Voorhis Chapel
Agriculture student Edward Dietz, Jr., class of 1950, was a member of the photography team during the 1947-48 academic year. With his 8mm photographs and 35mm movies, Dietz captured moments in student life and campus aerial views.

“I credit my two years at the Cal Poly, Voorhis campus with preparing me for a very successful and satisfying career. First, as an olive grower, then, as an army officer in Korea, an agricultural biologist, agricultural commissioner for Tehama Co., and regional coordinator for the State Department of Agriculture. It also began an on-going and very happy marriage. We met there, and were married in the Voorhis Chapel in 1950. What more could I want? Cal Poly Voorhis has a very special place in my heart.”

- Edward Dietz Jr., Fruit Industries, Class of 1950

1950's

Richard Hill of Cottage Grove, Oregon, spent his free time playing horseshoes with faculty members and hanging out with friends.

Fun and Games for Agriculture Student


Besides studying for his degree in Agriculture, Richard Hill of Cottage Grove, Oregon, spent his free time playing horseshoes with faculty members and hanging out with friends.

- Richard Hill, Agriculture

Alum Remembers Life on Voorhis Campus

“When my Navy service was complete in 1954, I signed up for the G.I. Bill and began my education at Cal Poly’s Voorhis campus. As I remember, it was small. There were less than 200 students, and the student body was all male. The dorms were at one end of the campus on a small hill and were referred to as “Vet Hill.” Most, if not all of the students, were veterans of the Korean War. At that time, the Voorhis campus was a three-year college and students were required to spend the fourth year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s campus to receive a bachelor’s degree. I lived in Glendora, a small town just a few miles from the campus, so I commuted to save a little money on dorm costs. I carpooled with my English teacher, Hugh La Bounty, who in later years became president of the university. Eddie Appel was my department head and mentor in the Horticultural Services and Inspection program. He was a truly great guy, and I was sorry to hear of his passing.

I believe it was in the 1940s that the college received the gift of the Kellogg Ranch, which included several hundred acres of land, as well as the Kellogg mansion in the hills overlooking the ranch. I believe construction of the science building started in 1955 or 1956. We were advised that the new science building would allow students to stay the fourth year and graduate from the Kellogg campus. The first graduating class was in 1957, and I graduated in 1958 in the Rose Garden. I worked for the USDA Ag Marketing Service for 10 years and in the corporate end of Safeway Stores for 25 years, retiring as Director of Quality Assurance for all purchased Safeway brands. That was 20 years ago.

Cal Poly Pomona was at the core of everything I’ve done and everything I have. Thank you so much.”

- Elbert Sturrock, Horticultural Services and Inspection, Class of 1958

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1960's



Roger Skinner, Hugh La Bounty, Dallas Yost, Tom Graham, Stan Jackson and Howard Thever reunited at a local restaurant in the mid-1970s.
Roger Skinner, Hugh La Bounty, Dallas Yost, Tom Graham, Stan Jackson and Howard Thever reunited at a local restaurant in the mid-1970s. La Bounty later became Cal Poly Pomona’s third president.

A Teacher Prep Trailblazer

“We were the initial group to participate in the teacher prep program. 1961 was the first year the program provided course work that allowed for application for a secondary education credential. Dr. Hugh La Bounty was the director and taught the philosophy of education class. His leadership created this program.”

- Roger Skinner, Kinesiology, Class of 1960

Persistence, Responsibility and Success

Gordon Jefferson

“When I received my call-up to active duty in the Navy in September 1961, I was just entering my senior year.  When I returned to Cal Poly Pomona in September 1962, I was working 30 hours per week as a non-degreed electronics engineer, I was married, I had a home to maintain in Monrovia, and I had a son who was born while I was aboard ship off the coast of China. I finally graduated in June 1964 and went on to an engineering career that included work in the United States and overseas before I retired in 2002 after 15 years with the Federal Aviation Administration. I point this out to today’s struggling students to assure them that they can achieve their academic goals and life’s dreams if they remember two axioms that my grandfather always told me: ‘Any dead fish can go downstream, but it takes a live one to go upstream’ and ‘The door to success is marked push.’

- Gordon V. Jefferson, Electrical Engineering, Class of 1964

Michael S. Cash

The Poly Post Taught Him Well

“My favorite overall experience was as a non-journalism major coming on to the Poly Post. While there I had the experience of meeting and dealing with a diverse bunch of people I never would have dealt with and learning to organize my thoughts and write well. It turned out to be one of the most valuable classes I had at Cal Poly Pomona. Education doesn't come out of the box you are looking in.”

- Michael S. Cash, Social Science-Economics, Class of 1968

As a Student, He Forged Ahead

“Landscape architecture was, and still is, my goal and occupation.  I attended Cal Poly Pomona in 1966 and graduated at the end of the Winter Quarter 1969.  The reason for this speedy conclusion of my studies was the fact that I cheated.  Let me explain.  Each student is required to have his course lineup approved by an advisor.  When I presented my course load he would not approve my lineup and number of units.  I patiently explained that I was married, had a young son and wanted to speed up my studies.  I was 29 years old, had been in the business world since age 16, and was organized and disciplined.  He still would not approve.  So I waited outside his office and waited until the next student came out, looked at his course lineup and photographed the advisor’s signature in my head.  From that point on I signed his name until I graduated with the second best grade-point average in my class.  I loved my studies and soaked it up like a dry sponge. … Oh, my favorite teachers were Chet Volski and Jere French.”

- Peter Weisbrod, Landscape Architecture, Class of 1969

‘One of the Best Choices I Made’

“I have so many great memories during my years at Cal Poly Pomona. I lived in the houses on the Voorhis campus for two years. I was on the football team with Hogan, Carl Finch and many other players. Stan Jackson was one of the coaches, and the head coach was Don Warhurst. I was also on the track team. I remember the team travels to Mexico University and San Francisco, just to mention a few places. I do miss what we all did back then. After graduation, I worked at MC Donald-Douglas for 10 years in the aerospace and thermodynamics missile field. I went back to school for my MBA at Pepperdine University and went into real estate, building apartment projects throughout California and Arizona. I still work in that field with my own firm. Seven years ago, I went back to Pepperdine for my doctorate in education technology. My son went to Cal Poly Pomona and graduated in finance, real estate and law 10 years ago.

Cal Poly Pomona will always be one of the best choices I made. I wish that I could locate all my old classmates and roommates: Tom Maples, Richard Enhert(?), Buddy Carter and the rest of the team, including our assistant coach Joe. Hopefully they’ll read these notes. I still wear my class ring with great pride. It’s a great school: beautiful grounds with one of the best faculties.”

- Frank Cornell, Mathematics, Class of 1965

A Deep Respect and Love for Cal Poly Pomona

“Thanks for the newsletter on the 75th Anniversary. I worked at the old Kellogg Arabian Ranch facilities: training, feeding, cleaning stalls, and riding in the famous Sunday horse shows with Tony Amaral, Glen Gimple and many other great friends. I also helped breed stallions and mares via natural mating. When I lived at Cal Poly Pomona, I worked at the livestock units too, including the swine unit under Professor Fausch, the sheep unit under Professor Nelson and the beef cattle unit under Harry McLaughlin. I worked on the campus fields year-round so I could put myself through school. I went on to serve within the University of Nevada-Reno and as a Nevada State Extension horse and sheep specialist. I then went up to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to teach in the animal science department for 10 years, receiving top teaching awards and advising student clubs. In 1979, I left Cal Poly SLO for Utah State University’s animal, dairy and veterinary science department and have been here ever since.

