Larry McMillan, a former engineering professor who mentored faculty and students and was instrumental in helping to raise funds for the construction of Building 17, has died.
McMillan, a Los Angeles native and a U.S. Navy veteran who served in the Korean War, was a retired engineering executive from General Dynamics when he began teaching at Cal Poly Pomona.
“Larry McMillan was a mentor, a source of inspiration, and a wonderful person,” said Cordelia Ontiveros, a professor emerita from the chemical and materials engineering department. “He brought industry experience and knowledge to our team in the College of Engineering. He provided great support and enthusiasm, and he will be missed.”
The USC alumnus was part of the team that helped convince Cal State University administrators to use the “renovation by demolition” approach to buildings 10, 11, 12 and 14 to make room for Building 17.
McMillan also tapped his expertise and connections to raise funds to build the new engineering building, a very early example in the CSU system of forging public-private partnerships to get projects done.
“Larry communicated in sincere and direct ways with both the academic dreamers and the industry pragmatists,” said Carl Rathmann, former associate dean and interim dean for the College of Engineering. “Cal Poly Pomona and the College of Engineering owes so much to him; he was one of the pioneers in that effort [of securing funding for Building 17]. Larry is a permanent part of the history of Building 17.”
He also worked closely with former Dean Ed Hohmann to form industry advisory boards for the engineering department.
“Larry was an immensely kind, competent and generous person,” said Lisa Rotunni, executive director for Academic Research and Resources.