With the decade’s teen years coming to an end, Cal Poly Pomona is roaring into the 2020s with a string of accomplishments ranging from a major prize in the Rose Float Parade to the opening of the new Student Services Building.
In addition to a surge in applicants, the university has received grants for key student success initiatives, celebrated a milestone birthday for the Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies and introduced its own artificial intelligence chatbot.
In the spirit of celebrating the year’s success while looking forward to new ones, here is a list of PolyCentric’s top 10 posts of the year.
Student Services Building Officially Opens At Cal Poly Pomona
Cal Poly Pomona ushered in a new era when it opened the Student Services Building (SSB), an architectural centerpiece of the campus. The opening of the 140,000-square-foot building consolidated services – including academic advising, financial aid and registration – that were previously delivered on various floors of the now-shuttered CLA tower. The SSB also became the first campus facility to garner LEED Platinum certification, enhancing Cal Poly Pomona’s legacy in sustainability and green-building practices.
The 2019 Rose Parade Float, Far Out Frequencies
A float featuring a pair of astronauts and their alien friends helped Cal Poly Universities capture the Extraordinaire Award at the 2019 Rose Parade. “Far Out Frequencies” was the 71st float that students from Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Louis Obispo teamed up to build. The Extraordinaire Award, honoring the most extraordinary float, brings the campuses’ trophy tally to 59. Students and volunteers are now putting the finishing touches on the 2020 entry, “Aquatic Aspirations.”
University Received Record Number of Applications for Fall 2019
Cal Poly Pomona received a record number of applications for the 2019-2020 academic year, with more than 57,000 from prospective first-year and transfer students. The pool size was a nine percent increase over the previous year.
CEU and ENV Deans Retire
Longtime deans Michael Woo and Howard Evans retired in 2019. Woo, the first urban planner, the first Asian American and the second-longest-serving dean of the College of Environmental Design retired after 10 years of service. He was also a pioneering Los Angeles City Councilman, representing Hollywood and the surrounding areas during his two terms. Evans, who started as dean of the College of Extended University and the International Center, came to Cal Poly Pomona in 2012. During his tenure, the CEU team has developed and offered leading-edge self-support programs that have generated nearly $120 million.
Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies Celebrates 25th Anniversary
The Cal Poly Pomona Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies commemorated its 25 years and the legacy of founding director John T. Lyle with a series of sustainability-themed public events. The 16-acre Lyle Center was the California State University system’s first carbon-neutral facility.
Commencement Features More Than 6,000 Graduates and High-Profile Speakers
Cal Poly Pomona awarded degrees to about 6,070 students over eight ceremonies in May during the university’s 63rd Commencement. The events featured high-profile guest speakers in various fields from business to architecture, including Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis. Kounalakis, the first woman elected lieutenant governor of California and a former ambassador to the Republic of Hungary, returned to campus for a tour in September as part of her duties on the CSU Board of Trustees.
CPP Receives $8 Million in Grants for Student Success
Cal Poly Pomona has received about $8 million in federal funding to support the university’s mission of cultivating success, diversity and an inclusive polytechnic education. The four grants will go to support programs and initiatives designed to eliminate the equity gap, bolster services for graduate students, extend childcare hours and provide fellowships for students interested in careers or graduate school in food, agriculture, natural resources of human sciences.
CPP President Soraya M. Coley Appointed to Gov. Newsom’s Future of Work Commission
Gov. Gavin Newsom, citing the need to shape “an equitable, sustainable, inclusive economy of the future,” has named Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya M. Coley to a newly formed state commission tasked with that ambitious goal. The 21-member Future of Work Commission will make recommendations about harnessing technology, innovation and lifelong learning to promote better jobs, wages and working conditions.
Cal Poly Pomona Launches Text-Messaging Robot to Incoming Students
The university launched an artificial intelligence text messaging robot in the fall for freshman and transfer students. Dubbed Billy Chat, the chatbot lives inside a student’s text messaging app in their smartphone and is programmed to answer a host of questions on topics ranging from student financials to registration to co-curricular opportunities. Students can text Billy 24/7.
Colleges, Programs Recognized in a Host of Notable Rankings
U.S. News named Cal Poly Pomona among the best undergraduate universities in the Western United States. The university was No. 2 among “Top Public Schools” in the West, rising from No. 4 last year and tied for No. 14 on the “2020 Best Regional Universities-West,” rising from No. 28. CEOWorld Magazine ranked The Collins College of Hospitality Management No. 19 on its list of the “Best Hospitality and Hotel Management Schools in the World for 2019,” up from No. 32. Money Magazine ranked the university No. 41, rising six places from a year ago, in its 2019 “The Best Colleges in America Ranked by Value” list for quality and affordability.