I was the recipient of the Cal Poly Pomona Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1989, when Dean Allen Christensen was there. In 2007, I also received the only U.S. Carnegie Professor of the Year Award for anyone in agriculture. My heart and spirit of what I’ve become professionally is mostly due to the faculty, the animal husbandry program at Cal Poly Pomona and the positive learning environment. I have a deep respect and love for Cal Poly Pomona.  Keep up the great work. At your graduation in 2014, it will be my 50th anniversary of the day the late President Julian McPhee presented my bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry, and I’m still the only one in my family to ever receive a college degree. However, our nine children have done very well. 

During my last two years at Cal Poly Pomona, I was married, working 40-plus hours a week and taking no less than 21 to 23 credits every quarter, year-round. While at Cal Poly SLO and here at USU, I founded the non-profit ‘The Navajo Sheep Project’ in 1977. My mission was to locate Spanish Churro sheep on Najavo reservations and rescue them from near extinction by breeding them. I still continue the non-profit today, and the Navajo people are very happy, as am I.”

- Lyle G. McNeal, Animal Husbandry, Class of 1964

Fire Chief Bob

“I was one of the student firemen back in the early 60s. I doubt that would ever be considered today. Here is one of my stories:

He introduced himself. ‘My name is Homer. What can I do for you lad?’ He was a stocky-built kind of guy, about 5-foot-6 or so, with legs that were shorter than average. When he walked he had the gait of a penguin. He was the head of the Security Department or, as he preferred, the Chief of College Police. His uniform was always rumpled, and his badge in need of a shine. He wore his hat cocked to the side a little, which fit his personality. When I first met Homer, I inquired about becoming a member of the student fire department when classes resumed in the fall. He told me he had a full crew but there were always changes. I stopped by the campus before the start of the 1959 fall quarter, and Homer told me, ‘Yes,’ there was an opening.

There were six students who lived in the fire station dorm that was attached to the maintenance office on the Kellogg campus. I roomed with Dale Toole, a senior animal husbandry major. Richard Eastman and Lanny Coon were at the other end of the hall, and George Williams and John Mason, both citrus majors, were in the middle room. The fire engine, an old war-surplus three-axle model with an open cab, was parked just outside our door in a covered garage area. Cal Poly Pomona had a need for an on-campus fire department because our responder for fires was Los Angeles County Fire, which came from San Dimas, 20-plus minutes away. In a fire, minutes are critical. Our student crew could be anywhere on campus in minutes.

When I moved into the fire station, I soon out found that I was the youngest in the group. The other students were either seniors or juniors. At our first meeting, Homer gave us about five minutes of instructions, which included that he wanted the fire engine driven daily and kept clean. He then said we needed to select a student fire chief. As he left the room he added, ‘Let me know who you select.’ Someone asked, ‘Who wants to be Chief?’ I raised my hand. Everyone decided by unanimous proclamation that I was the guy.

Our fire department was strange in many ways. First, for most of my first year, there was no phone or radio. In fact there was no communication with the outside world. If there ever was a fire, there was no way to let us know. Then there was the truck itself. It was old, and parts were hard to come by. When it broke down, which it did a lot, it spent a long time in the shop. It was operational only half the time. What we ended up with was a dorm of six guys who didn’t need to worry about putting out a fire. Chances were pretty good we’d never find out about it, and if we did, the truck would probably be in the shop. There was also the closeness to a bar and restaurant just outside the back gate of the college. The bar was called the Pic N Pan; it had cold beer and was known for not checking IDs. Life was good that year. And there were no fires.

Actually, there was one fire, kind of. A fire? Yes, but not on campus. This story remained a secret known only to Rich Eastman and me for years.

I headed out early one morning to bale hay. I looked up to the freeway where I saw a car was on fire. It was just starting to turn light. I scrambled back to the fire station, where we now had a newly-installed phone and called the Highway Patrol and LA County Fire. I was just heading out the door when Rich Eastman came out of his room. He and I were the only two who had spent the night there. ‘Where’s the fire?’ he asked. I told him it was on the freeway, near the on-ramp. He replied, ‘Let’s go put it out.’ I told him I didn’t think we should as it was off campus. Rich replied, ‘We are the nearest fire department, and we have a duty to put out that burning car.’  That made sense to me, kind of. Richard was older and had been on the fire crew longer. He was my senior! So we got the fire engine out and started toward the freeway. We had to pass the on-campus home of a supervisor in the maintenance department, so we did not use the red light or siren, and in fact shifted the truck into neutral until we were past his home.

Finally, we pulled up onto the freeway. By now the Highway Patrol was there. The LA County fire truck had to come from San Dimas, about 20 minutes away, which meant they probably wouldn’t be there for 10 to 15 minutes. We pulled up, and I told one of the officers that we were from the college and, technically, could not respond and could not put out the fire unless asked. He looked at me in a rather odd way, and then said, ‘Put out the fire.’

Richard and I jumped into action. I pulled the hose from the reel on the truck and approached the burning car. Richard fired up the engine-driven pump and began opening and closing valves. There were several valves and there was a sequence that had to be followed. I waited. No water. I had the nozzle open, but still no water. I looked around to see what the problem was, and saw that Richard was still opening and closing valves. We’d never done this before and it was confusing. Suddenly, high pressure water came squirting out of my nozzle. When I turned around to direct the water at the burning car, the Highway Patrolman was standing in the path of the water. He was drenched. I still remember he looked like a drowned rat, and he was not happy.

We did extinguish the fire and had it out about five minutes before the LA County fire truck showed up. When the fire was finally out, we quickly put the fire hose back on the engine, and not waiting for a ‘thank you,’ made our way quietly back to the fire house. No one at Cal Poly Pomona knew we were gone. Richard and I kept the secret until years later, and now it is one of our favorite Cal Poly Pomona stories.

‘You should have seen that wet and mad Highway Patrolman. Pettis really drenched him,’ Richard is fond of saying.”

- Bob Pettis, Agronomy, Class of 1963

A Transformative Foundation

“My memory of Cal Poly Pomona began after my four-year stint as a Hospital Corpsman in the Navy. I was working in an aircraft factory in Riverside while mumbling every day about the job when I got home. My wife said, ‘Why don’t you go to college? You have the Korean G.I. Bill.’ Duh!

Our second child came just as I started in 1959, and the third child came in January 1961. My wife was excited as there were no girls in the school. Well, that changed when I was a junior.

Cal Poly Pomona literally changed me from a farm kid to someone who had something to look forward to. School was tough with three children and working two part-time jobs. I was on Student Council and editor of the Poly View. I worked part time as a sports reporter for the Progress Bulletin. All of this led to graduation, being the first president of the Alumni Association and being named the Overall Distinguished Alumnus in 1980.

My career was all in human resources and I retired from a big company in Colorado Springs in July 2002. I worked another 10 years as a substitute schoolteacher and retired from that in 2012. None of those things would have happened without the foundation provided by Cal Poly Pomona during those formative years of college.”

- Duane C. Slocum, Business Administration, Class of 1963

Celebrating 75 Years

“I was born in 1938, too – looking at 75 this month. I don’t have a particularly entertaining story, except to show where I took Cal Poly Pomona with me all these years and more to come. Career highlights: Thermal Vacuum Engineer, Apollo Command Module Test Engineer, Metrology Engineer, Patent for world’s most accurate surface scanner bearing, Patent for the associated   computerized scanner driving assembly, Patent for the software controlling the various surface measurements. I retired from the Navy in 2002.”

- Gerald McGrath, Physics, Class of 1965

The First Business Administration Senior Class

Members of the Entrepreneurs Club Intramural Swim Team from 1960 (from left to right) Ernie Arutunian, Jack Jackman, Bob Johnson and Franz Shulte
Members of the Entrepreneurs Club Intramural Swim Team from 1960 (from left to right) Ernie Arutunian, Jack Jackman, Bob Johnson and Franz Shulte

“I was part of the first business administration class to graduate from Cal Poly Pomona. We all enrolled as juniors in the fall of 1958 from various junior colleges. At that time, there was not a senior business administration curriculum in effect. Upon completion of our junior year in 1959, we were then enrolled in the fall of that same year as the inaugural business administration senior class.

