The Horticulture/Plant and Soil Science Department at Cal Poly Pomona offers the only Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture in Southern California.
The Horticulture program was started in 1946, by Oliver A. “Jolly” Batcheller. At this time, courses were being taught at the all male Voorhis campus in San Dimas. Horticulture and citriculture were among the first two programs started at this campus location. The Ag Inspection program developed by Mr. Edward Appel at this same time has evolved into what is now our Agricultural Biology major. Other pioneers included Albert "Ted" Canham and Bob Proscal who both joined the staff in the late 1940's to take charge of the citrus and general crops programs, respectively. Interestingly, Bob Proscal inherited the general crops program from Carl Englund, who eventually became the Dean of Agriculture programs. In 1949, Jim Griffin became Jolly's assistant and assisted in instructing classes in horticulture.
Horticulture remained a separate major with Jolly Batcheller as department chair. During this period, Landscape Architecture and Park Administration served as emphasis areas. The early seventies saw Landscape Architecture become a part of the College of Environmental Design. Park Administration also became a separate major in 1972. Jolly Batcheller served his final year as department chair in 1971, and was succeeded by Dr. Joel Carter, who served in this capacity from 1971 through 1977. Dr. William Sparks began his tenure in 1978 and served as chairman of the Ornamental Horticulture/Park Administration Department until his untimely death in 1980. George Price became the acting chair until Joel Carter stepped once again into this all too familiar position until 1985, when Dr. Frank Gibbons was hired and assumed chairmanship of the department. Peggy McLaughlin and Dr. Kent Kurtz both served admirably in acting roles as chair for several interim periods.
The Plant and Soil Science department was not formed until 1968. Prior to this, each of the separate majors had their own department heads, most of whom were the original pioneers from the Voorhis campus. The decision to form the Plant and Soil Science department was made due to the very same reasons that initiated the recent merger of the Horticulture and Plant and Soil Sciences departments. The four majors, Ag Biology, General Crops (Agronomy), Citriculture (Fruit Industries), and Soil Science, were all experiencing low enrollments in each individual major. Dr. Robert Kramer thought that the merged areas would function more efficiently as one unit. In 1968, he appointed Bob Proscal as the Chairman. Bob served as the Chairman from 1968 until his retirement in 1980. In 1980, Robert Tullock Assumed the Chairmanship of the department until he accepted an overseas assignment in the Yemen Arab Republic for 2 years. Dr. Gaylord Patten assumed the Chairmanship assignment in 1984 until the recent merger in the spring of 1992. The Ornamental Horticulture/Park Administration Department and the Plant and Soil Science Department were officially merged. Currently serving as the chairman of the recently merged departments is Mr. Dan Hostetler.
For a brief period, an attempt to merge the Park Administration and Recreation departments was made, but due to low enrollments in both areas, the idea was dropped. Park Administration is now a directive elective concentration under the Horticulture major. In its current configuration, the Horticulture/Plant and Soil Science department offers 4 separate majors with options in 2 of the majors. These include: Agriculture Biology, Agronomy, Horticulture and Soil Science. The options of Crop Science and Crop Production can be selected by Agronomy majors, while the options of Fruit Industries and Ornamental Horticulture can be selected by Horticulture majors. The majors and options are described in more detail in the curricular section of this manual.