Edwin Klewer, a retired Cal Poly Pomona International Business and Marketing (IBM) professor who taught at the university for nearly 25 years, died Jan. 4 surrounded by his family. He was 74.
The Upland resident began teaching at the university in 1986. He retired in 2007 but returned to campus to teach as a professor emeritus for several years.
Joyce Emilio, a lecturer and Cal Poly Pomona alumna, met Klewer when she was a student and took several of his classes. Once she became a faculty member, she worked with him on his professional selling program, she said.
“He was a tough teacher,” Emilio said. “He expected us to do our very best and then pushed us even further. He did this because he cared. He wanted us to believe in ourselves, and be the best we could be.”
Emilio added that the success of former students speak to her mentor’s dedication.
“They are a testament to an extraordinary professor who went out of his way to provide exceptional learning experiences and opportunities for those who took advantage of what he offered,” she said.
Klewer was born Feb. 1, 1940, in Houston to parents Monte and Mary Ruth Klewer, according to an obituary in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. He served in the U.S. Navy.
While at Cal Poly Pomona, Klewer founded the Center for Promotional Development. He raised funds for the program and forged student-industry partnerships. Klewer also was as an advisor for academic and student groups. He further dedicated himself to the university by serving on the Academic Affairs, Education, and Sabbatical Selection committees.
Professor G.R. Waters, who teaches in the Management and Human Resources Department (MHR), called Klewer his best friend. They enjoyed many evenings of movies and lively discussion. Klewer was a fan of action movies, but also films with a good social message, Waters said.
They met when they co-sponsored an organization on campus called the Society for Advancement of Management (SAM). They also started a multidisciplinary program in 1999 called Competitive Marketing Edge (CME) involving student teams consulting with Inland Empire/San Gabriel Valley small- and medium-sized firms. “It was one of the few program the College of Business showcased as learn by doing,” Waters said.
Although Klewer demanded a great deal from his students and pushed them relentlessly, those he taught didn’t balk, Waters said. “He had some of the highest student ratings of any professor at Cal Poly Pomona,” Waters added. “He had an enormous amount of charisma. He was a salesman. He could sell you anything.”
IBM Professor James Swartz said in a message posted in an online memorial that those who knew him at the University of Houston, where he previously taught, as well as at Cal Poly Pomona respected his “exactitude of rigor, of professionalism, and of dignity.”
Swartz lauded his friend’s accomplishments and influence not only on campus, but beyond.
“He was an anchor in the professional sales/sales management program at Cal Poly that once was ranked among the very best in the entire nation,” Swartz said. “He was innovative in his treatment and advancement of our sales laboratories, and he launched a Center for Promotional Development that linked our campus with countless business leaders across Southern California that helped to trigger countless careers among his thousands of students over almost a four-decade career.”