During my senior year, I was fortunate enough to be a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Club, which ran me as their entrant for the title of Mr. Cal Poly in opposition to the entrants from all of the other clubs on campus. I was very fortunate to win the election. My duties (if you want to call them that) were to escort the homecoming queen and her court during the homecoming season and officiate over various events in the coming year. Cal Poly Pomona was not co-educational at that time, and the queen and her court were enlisted from the surrounding colleges.

Since my graduation nearly 55 years ago, I have been in the insurance industry for most of my working lifetime. I am currently the owner, president and managing partner of the Brownell Insurance Agency in Upland and Nevada. Our founding father, Richard Brownell, was a former two-time mayor of Pomona and a supporter of Cal Poly Pomona.”

- Ernest Arutunian, Business Administration, Class of 1960

‘Thank You for Everything’

“When I joined Cal Poly Pomona as a freshman in the fall of 1960, I was amazed at how many students there were (about 3,000 overall and 60 in aerospace engineering). I was overwhelmed by the tasks looming before me as an aerospace engineering major. I gradually found my way around and, somehow, made it through my first year. My sophomore year was highlighted by the addition of women on campus. Suddenly, we had to dress up when we went to the dining hall. (That generally meant wearing jeans and a T-shirt – don’t ask what the usual attire was before then.) It was at President McPhee’s annual address to the students in fall of 1961 that I realized each year’s welcoming speech was almost completely based on his previous year’s speech. He altered the speech in 1961 to welcome the new coeds, and commented that he ‘could tell the difference [the coeds made] as soon as they arrived on campus,’ and that ‘the sheep were a whole lot less restless this year.’

It’s hard to identify the best or most memorable moments: working on four Rose Parade floats late at night in Pasadena, going to Cal Poly Pomona football games (Yes, Cal Poly Pomona played intercollegiate football back then), being in the marching band (we had about two dozen in the band when we got Cal Poly Pomona’s first band uniforms and a couple of years later when, for the first time, we had a band director from the music department); working as the aerospace engineering department’s Poly Vue co-chair in my sophomore year; moving into the dorm on campus and really being a part of Cal Poly Pomona in my junior and senior years. When I graduated in 1964, Cal Poly had almost 4,000 students – and I thought it was too crowded. At the time, I was part of the largest graduating class in the history of the aerospace engineering department. There were only 12 of us.

I made some of the best friends I would ever make in my lifetime and collected memories that would stay with me and influence me for the rest of my life. I have been lucky to have opportunities, experiences and successes that would not have been possible were it not for my four years at Cal Poly Pomona. I take as much pride in being a Cal Poly Pomona alum as I do with any of the pioneering events that I’ve been a part of in my almost 50-year career in human spaceflight. Because of my education at Cal Poly Pomona and a few other contributing factors, I was given the responsibility of being the Lunar Module Crew Station engineer on the five-person Apollo 11 Astronaut Office Flight Crew Support Team.

I want to thank all the students and faculty whose paths crossed mine at Cal Poly Pomona for guiding, influencing, teaching and otherwise affecting my life. It was a wonderful ride that really started at Cal Poly Pomona. I’m glad I caught the wave that started at Cal Poly Pomona and carried me through the human spaceflight pioneering at NASA. As someone once said, “Life is mostly attitude and timing.” Cal Poly certainly influenced my attitude and the timing was what it was.

Thank you for everything, Cal Poly Pomona.”

- Louis Ramon, Aerospace Engineering, Class of 1964

A Lasting Impact

"I took History of Civilization from David Levering in the mid-1960s. He was a wonderful teacher and managed to get across major historical trends in Western Civilization. I remember that we were assigned to write an essay exam on ‘East is East and West is West.’ I finished the exam and had some sense of what Mr. Levering was after, but it wasn’t until many years later that I had a more complete understanding of his thesis. I think he was saying that the world views may be very different between East and West. I often find myself viewing the world dynamics with this in mind. I think Mr. Levering also said that Sigmund Freud made one of the greatest contributions of the 19th century with the concept of the unconscious mind. This teacher had a great impact on my education and my thinking.”

- Patricia Hartman, Social Sciences, Class of 1967

The Water Fight to End All Water Fights

“It was a night in 1952, and the Jerry Hall dorm at the San Dimas campus attacked the students in the temporary cabins just beyond it. I was just out of high school, and the students at the cabins were mostly World War II veterans. It was a water fight to end all water fights. Balloons, hoses and buckets of water flew through the early hours after meal time. I don’t know what started it, and I can’t remember if Jerry Hall won or not.

I was soon to be a veteran myself, and when I returned to Cal Poly Pomona, the campus had moved to Kellogg Ranch. I went on to a 36-year career as a California State Park ranger and 12 years as the director of the Alpine, CA historical museum. Now I am finally retired and an active writer of my life and oral histories of rangers and historical figures.”

- Richard Edwards, Ornamental Horticulture and Biological Sciences, Class of 1960

Denise and Debbie Goman in 1966 at Cal Poly PomonaSaturday Adventures on Campus

“Mom says that Dad couldn’t wait for the day when he could take my twin sister Dennie and I out on Saturday adventures. When the time came, he was out the door with his girls and his camera. I remember that it was extra fun, because we didn’t have to get dressed up or have our hair pulled up with ribbons. Dad would usually start the day off by taking us to Brackett Field Airport in La Verne to have lunch, which usually meant raiding the vending machines and to watch the planes take off and come in for landing.  After that, he would bring us to Cal Poly Pomona to see the animals, play and explore. He loved to take pictures of us, and liked it best when we didn’t pose. This picture brings those perfect memories back to life. My dad always got a kick out of the fact that in 1981, my career path would keep the adventure going by leading me back to Cal Poly Pomona. I have continued to work, play and explore for close to 33 years now. Can you guess which one is Dennie and which one is me?”

- Deborah A. Goman, Transfer and Graduation Advisor

A Pair of Shoes, Payphone Codes and a Pasadena Parade

“Judy and I met at a dance on campus on Oct. 12, 1962. Judy was not a student — she was there because her roommate needed a ride. Judy told her she would rather not go: “There’s nothing but barefoot farmers that go there.” (She was rather a snob then.) When she arrived, sure enough, it was a hoe-down dance and we were dressed in overalls and no shoes. At intermission, she looked across the floor and saw someone dressed nicely, including shoes. She told her roommate that if that guy asks me to dance, we’ll stay, but if not, she was leaving. After intermission, Judy was leaning down to pick up her purse to get ready to go when those shoes appeared before her. I asked her to dance.

After a couple of weeks, we were seeing each other pretty much every weekend. Since I was on a limited entertainment budget ($10 a weekend), we set up a pay phone code. I would call collect to a different name and that name would signify a certain activity. For example, a collect call for Mr. Musak meant there was a dance that weekend at the dorm. If Judy answered, ‘He’s not here, but will return shortly,’ that meant she would drive down. If she answered, ‘He’s not here and we don’t know when he will return,’ that meant that she would not be able to come. We had six or seven codes like that worked out.

We attended football and basketball games, dances and all the other college events. But since I was also a member of Cal Poly’s Rose Float Committee, we spent most of the winter quarter at the old Rose Float Barn or in Pasadena flowering the float. On New Year’s Eve, we’d stay up all night guarding the float from people who celebrated a bit too much. I joined the Rose Float committee my first year at Cal Poly Pomona and was the first engineer ever to join. I was a co-driver for the 1963 float, a co-chair with Ron Simons for the 1954 float and Chairman for the 1965 float. So, we never had a real New Year’s night celebration until after I graduated.

I extended my stay at Cal Poly Pomona one quarter (winter 1964), so I could fulfill his duties as Chairman. In December 1964, I completed my requirements, helped bring the float back to campus and started a new job 24 hours later. Judy and I were married August 1965. Every New Year’s Day, we wake up just to make sure we see the Cal Poly Float go down Colorado Boulevard on television.”

