The Cal Poly architecture department announced yesterday that it has been pledged a gift of $60 million from an anonymous donor.
Nationally, the bequest is one of the largest gift commitments ever made to a public university architecture department. It is also the single largest pledge ever made in the California State University system.
President Warren Baker spoke at an announcement ceremony yesterday along with College of Architecture Dean R. Thomas Jones and architecture department head Henri T. de Hahn. All three voiced their immense gratitude toward the anonymous donor.
“Good morning,” said Baker, addressing his intimate audience on the University House patio. “Today I’m pleased to announce Cal Poly has received a $60 million pledge designated to the architecture department.” Baker kept his usual stoic demeanor but was audibly touched by the situation.
The mystery donor was once a Cal Poly student in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, but never graduated due to economic hardships.
He is now a successful entrepreneur and would like to ensure that money is never a factor for architecture students trying to achieve their aspirations.
“Central to the donor’s visions are our students,” Hahn said at the announcement. “In fact they are the reason he has asked for anonymity, insisting that the focus of his generous gift will be their future and not his past.”
While no specific projects are in the works, the architecture department has announced that the gift will be used as it was intended: to improve the academic experience of architecture students. “This is a student-centered gift, and who knows what students will need in the future.” Jones said.
In an interview after the announcement ceremony Baker said, “(The gift) reflected the great confidence the donor has in Cal Poly. One of the things apparent to anyone spending time on campus is that students come first.”
Baker also mentioned a plan to engage current architecture students in the future allocation of the gift, hopefully creating a student-based vision of how the department could develop in the future.