Don Huntley makes no bones about his love of Cal Poly Pomona.
So when the alumnus stood before a crowd of more than 300 on Nov. 18 to celebrate him as the namesake of the newly named Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture, he shared how proud he is of being a part of the Bronco family.
“I am very prejudiced…” said Huntley, who grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. “I just think there is a lot of romance and history in the Kellogg Ranch. It’s just a fabulous campus. I think they give individuals some ideas of being creative, wherever they are in engineering or business. This is a glorious campus.”
Huntley, who graduated in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry, has pledged his 475-acre San Joaquin Valley pistachio farm to the university. In September, the CSU Board of Trustees voted in favor of naming the college in his honor. The longtime donor also has given to other programs at Cal Poly Pomona, including research projects for the agriculture and science colleges, the creation of the Huntley Vineyard, and the Native American Pipeline and Pathways to Graduation program.
Huntley was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2004 and received an honorary doctorate of science in 2009. He is a member of Cal Poly Pomona’s Founder’s Society.
“Don has never forgotten his alma mater,” said Mary Holz-Clause, dean of the College of Agriculture. “In many ways, he is a role model for the kind of partnership our college hopes to create with industry and donors in an era where funding for public universities has drastically declined.”
An avid collector of Western-themed art, Huntley also has donated and shared pieces of his collection with the university. The event honoring him included an exhibit of some of the pieces from his collection at the W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery.
University President Soraya M. Coley and Holz-Clause surprised Huntley with a western-themed portrait of himself painted by one of the businessman’s favorite artists, Mian Situ.
Coley called Huntley an “everyman” whose interests range from fine wine to gems and minerals to technology and lauded his “transformative gift” as something that will forever change the university.
“He has worked hard his entire life and also believes that his success wasn’t entirely his own,” she said. “Along the way, someone believed in him, gave him an opportunity and instilled in him the confidence. Don believes in working hard and giving back, and that will be his legacy at the Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture.”
Joshua Klockmann, a senior majoring in both plant science and agricultural science, with a minor in agronomy, said Huntley’s gift would provide more scholarships for students and help to bolster agriculture literacy.
“Don Huntley’s gift sends a strong affirmation to Cal Poly Pomona and its community of the importance of agricultural education and helps to ensure its prominence on this campus,” he said.