- Dan Marostica, Industrial Engineering, Class of 1965

1970's

Being Queen Was a Wonderful Experience’

Sandi Davis being crowned as Miss Cal Poly Pomona.
Sandi Davis being crowned as Miss Cal Poly Pomona by Ron Simons who was the master of ceremonies at Poly Vue.

“In my senior year of high school, I participated in a typing and shorthand contest hosted by the School of Business, and when I saw the balloons, decorations and party atmosphere for Poly Vue, I knew that Cal Poly Pomona was the place I wanted to be.

Poly Vue was the university’s annual open house. As a sophomore in March 1970, I entered the Queen’s Pageant competition, which preceded Poly Vue by two months. We had three outfit changes: formal gown, pants outfit and dress (thank God no swimsuit).  We were also asked questions and judged on our answers. Ron Simons, then a young administrator who later became known on campus as “Mr. Cal Poly Pomona,” was the master of ceremonies. After I was chosen queen, he had quite a time trying to fit the crown on my head!

My college experience took place during a time of great social unrest. In early May, just days before Poly Vue, several students were shot at Kent State during antiwar protests. Ronald Reagan, who was California’s governor at the time, shut down all CSU campuses for the entire weekend. So much for my 15 minutes of fame. Poly Vue was canceled.

Still, being queen was a wonderful experience. The royal court served as ambassadors for the university. We went to service clubs in the community and gave presentations about what was happening on campus. We even made a trip to San Luis Obispo for its version of Poly Vue, called Poly Royal.

The Poly Vue Queen’s Pageant came to an end in 1971. Years later, it was revived in the form of Mr. and Miss Cal Poly Pomona, for which I have been a judge. Students are now selected based on their knowledge of the university, talent, Bronco spirit and participation in campus activities.”

- Sandi Davis, Business Administration, Class of 1973
(Sandi recently retired after a 40-year career at Cal Poly Pomona, where she worked in the president’s office.)

Hailing Their Baja Taxi

Baja Taxi

“I was the SAE student chapter president, project leader and co-driver with Ed Meddock for the Baja 500 in June 1971. The Baja Taxi entry was constructed by engineering students with significant corporate support, including the Yellow Cab Company of Los Angeles, which donated three crashed Ford taxis that the students rebuilt into the Baja Taxi off-road racer.  During the 1971 school year only about $300 in SAE student chapter funds were used for the project! All of the rest of the expense was donated by sponsors. We received an Outstanding Student Chapter award from the Los Angeles Society of Automotive Engineers for the engineering work on the project just before we left to compete. Our race ended near the Valle de Trinidad checkpoint about 70 miles from the finish line because of a fuel leak from the remounted gasoline tank a resulting fire, which was extinguished.”

- Pete Sigwardt, Mechanical Engineering, Class of 1972


Architecture student Karen Charris, class of 1996, poses with friends at Commencement.
Poly Vue crowds view the Apollo 15 lunar command module on display in 1973. Standing from left: Glenn Rambach, 1974 aerospace engineering graduate, and Don Hilsen, aerospace engineering 1973 graduate.

A Far-Out Piece of History

“I was lucky enough to coax Rockwell Corp. to lend us the Apollo 15 lunar command module for display during the 1973 Poly Vue open house.

Rockwell came to the aerospace engineering department a couple times and gave presentations.  I think they were impressed with what they saw, which surely helped in their decision. 

I called Rockwell’s representative and was hoping for some posters and maybe a model of something. The way he posed the opportunity was hard to forget. He asked, “What would you think if we just loaned you the Apollo 15 command module for the event?” He offered to have Rockwell deliver and drop off the command module as long as we promised to have a two-student guard, 24 hours a day for the week. (The Apollo 15 lunar mission took place July 26 to Aug. 7, 1971, returning with 170 pounds of lunar material.)

Getting volunteers in the aerospace engineering department to do guard duty took only a few seconds – the time it takes for eager students to raise their hands. There was a line of visitors viewing the capsule throughout Poly Vue.”

- Glenn Rambach, Aerospace Engineering, Class of 1974

‘A Tremendous Journey’ for Landscape Architecture Alum

 “An event that occurred at Cal Poly Pomona during my freshman year changed my life forever. A very kind and supportive group of students were meeting on campus, and I was invited to join them. It was what I heard and experienced at that meeting that challenged me to make the most important decision of my life. I surrendered my life to Christ Jesus my Lord. I know exactly where I was on campus that night and I often reflect back on the outstanding four years that I was privileged to experience. Living with a purpose made the learning a tremendous journey. Thank you to the Cal Poly Pomona team. So many areas of the Cal Poly Pomona campus remind me of the truth and knowledge that I was privileged to receive during my four years there.

There is one other very special place on campus. It is the place where I proposed to my wife, Susan, of 37 years. Cal Poly Pomona was absolutely the most beautiful setting of a very special and impactful season of my life. I have had a successful career in the field of study that the professors and others made possible to a young man that ventured away from home in order to make a difference. Thank you.”

- Brad Buller, Landscape Architecture, Class of 1976 (married to Susan Buller nee Bogardus, Liberal Studies, Class of 1976)

Unforgettable Memories at the Arabian Horse Center

“My fondest memories revolve around the Arabian Horse Unit (as it was known then.) To name a few, I worked with the Arabians at the beautiful Kellogg stables, rode in two shows every Sunday, and attended the birth of “my” mare’s first foal. Best of all, I have the Arabian horses to thank for bringing me together with my two closest friends – a 46-year friendship that is still going strong.”

- Charlene Buckley, Animal Science, Class of 1970

Eric ChunDorm Life…

“It had been a long-standing dorm tradition to toss you into the duck pond in front of La Cienega Center on your birthday. On your birthday, you wished that no one knew it was your birthday or hoped they forgot. Once the word got out it was your birthday, a few dorm mates would find you when you would least expect it and would ceremoniously carry you to the edge of the pond for the ‘heave-ho in you go’! The duck pond in the 70s was the worst —  it was a smelly slimy goo. It was amazing that we all survived without a trip to Health Services.”

- Eric Chun, Class of 1973

Victory for the Broncos

“One of my favorite memories is pitching two games in the 1976 College World Series, including the final game to give Cal Poly Pomona and John Scolinos their first national championship.”

- Michael E. Regus, Business Administration, Class of 1976; and Accounting, Class of 1976

Library Life

“I spent my days and nights on the ground floor of the library doing homework. There were no computers of any kind. However, I learned a lot from my teachers.”

- Jose Christopher Tovar, Business Administration, Class of 1974

Growing Up at Cal Poly Pomona

former university President Robert C. Kramer and his daughter Amy Alice Kramer“Here’s my dad, former university President Robert C. Kramer, and I at the opening day of the new W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center on April 6, 1974. I am wearing some sunglasses that were way too big for me, but I wanted to be like my dad, who always wore tinted glasses. He wrote the introduction for ‘The Arabian Horse’ pamphlet, so he posed with one of the horses. In the 1960s, he showed off the Arabians in the old stables to former governor Pat Brown. My dad was very proud of our history with the horses, and especially the connection to W.K. Kellogg. I also like his sharp suit!









former university President Robert C. Kramer and his daughter Amy Alice Kramer with Arabian horseI was so happy to be able to learn to ride on the Kellogg Arabian horses and to be a part of the dedication of the new center. My favorite Kellogg Arabian was Tezadi. I learned how to make him do his tricks, which he had been taught to do for the Sunday shows. From age 9 to 12, I loved learning from all my student teachers. When my mom Kay Kramer visited campus in 1980, Tezadi had been retired and put to pasture. Someone spotted him in a field, and my mom got out of the car to say “hi” when she remembered how much I had loved him. Nancy Olmsted sent me this picture with a lovely note about Tezadi’s passing in 1981.

