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What's Going on with alumni in...

Some alumni news and success stories for you to enjoy. Won’t you share your story with us? Contact Deanna Stewart at dstewart@csupomona.edu or 909-869-5390.

Agribusiness and Food Industry Management/Agricultural Science


Rhode Makes Olympic History in London

Kim Rhode was nearly perfect in London on Sunday, winning a gold medal in the women's skeet shooting competition. Her record-setting performance makes her the first American to win individual medals in five consecutive Olympics.

Kim Rhode and her Olympic medals

Kim Rhode and her Olympic medals



University to honor Ron Simons with Honorary Doctorate

Ron Simons, whose six-decade affiliation with the university as a student and administrator has rightfully earned him the nickname “Mr. Cal Poly”, will soon have a new title. Simons is a 1964 Agriculture Business Management graduate.

Ron Simons

Ron Simons receives an honorary doctorate



Alumnus Delivers Record-Setting Gift for Baseball Facility

Agriculture alumnus and former baseball student-athlete Danny Andrews has pledged a record-setting $400,000 to the baseball stadium project. "Danny's dedicated service to the university and generous gift to launch the new baseball stadium project is truly inspirational," Director of Athletics Brian Swanson says.

PIE Donors Sponsor Future Teachers

Chelsye DeBoor has wanted to teach agriculture since high school, but it was starting to seem like an impossible goal. With student teaching and college coursework, DeBoor would have no income and very little spare time and would still have to shoulder living costs and tuition.

A photo of a baseball player

Alumnus delivers record-setting gift for baseball facility

Ag Ambassador Alum Wins National Recognition

It took only three short years for Jessica Weisbert to take a neglected agricultural education program and transform it into one of the premier agriculture education programs in the state of California. Jessica, who actually graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Political Science, started out taking agriculture classes and served as an Ag Ambassador for the College of Agriculture. When she joined Buena Park High School in 2006 as an ag teacher, the program had 3.5 acres of deserted farm land, a poultry and rabbit barn used for trash, no facilities to work with animals, and no landscaping. Today, the 4.5 acre facility includes a new barn with space for 100 market animals; three show and exercise areas for steers, sheep, goats and pigs; and a refurbished poultry and rabbit facility that currently houses 65 laying hens.* The garden plot boasts a brand-new sprinkler irrigation system and the 350 fruit trees have micro-sprinkler irrigation installed, thanks to a little assistance from Dr. Greg Partida, professor of plant science at Cal Poly Pomona. Partida is a member of the high school’s Ag Advisory Board and has been a strong supporter the last three years. Needing someone with knowledge of avocados, Jessica was given Greg’s name by another teacher she met at a professional meeting. “When I first called him, I expected him to bring one or two trees, but he showed up with 150 avocado trees!” explained Jessica. He also volunteered his help with the planting and irrigation system. Community members helped students landscape the front lawn areas and install a six foot waterfall and sign to recognize the agriculture program. “Parent involvement has been great,” said Jessica, and “the school site and district support has been amazing. They love ag!” Along with the facilities the curriculum was also updated. The ag earth, ag biology and vet sciences courses now meet high school graduation requirements for science credit and are recognized by the University of California and California State University. Thanks to the Teacher Pipeline Grant, tutors are provided and inspire some of the students to become agriculture teachers. Jessica is extremely proud of her students’ success, not only in capturing numerous awards but also in “the number of students finishing the agriculture program and moving on to college, getting jobs, and acquiring skills like public speaking.” Jessica’s hard work and dedication were recognized at the national level when the Buena Park High School Agriculture Program was selected as the 2009 Outstanding Secondary Ag Ed Program for Region I of the National Association of Agricultural Educators (N.A.A.E).

portrait of Jessica W

Animal Health Science / Animal Science


Ready for Anything

Melissa Stevenshas dreamed of being an equine veterinarian since she started riding horses at age 3. But her experiences at Cal Poly Pomona opened her eyes to countless options she might explore after she takes a year off to decompress and catch up on her sleep.

Melissa Stevens has dreamed of being an equine veterinarian since she started riding horses at age 3



Education is a Hands-on Adventure

From caring for Bengal tigers to excavating a 17th century settlement in Poland to working at a body farm in Tennessee, Katie Murtough's five years at Cal Poly Pomona have been packed with action and education. Soon after graduation, the animal science major flies to Rwanda and will spend seven weeks exhuming, cataloging and studying gorilla skeletons.

katie and tigers

From caring for Bengal tigers to excavating a 17th century settlement in Poland to working at a body farm in Tennessee, Katie Murtough's five years at Cal Poly Pomona have been packed with action and education


'Window to the West' Art Exhibit

Huntley, a 1960 animal husbandry alumnus, is a successful businessman and avid art collector. The "Window to the West" art exhibit at the W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery illustrates the history and landscape of the American West.

