On the heels of having a building in the College of Business Administration named in his honor, a 1971 accounting alumnus has issued a challenge for Cal Poly Pomona alumni, supporters and friends to retire construction costs and fund an endowment for the three-structure complex.
The California State University Board of Trustees formally approved the naming of Building 163 as Ronald W. Gregoire Hall during its meeting on Nov. 12. It is the first donor-named academic structure on campus.
“Cal Poly Pomona made it possible for me to go from selling cars instead of building cars,” said Gregoire, who was the first in his family to attend college. “It provided a much different quality of life for me and my family. It’s a special day. I am extremely honored with this naming.”
In Gregoire’s $1.5-million challenge to alumni and supporters, contributions will go toward the remaining project funding goal of $900,000 and the rest will establish a building enhancement endowment that will maintain upkeep and provide technology upgrades for the structures. Gregoire will match every donation dollar for dollar.
A website, www.gregoirechallenge.org, has been created to help donors learn more about the challenge.
Gregoire gave the initial $1 million in 2001 that planted the seed for the concept and encouraged others to give. Since its opening in fall 2012, the complex has received numerous design awards and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, making it an environmentally friendly complex. Overall, Gregoire has contributed $2.5 million for construction of the project.
The naming of a building or college has been reserved for a select few that have made profound contributions to Cal Poly Pomona: W.K. Kellogg, Darlene May, and Jim and Carol Collins. Gregoire joins that elite company.
“Ron has paved the way for students’ academic achievement, internships and career success,” said university President Michael Ortiz. “I applaud and admire his unrelenting commitment and steadfast loyalty to Cal Poly Pomona. His contributions to our students and our university are deserving of a building bearing his name.”
Gregoire wants alumni and supporters to answer the call to his challenge.
“I encourage alumni to give at whatever level works best for them,” Gregoire said. “The university does such a great job preparing us for our careers and it is so important that we give back, when possible, so other people can have the same opportunities we had.”
The 89,200-square-foot CBA complex houses six technologically enhanced classrooms, five auditorium-style case rooms, two computer labs, and eight breakout rooms equipped with a 42-inch flat-screen monitor where students can project and share their work.
While Gregoire’s generosity has helped advance academic success, his personal list of achievements also is impressive. He was awarded an honorary doctorate last June during the College of Business Administration’s commencement ceremony.
Long before his philanthropy began, Gregoire used the business savvy he acquired at Cal Poly Pomona to procure a lucrative network of eight car dealerships. He was able to retire before 50 and turned to philanthropy because “I’m a believer that if life has been good to you, you have an obligation to give back to society.”
His commitment and involvement with the university has been symbolic of that creed.
Gregoire was the vice chair of endowment for university’s comprehensive campaign that culminated in a record-setting $160 million in contributions. Of that total, $73 million was earmarked for the university’s endowment.
He has served on the University Educational Trust, the President’s Council, the Business Advisory Council and Ambassadors for Higher Education. Gregoire also endowed a scholarship for an outstanding business student through the President’s Council Scholarship program.
The Gregoire Family Trust supports the Leadership Forum, a speaker series that brings prominent figures in the business world to campus and seeks to inspire and motivate students.
During his career, Gregoire supported youth athletic leagues, organizations for cancer patients and the Los Angeles Police Department’s community youth outreach program. After his retirement, he became a proponent of the arts to improve the quality of life in the community.
To participate in the Gregoire Building Challenge, contact College of Business Administration Director of Development Jeff Cox at (909) 869-2755 or firstname.lastname@example.org.