Kramer FamilyI grew up in the Manor House. My mother thought education was very important, and this photo shows her reading to my brothers, sisters and me. I particularly love my brother David’s cowboy pajamas and old man slippers! In 1976, we took a family photo: from left to right, here’s David, Carol, Mom, Nancy, Bob, Jr., Dad and me (Amy). I like that we all look super-70s in this shot! This photo was taken just before my dad left office to take a job at the Kellogg Foundation. 

My dad was always willing to participate in campus activities for the benefit of the university. This photo is of my dad with James Bell around 1976. They are wearing T-shirts from an on-campus 50s-style rock group, Mag Wheels and the Lug Nuts. In my memory, he wore a suit and tie every day to work and a plain T-shirt only at the beach.”

- Amy Alice Kramer


An Unforgettable Professor

“The best professor I ever had was Dr. Kamusiki of the history department, who taught me in at least four classes in African history. He gave a true perspective of African history, even though he was educated in Great Britain. He taught our classes from an African’s point of view. I visited with him throughout the years, and with his advice and direction, taught history classes in Oklahoma and California. I also met my wife Theresa in one of his classes. My final 10 years of teaching history was at the university level. I am now retired from teaching, but this great professor was the reason I made history my profession. He was a very humble professor that I will never forget.”

- Franklin Gilbert, History, Class of 1975

Lasting Impressions of Dr. John

“John Fleishans, or Dr. John as he was known to most of us, was and is an all-around good guy. I still remember many of the lessons that he taught us in his business communication class. Many of the rules he gave us are still serving me well today. His way of looking at an issue often helped clarify the way that I looked at a problem, and still does. If you were to look up the word ‘mentor’, you would find a picture of Dr. John.”

- Stephen Ropfogel, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Class of 1978

‘Our Family Goes to Cal Poly Pomona’

“It was 1969, and I was a sophomore biology major with a chemistry minor, so I registered for organic chemistry lab with Professor Vollmar. Being very methodical, he seated the entire class in alphabetical order. My maiden name was Tucker, so my lab partner became Joe Vail, a chemistry major. We became friends and even dated a few times. I graduated in 1972 and went off to UC Irvine for graduate school. I was working on a research project and needed some chemistry advice so I called Joe for help. We began dating again, and in 1982 we married and became ‘lab partners’ for life. Both of our sons attend Cal Poly Pomona. Our oldest son, Trenton, received his bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture and is now working on his master’s degree. Our youngest son, Tyler, is currently working towards his bachelor’s degree in geology. As Tyler said when he was selecting a school, ‘Mom, our family goes to Cal Poly Pomona.’ Cal Poly Pomona has been and continues to be an important part of our family history. Thanks for the memories.”

- Deidre Tucker Vail, Biology, Class of 1972

1980's

Great Memories with Marketing Fraternity

“Pi Sigma Epsilon, a professional co-ed marketing fraternity, won Top Chapter out of 110 universities in the United States – several years in a row. Fifty students, alumni and faculty went to annual national conferences in New Orleans, Atlanta, Houston and more. Great memories!”

- Marie Royce, Marketing Management & Management and Human Resources, Class of 1984

Years of Memories with Pi Sigma Epsilon

“The Beta Kappa chapter of Pi Sigma Epsilon hosted, presented and manned several events during the early 1980s. Some were the Big Burrito fundraiser around 1983 in the Quad, the Big Horse Race Game and the Hoochie Coochie beverage booth at Poly Vue, Casino Night, and Wild West Night with a musical performance by Lone Justice at the Student Union, and the annual BookNook event in our office. Discount books were resold, priced and purchased by students themselves!”

- Mike Parra, Management and Human Resources, Class of 1985

Pi Sigma Epsilon T-Shirt

T-Shirts from Another Time

“It’s amazing what one will find while cleaning out the garage. Lost on a shelf was a forgotten box where I had saved various Pi Sigma Epsilon T-shirts from my years as a student at Cal Poly Pomona. Once I saw them, I immediately went back in time. I have such positive and fun memories with this organization. So, what did I do with the T-shirts? I posted pictures on Facebook so other PSE alums could enjoy.”

- Pamela Ballan, Management and Human Resources, Class of 1989

European Excursion

Stephen Olivas, Sunny Sassaman (Gutierrez), Don Thompson and Steve Miller.“Although I was a hospitality major, my fondest memories are with the Cal Poly Pomona bands: marching, pep and concert. In 1986, band director Phillip Browne and jazz band director Greg Wall accompanied about 35 of us on a tour through Europe. It was an amazing experience to perform to audiences in Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland. This was my first time out of the country, and I’m sure that was the case for most of the band. It was a cultural exchange as we were invited to places that most tourists would not experience. For example, we performed multiple times on July 4 in Switzerland, starting with a concert at the ambassador’s home and concluding with one of many performances of ‘Stars and Stripes’ as fireworks exploded above us in the night sky over Geneva. As a percussionist, I did not feel the same pain that our poor trumpeters did as they were called on to play over and over on that memorable day.

Our tour bus towed a small trailer that contained our instruments and uniforms. This presented some parking challenges for the bus driver as we would frequently come back to the bus after an outing, and find ourselves parked in by the typically small cars that are preferred by European drivers. But this was not an issue for a bus full of energized musicians. On more than one occasion, the bus would empty out, and band members would surround the offending parked car, picking it up and ‘re-parking’ it so that the bus could maneuver out of the parking lot! One can only imagine what the owner of the car thought when they returned.

Even though I have lost touch with most of the band members that were on that tour, it was the trip of a lifetime! I am forever grateful to Mr. Browne and Mr. Wall for taking a leap of faith and guiding a bunch of band geeks throughout Europe for one special summer.”

- Sunny Sassaman Gutierrez, Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Management, Class of 1989

A Rose Float Family

“I remember working on the Rose Floats with my boyfriend Brian, who is now my husband of 27 years. I also remember having my mom come to Pasadena to help glue mums on a float’s castle.”

- Melinda Morrison, Computer Information Systems, Class of 1985

Crop Unit Flash Back

When I began my studies at Cal Poly Pomona in 1981, I kept hearing about this man who worked at the Crop Unit. Flash forward to 1984 when I began working for him.  Another student and I were tasked with replacing the roof covering on one of the shade-houses, and our only instruction was to complete the task “without any seams in the plastic.” Sometime later he appeared, climbed up the ladder, and the only words out of his mouth were “I told you I didn’t want any seams!” Simultaneously, he pulled out his knife to ‘correct’ our error. The problem was that there were no seams in the plastic. You should have seen the look on his face when he realized by cutting the plastic, he actually created a seam!

- Terrance Lorick, Agricultural Biology and Pest Management, Class of 1986

The Makings of a Great Professor

“What makes a great professor? A professional enthusiasm. Dr. Davey of the aerospace engineering department had that.”

- James D. Hawks, Aerospace Engineering, Class of 1986

An Accounting Admiration

“The two best professors I had at Cal Poly Pomona were Dr. Adamson and Dr. Gupta in the accounting department. They expected a lot and they gave a lot. Both knew their subjects backwards and forward, and you could tell that they enjoyed their work and working with students to help them achieve.”

- Kirk Warner, Accounting, Class of 1987

1990's

Architecture student Karen Charris, class of 1996, poses with friends at Commencement.
Architecture student Karen Charris, class of 1996, poses with friends at Commencement.

Lifelong Friendships and Skills from Hands-On Learning


“Architecture School at Cal Poly was the most awesome experience of my lifetime! I got to extensively practice my creativity with model making and drawings, and open new horizons because of the Study Abroad program I participated in. During this program, my two friends and I were together from Paris to Greece and all in between during the summer of 1995. We got to know each other well and have kept friendships that will last a lifetime.”

