Aaron Madrigal values Cal Poly Pomona’s learn-by-doing environment and how his undergraduate experience shapes who he is today. When hearing the news that author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott gifted $40 million to the university, he was excited about the additional opportunities the funding will bring and how he can say he was at Cal Poly Pomona during this moment.
“You take a different approach to academics and to me that’s what I needed – the polytechnic advantage inspires me to do my work a little better and strive in academics,” Madrigal, a junior computer engineering student, said. “Scott’s gift is such a big reward and at the same time, so generous. It’s exciting for the community we have here, and not just for me, but for every student, faculty member and staff member.”
In announcing nearly 300 gifts to organizations nationwide, Scott reiterated her commitment to bolstering the work of colleges and universities making a difference for underserved communities. She wrote in her Medium blog post, “Seeding by Ceding,” that “higher education is a proven pathway to opportunity.”
“We are attempting to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change” Scott wrote. “In this effort, we are governed by a humbling belief that it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands, and that the solutions are best designed and implemented by others.”
Cal Poly Pomona is the No. 1 polytechnic university for social mobility, graduating low-income students into well-paid careers. The university prepares students through polytechnic experiences (PolyX), support programs, and resources that strengthen personal growth and development and focus on the future of work and civic engagement to give students flexible skills for changing work environments.
Melvin Houston, an electrical and computer engineering junior, immediately chose to attend Cal Poly Pomona because it was a polytechnic university.
“When I’m going into the workforce, I’ll be ready to use my hands-on experiences as opposed to other schools that only practice traditional learning where students don’t know how to put their books and numbers into play,” Houston said. “When I see my professors on campus, they remember me. They really care about you and are not just someone here to teach me. They’re another person to help me along my journey.”
President Soraya M. Coley credits the generations of alumni and donors who have elevated the reputation and success of Cal Poly Pomona over the years by empowering and supporting students to reach their fullest potential.
“This moment belongs to each of you,” President Coley said in a message to Cal Poly Pomona. “Each of you – students, faculty, staff, alumni, volunteers and supporters – helped build an institution that champions academic excellence, inclusion and diversity, opportunity for all and community engagement.”