Cal Poly Pomona Tops 100,000 Grads

Cal Poly Pomona Tops 100,000 Grads
Jonathan Boyd and Hervey Malone during the College of Business Administration commencement ceremony June 10, 2006.
Cal Poly Pomona commencement exercises in the Rose Garden, circa 1957 or '58.

In the early days, Cal Poly Pomona's alumni program was run out of a converted storage closet in Building One, and its membership information could be kept in a shoebox.

The alumni program is still located in Building One, but the closet and shoebox days are long gone.

In June the university reached a milestone when the number of its graduates swelled above 100,000.

The numbers are just in – as of June 2006 – 100,810 men and women have earned degrees from Cal Poly Pomona. Roughly 4,000 people belong to the Alumni Association and more are always needed and welcomed.

Ron Simons, known to alumni and colleagues as Mr. Cal Poly Pomona, became the first director of the alumni office in 1968.

“We had more students enrolled than alumni,” says Simons, who is a retired annuitant in the position of associate vice president for special projects. “It was at best a ragtag list.”

Simons had to dig to find the university's earliest alumni because from 1938 to 1956 any student who attended the local campus had to transfer to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to complete their degrees. The students literally took their records with them, so it wasn't an easy task.

Simons' first office space was a six-by-seven-foot closet.

“If anyone came to visit me, they had to sit out in the hall,” he says. “But, it was kind of fun because there was nothing to compare it with. It was the true Cal Poly learn-by-doing experience.”

Over time, what began in a glorified broom closet became the University Advancement Division.

By the early 1970s, the shoebox-sized card catalog became computerized. The Alumni Association membership continues to grow as do its services to alumni.

The association offers its members opportunities to participate in several social events a year, the Distinguished Alumni Program and the In-Reach Program, which connects alumni with the campus community. There are also several financial benefits such as insurance packages and membership to the Cal Poly Pomona Federal Credit Union.     

Melissa Riordan, director of Cal Poly Pomona's Office of Alumni Affairs, says the success of alumni reflects positively back on the university, so the more out there, the better.

“With more than 100,000 alumni, one of Cal Poly Pomona's greatest contributions to this region has been and will continue to be the quality of our graduate's performance in the areas of business, engineering, science and environmental design,” Riordan says.

To learn more about the alumni program visit or call (866) CPP-ALUM (Toll-Free) or (909) 869-2963.