- Karen Charris, Architecture, Class of 1996

Art Fair flyer

The Art of Fundraising

“In 1994 I created the first-of-its-kind university-wide art fair. There were no expenses, only income that went toward scholarships for staff and students. It was a fun day for the people involved, including staff, students and faculty past and present. We had music, dancers and so much more. Media from off campus showed up, including radio stations.”

- Sharon E. Cruise, Instructional Support Assistant II and Academic Staff Senator (2010-2013)

Rideshare Romance

Kathy & Richard PayanI met my husband Richard Payan on the Cal Poly Pomona van pool in the mid-1990s. He was the van pool driver and worked in facilities management. I worked in the Office of Admissions and Outreach (and still do). We shared a passion for the outdoors and started dating by riding mountain bikes, hiking, backpacking, fishing and camping. In October 2003 we married and continue to share a passion for the outdoors. In 2010, we bought our first and forever home in the beautiful high desert community of Pinon Hills. We also share a passion for German Shorthair Pointer dogs, and they have plenty of room to run and play on 2 ¼ acres. In October, we will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. I never thought I would meet my best friend and soul mate in the Rideshare program here at Cal Poly Pomona. My husband retired in August 2012. I thank Cal Poly Pomona for bringing a very special man into my life.”

- Kathy Payan, Admissions Analyst

The Aqua Chefs

Susie (McConville) Schaefer & Nikki Bray

“Here’s Nikki Bray and I taking a turn at washing dishes at The Collins College for Hospitality Management on May 20, 1991. We affectionately dubbed ourselves ‘Aqua Chefs.’”

- Susie (McConville) Schaefer, Hotel & Restaurant Management, Class of 1992

Karyn Grasse with friendsFavorite Memories from the Residence Halls

“While serving on Hall Council one year, some friends and I got it into our heads that it would be a great idea to throw an All-Hall Spring Formal. That year we pooled our talents and resources to organize “A Touch of Class,” which turned out to be great fun and some great memories.

On my 21st birthday, I was living in Palmitas Hall. I was a little bummed out because I was away from home on that day, and no one from home seemed to really remember. Friends from the hall threw a surprise birthday party in the Palmitas rec room that night, and it is one of my favorite Cal Poly Pomona memories.”

- Karyn Grasse, Theatre, Class of 1994

“It’s Funny How Things Turn Out”

“The professor who made a difference in my life was David Speak from the political science department. When I was taking his classes, I wondered why he had to be so hard on us. He was well known for not easily handing out As, and he demanded a lot from us. One quarter, he even made me write a paper on a topic that I was completely opposed to – simply because he said that I should be able to see the argument from both sides. As it turns out, his teaching methods served me well in my career. While I had never considered it in college, I went to law school a few years later and became an attorney. Seeing things from both sides was essential. Being held to such a high standard also served me well because it made me work hard. That’s the only way to get through law school. I now work for the Los Angeles Superior Court as a research attorney, and this career path was made, in part, because of the love for the law that Dr. Speak instilled in me. I have been fortunate enough to work as the research attorney on several notable criminal cases (the Rampart case, the Sara Jane Olsen case, and the Phil Spector case), as well as in the civil, appellate and family law departments. It’s funny how things turn out. Maybe I owe him a tray of brownies for all that he did to influence my career.”

- Deanna Cangialosi Muckle, Political Science, Class of 1993

A Pivotal Professor

“Of all the wonderful faculty who supported me in my undergraduate work, I have to say that Sheila McCoy is still someone close to my heart. I can’t even pinpoint the specifics of it, but I know that she was inspirational, supportive, and a lovely friend. I took every class she taught. I loved the interactions we’d have in her class. She made it worth it coming to class early in the morning. She was an amazing human being and pivotal in my life.”

- Rabia Minhas, Multiple Subject Pre-Credential, Class of 1999



Heather & Paul Wizikowski with their two daughtersBuilding 5 Holds Special Place in CEIS Faculty’s Heart

“My husband Paul Wizikowski (Agricultural Biology, Class of 1995) and I met on campus outside Building 5. We married in 1999 and now have two daughters, ages 8 and 5. I am currently a faculty member in the College of Education & Integrative Studies, and my office is located right across the quad where we met.”

- Heather Wizikowski, Visiting Professor in Special Education, English Literature, Class of 1995

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2000's

The Art of Fundraising

Amrot Dejene

“One letter and three certificates highlight my experience: my letter of admission; a certificate of recognition from the Black Student Union recognizing my academic achievements; a certificate from housing services for my dedication, hard work and commitment; and a certificate of completion from the Student Development and Leadership Institute. I am so happy and honored to be a part of the Cal Poly Pomona community. Every day, every week, every month, every quarter, every season, every year, I think of school and the excellent memories.”

- Amrot Dejene, Management and Human Resources, Class of 2008

Sharing a Class, Sharing a Life

Lisa Van Lun and Ben Sussman

“I met my fiancé, Ben Sussman, during our sophomore year at a charity football game on a Saturday. We didn’t exchange information, but the following Monday we noticed one another in our biology class. (We had been in class for four weeks and never crossed paths – it was a pretty big class.) The rest, as they say, is history. We've been together ever since. We're getting married this October in San Diego, where we've made our home.”

- Lisa Van Lund, Communication, Class of 2009

Peach Trees and Perfect Moments

“One afternoon, we were thinning peach blossoms in the fruit orchard. The temperature was about 75 degrees, and the sky was a clear blue. I was at the top of a peach tree when a soft breeze came up. Just then, a horse in the paddock next to the orchard began to whinny and nicker. To this day, it is still my favorite ‘perfect moment’ at Cal Poly Pomona!”

- Judi Kovacevich, Fruit Industries, Class of 2004

All in the Family

“My family grew while I was at Cal Poly Pomona. I met my husband my freshman year during an excursion with the Chemistry Club. When we married five years later, we had the reception at Kellogg West. I was pregnant with my first daughter while attending class, and after she was born, we ran around campus while I finished my courses. I was nine months pregnant with my second daughter when I defended my thesis!”

- Melissa Morris, Microbiology, Class of 2003

Victoria Vega (left) and Wendy Vermeer (right) pose with a mascot at the 2001 Hot Dog Caper. Hot Dog Caper Hilarity

“I started working at Cal Poly Pomona in 2001. Wendy Vermeer and I started on the same day. This is the first Hot Dog Caper we worked together. It was so much fun!”

- Victoria Vega, Library Assistants

Capturing Campus Beauty

Students having lunch at the quad“Of these lovely pictures, my favorites are the very first one of the quad, feeding the ducks at the pond, and the Japanese and rose gardens.

The picture of students studying and having lunch on the grass with the jacarandas in full bloom in the quad combined with the beautiful campus shows what it’s all about: the students.

This shot of the duck pond was made memorable by the woman feeding the ducks. She must have fed them often or had been there for a while, because the ducks surrounded her. A friend indeed. I used to wander the Japanese and rose gardens often and smell the roses. Thank you, Cal Poly Pomona gardeners!

The other pictures include a carved stump in the Voorhis Ecological Reserve hike up to Kellogg House Pomona, the jacaranda trees by the Rose Garden, the biotech building, views looking out of the Bronco Student Center, the library, the ‘power tower’ and Building 94.”

- Stanley Abraham

A Professor and a Mentor

“Dr. Christina Dehler provided me with mentorship that influenced my future career goals and aspirations. I was already an elementary teacher when I returned to Cal Poly Pomona to pursue my master’s degree. I met Dr. Dehler during my first semester of coursework; coincidentally it was her first semester as a tenure track professor. She had high expectations, discussed her research, and always took time to listen to what her graduate students had to say. I appreciated her leadership and ability to adapt theory to practice. After graduate school I decided to continue my education and earned a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. I am now a tenured professor. I thank Dr. Dehler for her mentoring and leading by example.”

