The Spotlight Gala and Hall of Fame Dinner was a time of nostalgia, inspiration and hope. The event took place at the Embassy Suites ballroom in San Luis Obispo. It was the highlight of “100 Years of Delivering the News,’ two days of programs, tours and socializing to commemorate the centennial of Cal Poly’s student press.
Guest speaker Ben Bradlee Jr. presented “Journalism @ 100: Why It Matters Today More Than Ever.”
Ben Bradlee Jr. is former Boston Globe deputy managing editor who edited the paper’s 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning series on sexual abuse in the church. The investigation was the basis for the movie “Spotlight,” this year’s winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Student Media and Journalism Hall of Fame
Two of our inductees, Al Yankovic and Bruce McPherson, attended the Gala and were honored in person. George Ramos and Robert E. Kennedy were both honored posthumously.
Known professionally as “Weird Al” Yankovic, this four-time Grammy winner is the best-selling comedy recording artist in history. The former KCPR-FM student DJ famously recorded his first breakout hit, “My Bologna,” at Cal Poly. He has just completed a wildly successful Mandatory World Tour following the release in 2015 of his No. 1 album, Mandatory Fun.
Former California Secretary of State, state Assemblymember and senator, McPherson was an El Mustang student reporter before rising through the ranks at the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the newspaper founded by his grandfather, and then launching a successful career in politics that continues to this day. He now represents the 5th District on the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors.
A key contributor to three Pulitzer Prizes won by the Los Angeles Times, Ramos was a Mustang Daily sports editor and editor-in-chief; Vietnam veteran; Los Angeles Times reporter, editor and columnist; and Cal Poly Journalism Department chair. He was instrumental in founding the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Chicano News Media Association.
Robert E. Kennedy
Cal Poly professor and administrator, El Mustang adviser and university public relations director, this former reporter helped to found the Journalism Department. Kennedy served as Cal Poly’s president from 1967 to 1978, a period of tremendous growth. A standing tribute to his legacy is the campus library that bears his name.
Our Centennial Campaign is a way to take a proud tradition of excellence into a new century. It’s all about giving students the knowledge, confidence and skills necessary to enter the workplace and ensure thriving careers. The Centennial Campaign will help prepare students for the next 100 years.