Fresno Businessman to Be Awarded Honorary Doctorate

Cal Poly Pomona and The California State University will present an honorary doctorate to alumnus Don Huntley of Huntley Moore Farms in Fresno in recognition of his service to the agricultural industry and the university. Huntley is a 1960 animal husbandry alumnus.


Apparel Merchandising & Management

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Plant Science


Oak Tree Dedicated to Honor Alumnus

Admired for their beauty and great size, oak trees symbolize strength and longevity. It was fitting that the university dedicated an oak tree on Aug. 18 in honor of alumnus Stuart J. Sperber, a pioneer and leader in the horticulture industry.

oak tree and a family

It was fitting that the university dedicated an oak tree on Aug. 18 in honor of alumnus Stuart J. Sperber, a pioneer and leader in the horticulture industry.

Stuart Sperber to Receive Honorary Doctorate

Stuart Sperber, who is president and co-founder of Valley Crest Tree Company and a longtime supporter of the university, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Science during the College of Agriculture commencement ceremony on June 9. An alumnus of the Cal Poly Pomona Voorhis Campus, Sperber has created an impressive name for himself, his family and his company in the landscape, nursery and tree industries.

Stuart Sperber, who is president and co-founder of Valley Crest Tree Company and a longtime supporter of the university, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Science during the College of Agriculture commencement ceremony on June 9.

CPP Alumnus Selected for Class 39 of the Ag Leadership Program

In November 2008, Jose Aguiar (‘87, agronomy) was among the twenty-five outstanding Californians in agriculture who were selected to participate in the California Agricultural Leadership Program (CALP). Mr. Aguiar and the other members of Class 39 will take part in a two-year program designed to create forward-thinking leaders who have the ability to engage and positively influence society, and who can participate in communication networks that enhance California agriculture. The program includes seminars delivered by four partner universities, including Cal Poly Pomona, and other academic institutions as well as a 10-day national seminar during the first year and a 15-day international seminar the second year. For the latter activity, Mr. Aguiar and his classmates will visit Ecuador and Peru in early 2010. Mr. Aguiar is currently a Farm Advisor with the University of California Extension Service, Riverside County, and works primarily with vegetable crops. In addition to his B.S. degree from Cal Poly Pomona, he has a master’s degree in vegetable crops from U.C. Davis. He is actively involved with CHAPA (California Hispanic Agriculture Professionals) and with the Coachella Valley Police Officers Association.

portrait of jose aguilar

ASA Lifetime Achievement Award Presented to CPP Alumnus

Cal Poly Pomona alumnus, Mr. Dennis W. Westcot (agronomy, ’67), received a 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), California Chapter, at the statewide conference in February ’09. One of only three honorees in the State, Dennis was recognized for his many contributions in the area of water quality here in the United States and abroad. Dennis’ interest in water quality and salinity began while an undergraduate student here at Cal Poly Pomona. His senior project focused on using higher salinity water for crop production. After completing his military service, he returned to graduate school in New Mexico and earned a M.S. degree in Soil Physics in 1972 with a minor in Surface and Ground Water Hydrology. Immediately after graduation Dennis began work with the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board as their Southern San Joaquin Valley Agricultural specialist. During that time he coordinated development of the water quality control plan for the largest irrigated area in California (Tulare Lake Basin) and developed numerous water quality monitoring and testing programs for projects involving land disposal of municipal and industrial wastewater and the use of wastewater for irrigation. In 1975, Dennis was recruited to develop the water quality program for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). For seven years, he served as FAO’s water quality and salinity specialist, traveling to assist irrigation projects in over 40 developing countries. While at the FAO, Dennis and UC Extension Specialist (and a 1992 honoree) Bob Ayers prepared an international handbook, “Water Quality for Agriculture,” dealing with higher salinity waters and other water quality programs. This handbook, now over 30 years old, is in its fifth printing and is available in five languages. Dennis returned to the Water Quality Control Board in 1982 where he played a major role in the development of water quality standards, dairy waste disposal techniques and special studies on water quality and waste load assessments. His efforts have laid the foundation for how the state deals with agricultural surface and subsurface drainage problems, the impacts of drainage water disposal and reuse, drainage water reduction programs and animal waste management programs. Partially through his efforts, California agriculture leads the nation in water quality protection and sets the standard for the remainder of the country. Although he retired from the Board in 2006, Dennis continues to serve as a consultant in state and national policy and program development on water quality. He has published numerous articles on water quality, salinity control, water quality assessments and agricultural water quality impacts including international guidebooks. He has been an active member of California ASA and served on the Board as its president in 1996 and on the scholarship committee. Currently, Dennis is the Project Administrator for the San Joaquin River Group Authority, a joint powers authority of several water agencies that are coordinating the timing of flows in the San Joaquin River to increase salmon smolt survival and migration across the Delta.

portrait of dennis wescot