- Cynthia Gautreau, Education Technology, 2002

2010's

Men's Basketball Team celebrating being champions

When Two Champions Clashed

“My favorite Cal Poly memory was when men's basketball had won the Division II championship in 2010 and was invited to play at Duke University, the Division I champs. Never in a million years did I think my school would play my sister's school (she was a student at Duke at the time). My entire family was psyched about the game! We wore both Duke and Cal Poly gear to the BSC to watch and had a blast!”

- Erika J. White, Civil Engineering, Class of 2012



Natali Zagami Lopez

Revealing a Hidden Talent

I was a student at Cal Poly Pomona from 2002 to 2004, but I have to say my favorite memory occurred years later when I became a staff member. In June 2012, I performed in the variety show on Staff Appreciation Day. I had attended Temple City High School and was a cheerleader in the pep flags branch of the squad. As fate would have it, my green, gold and white flags matched my future college’s school colors. I performed that day, representing the University Library. Many of my co-workers were stunned that I had this hidden talent – a talent that I carried with me and never forgot. I was proud to share it at my alma mater, Cal Poly Pomona!”

- Natalie (Zagami) Lopez, Special Collections-Research Help Desk Art History, Class of 2004

Amazing People, Amazing Campus

Amanda Smith with Cal Poly Pomona friends

“My strongest memory from attending Cal Poly Pomona is not one particular event, but rather it’s the people with whom I shared those experiences.

Cal Poly Pomona has so many opportunities to get involved on campus, and I was fortunate enough to participate in a variety of clubs. From running on the track team, being a Poly Pathfinder, and to even working at the Collins College, I was able to get to know the people that make up this amazing campus. That’s what I hold with me and will miss the most.”

- Amanda Smith, Marketing Management, Class of 2010

Ana Loera

Moment of Pride for Architecture Alum

My favorite memory is the moment I became the architecture valedictorian in the College of Environmental Design! It was a very proud moment for me!

- Ana Loera, Architecture, Class of 2013

A Trip to Trona

Lorena Matarrita-McNicholas“During spring of 2011, my graduate-level planning studio class was examining revitalization strategies for the Trona historic mining town. To gather data and information, our professor required us to take a field trip to the town. Trona is three hours northeast of Cal Poly Pomona, and basically in the middle of nowhere. I ended up being one of the lucky drivers and was given the pleasure of driving four of my male colleagues. Despite my stern email warning them to be on time, I waited in the school parking lot for 15 minutes before the first of the guys arrived. As they trickled in, I wanted to be mad at them, but they came bearing gifts: donuts, milk, chips and gas money. One of them, unfortunately, had difficulty waking up that morning. Not willing to wait any longer, we left him behind. He managed to wake up shortly after and meet us at a fast food spot along the way. He still had green goo all around his eyes! The long ride to Trona was kept interesting as we discussed arranged marriages, work, and culture, while listening to Kelis’s “I’m Bossy.” The guys made it my theme song for the rest of the quarter. Needless to say, the four colleagues turned into four friends that day.”

- Lorena Matarrita-McNicholas, Urban and Regional Planning, Class of 2012



Alum ‘Loved Every Minute’ in Political Activist’s Classes

Nathan A. Miller“I have so many favorite experiences at Cal Poly Pomona, but if I had to narrow it down to one it would have to be the day the faculty had an event honoring Jose Vadi’s teaching career at the school. An avid political activist and somebody that truly loved teaching, Vadi marched on Washington with Martin Luther King, Jr. We were ideological opposites on many issues, but his sense of duty and responsibility rang true to me and I loved every minute being in his classes. Now I’m an elected community college trustee and in most ways I have him to thank for finding my calling.”

- Nathan A. Miller, Political Science, Class of 2010

Forever a Bronco

“My Cal Poly Pomona experience during the last four years has defined me as a student, a young lady, a professional, and a soon to be Cal Poly Pomona alumna. I am proud to be a Bronco because Cal Poly Pomona has made me who I am today. From friendships to time in the classroom to extracurricular activities and on-campus employment, I have become a better person because of the education I have received at Cal Poly Pomona, the opportunities to study abroad and the financial assistance and scholarships. I will forever be a Bronco! I love CPP!!”

- Rochelle Raquel, Class of 2014

Why Cal Poly Pomona?

“Rose Parade is one of the most memorable annual events. This is the only time that students from both Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo show their efforts throughout the whole academic year. Students have designed, built, and contributed thousands of hours to volunteer to build those amazing floats on weekends and full-time during winter break. This is one of the great accomplishments of the two campuses in 65 years. The Cal Poly Rose Float is amazing because it is built by students, unlike other floats. And students keep doing a great job year after year. I volunteered for Cal Poly Pomona’s Rose Float for one year in high school. This year’s ‘Tuxedo Air’ was pretty amazing. I enjoyed working on it, and that is why I chose to go to Cal Poly Pomona.”

- Duven Do, Biotechnology, Class of 2017


Freshmen Fun

“I remember as a freshman living in the suites and learning the Cal Poly Pomona dance to the song ‘Buzzin.’ My friends and I would do the dance every time we heard the song come on. I will always associate that song with Cal Poly Pomona.”

- Pamela Harlow, Civil Engineering, Class of 2016

Overcoming Adversity

“Cal Poly Pomona forged me into a gritty engineer, and I’ll tell you why.

My stay at Cal Poly Pomona was plagued with a steep decline in my health. I began to suffer from panic and anxiety attacks and agoraphobia when I transferred to the university from my hometown of Modesto in 2008. In retrospect, it’s almost poetic that it happened in the midst of the Great Recession.

As I began to live by myself, going to Cal Poly Pomona from Ontario (where I had moved) was beyond difficult – it was excruciatingly painful to ride the bus for almost two hours to reach the university. I vividly remember feeling like I was going to have a heart attack, like I couldn’t breathe. When I arrived on campus though, my alma mater comforted me enough to make it through the day. But heading back home late at night for another two hours was like traveling back to the depths of the most painful nightmare. I lived alone, and the nights were cold and long. I was barely staying afloat academically, but I never gave in. Something drove me forward.

By summer 2009, the situation had turned even more precarious. Budget cuts had plagued the entire CSU system, and Cal Poly Pomona was forced to switch to self-supported classes during summer quarter. I had to take and pass ME 214 as a prerequisite for a junior-level chemical engineering class only offered in the fall. In addition, the financial aid office put a hold on my financial aid package due to my abysmal performance in the previous academic year. I understood the situation – take the class and pass or drop out. In a desperate final effort, I sold all my worldly possessions (my computer, my books, all my furniture), and took one final chance. It had come down to that one class. After paying rent and tuition, I had $25.42 to survive for five weeks.

I stopped taking the bus and walked to school. Water was free, but unfortunately, walking 10 miles under the scorching heat of the summer dehydrated me. I had to go to class, do homework, study, and walk back home. I was dropping weight at a rate of one pound a day, as my food supplies consisted mainly of crackers and fruit, the cheapest items at the supermarket.

However, the long walks made me think of Voorhis and Kellogg, the academic legionnaires who set up my school. I knew I was standing on their shoulders. I couldn’t fail them, my family, my community and myself.

The panic attacks continued, but the walking had made them less painful, and thankfully I passed ME 214. The financial aid office graciously granted me funding for that academic year. I was in tears of joy.

I knew in that moment that I would become a Cal Poly Pomona engineer. Nothing could stop me.

I graduated in June 2012 with a bachelor’s of science in chemical engineering, and now I work in my field of studies.”

- Marco Guzman, Chemical Engineering, Class of 2012

Alumna Remembers Sociology Professor

“My fondest memories of Cal Poly Pomona are of my time spent in the sociology department. This is mainly due to having a faculty full of amazing professors. One professor in particular, Jack Fong, made my experience at Cal Poly Pomona exceptional and inspired me to achieve my goal of earning an advanced degree. As a transfer student from San Diego State to Cal Poly Pomona, I was very shy and uncertain of a life path. I was unhappy with my chosen major and was getting burnt out with school. Fortunately for me, my intro to sociology class professor had to take a sudden leave of absence and was replaced by Dr. Fong. He made the class so much more interesting than I originally gave it credit for. He also inspired me to change my major to sociology.

Dr. Fong had an effortless way of teaching. It was as if we were having a conversation rather than listening to a lecture. I found this approach to be very effective because it created a welcoming relationship between professor and students. As the faculty advisor to the sociology honor’s society, Alpha Kappa Delta, he encouraged students to get involved in extracurricular activities that will stimulate their academic growth. With his encouragement, I was able to participate in conferences and attend workshops that greatly added to my resume. Lastly and most importantly, Dr. Fong is a huge proponent in my success as a graduate student. He was the first person to believe in my ability to achieve a graduate degree and the first person to offer me a letter of recommendation. To Dr. Fong I owe my fondest memories of Cal Poly Pomona and my master’s degree.”

- Katarina Meza, Sociology, Class of 2011

A Kindred Spirit

“A great professor is one that is sincere, caring, experienced, humorous, and can relate to the students. My first day in any of Professor Kevin Farmer’s classes made me feel important with his speech of appreciation of the students enrolled in his classroom. I took three classes with him: Emerging Issues, Employee Benefits and Employee Law. His sincerity in every topic covered in class and his humor made me realize just how similar we were. As a student, you begin to admire professors who you can relate to and who are extremely smart as he is. I quote him on a lot of things he taught me. I had the best student memories in his classes. He is the best example of great professor.”

- Patricia Iniesta, Business Management and Human Resources, Class of 2013

A Season of Growth

“One of my fondest memories of Cal Poly Pomona was coming to freshman orientation in the summer of 2008. Fresh out of high school, I explored the beautiful campus and met my fellow freshmen. Five years later, I get to reflect back on that as an alumnus from the class of 2013. I was very shy and naïve, and now I have grown out of my shell. With my college experiences, I have grown into a man. The best years of my adult life were in college.”

- Steven Chen, Management and Human Resources, Class of 2013

‘Kermit Was My Wingman’

Aaron Sloan and Sam Pearson“First, I need to send thank you to a number of wonderful people both real and fictitious. It goes without saying that Cal Poly Pomona deserves a thank you from me because without it this story would have never happened. A big thank you to my advisor/mentor Dr. Nancy Merlino — you know you deserve more than a few words from me; thank you for your support throughout my collegiate career and for the initial introduction to the love of my life. Thank you to the valedictorian of my class, Kirren Dolan (soon to be Kirren Seiler), for your friendship and continued support. Thank you to Kermit the Frog, yes – Kermit the Frog – for being my wingman, as well as Sam Pearson’s and my relationship mascot.

Our short story starts with my very first class Cal Poly Pomona. Bright-eyed and bushy tailed, I sat there waiting for class to start, yet my eyes and attention were drawn to the young woman as she walked into the classroom. I found myself mysteriously drawn to this gorgeous young woman throughout the entire quarter. Everyone seemed to know her, and she lit up the room with her smile as she entered the classroom every day. After a full quarter of “almost” approaching her (when I say “almost” approached her, I mean to say I would make eye contact and then look away quickly and pretend it didn’t happen), I finally said hello with a week left in class. It was an awkward exchange between us since I had built this moment up in my mind for 10 weeks. Somehow I escaped with her name, a smile and the slightest hint that the feelings were mutual.

The next week we presented our final assignment. Using Kermit the Frog as my wingman, I had all the confidence in the world that she would be wooed by my professionalism and charming presentation skills. The few jokes I used in my presentation, all revolving around Kermit the Frog, were apparently only audible to one person since only one person laughed. Luckily it was the only person I had intended to make laugh. She laughed at my jokes, I smiled back and I continued. It was right then I had gained the confidence I needed to approach her again at our annual agricultural business management banquet. She, Sam Pearson, approached me and made the bold exchange of phone numbers and an agreement that we would meet up outside of class for a date at some point in the future.

We eventually arranged to go on a date after a school event that toured the Limoncello facility in Ventura. When we arrived back to Cal Poly Pomona, we both had important assignments to finish for different classes. I can honestly say that time has never moved more slowly than that day. Knowing that when I finished the assignment I would be going on a date with this girl made this the hardest paper I ever wrote. Our first date took place that evening in downtown Brea at the weekly farmers market. We took pictures in a photo booth, which I still have on the desk I am writing this short story on right now. Sam and I have been dating ever since, and I can’t see how I was ever happy before her. Things would have never happened like this if it were not for our friends and professors at Cal Poly Pomona. We make visits when we can. We never miss the Pumpkin Festival, and we attend the horse shows as often as we can.

Cal Poly Pomona was my choice of college to further my career, but I never thought it would change my life the way it did. I will forever remember Cal Poly Pomona for the friends, the great professors, and giving me the opportunity to meet the love of my life. I wish all of us the kind of happiness I found at Cal Poly Pomona.”

- Aaron Sloan, Agricultural Business Management, Class of 2013

Life Changing Conversations

“I started my college career back in 1995 in hot pursuit of obtaining a degree in psychology. The one prerequisite that I was avoiding at all costs was Communications 101. I can’t recall the year that I had to face it, but I do remember the professor who changed the course of my entire life.

Michael J. Yarbrough stood tall and slightly intimidating in front of the class that I was dreading and on the very first day put me in front of my “peers” to introduce myself. I almost threw up. Over the course of several weeks, there were more instances of almost losing control of my bodily functions. I loved it, and unknowingly, I conquered several fears and grew as a human being in that class. I’m not saying that I don’t feel like losing my lunch before speaking in front of a crowd of people — only that I choose not to eat first.

On my last day, Professor Yarbrough pulled me aside and asked me what my major was. After telling him it was psychology, he asked me to sit down with him to chat. We talked for what felt like hours. We spoke about music, family, love and my future. After that first conversation, there were several more that influenced a lot of decisions: I joined a band (The Antique Toys), I asked a girl I had a crush on out on a date (we’ve been married now for 13 years with two beautiful kids and another one the way), and ultimately graduated with a communications degree.

Professor Yarbrough pointed me in a different direction — the direction I was supposed to go in. In changing majors, I’ve met several more wonderful professors, like the late Professor Kaufman and Professor Jane Ballinger. I graduated in 2001 and have climbed the ranks in my industry. I’m glad to be a vice president of marketing for an international coffee company. Professor Yarbrough’s advice to ‘always keep busy, be creative, and don’t stop pursuing what’s best for you and your family’ has stayed with me. I’m proud to also own my own creative agency (789, Inc.), a dance studio (Room 2 Dance), and be the co-founder of a new organization that raises money for people facing life threatening obstacles (Scartissue Oddball Society.)

Professor Yarbrough inspired me in college, but his words inspire me every day. He remains to be my first mentor and the first person to believe in me. God bless you Doc! It still brings tears to my eyes to know that we lost Professor Yarbrough.”

- Charles Bell, Public Relations, Class of 2001

Hayley & HunterAn Architecture Romance

“I met my husband, Hunter, at Cal Poly Pomona in the architecture program. We started our courtship in the third year of the program, which is one of the most challenging years! We didn’t leave each other’s side, even to study abroad in Copenhagen in our fourth year. Later, Hunter went on to graduate school at the University of Washington, and I followed him there. After graduating, we moved back to California and have settled in San Diego. After seven years, we got married in September 2013 in the beautiful area of Big Sur, complete with tables named for our favorite architects. We now run a small business together and look forward to giving back to the school in the coming years. Thank you Cal Poly Pomona for introducing me to the love of my life!”

- Hayley Ruthrauff, Architecture, Class of 2009

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