Students from all six Cal Poly colleges will receive degrees in a three-part commencement ceremony on Dec. 17. After graduation, these students join a wide array of notable and successful Cal Poly-educated professionals.
They will become a few of the thousands of Cal Poly baccalaureates who made significant contributions to their respective workplaces and fields since the first graduating class of 1906.
Class of 2015: A case study
The graduating class of Spring 2015, the latest class for which data is available, reported finding significant success and employment after leaving Cal Poly. Of these alumni, 91 percent reported being positively engaged after graduation, whether that be in graduate school, professional training or employment. Of those employed, 94 percent reported successfully finding work in a field directly related to their major. Top employers include Amazon, Apple, Chevron, Microsoft and Tesla Motors. Other well-known companies employing alumni are Facebook, Oracle, DreamWorks Animation and The Walt Disney Company.
Many graduates also choose to remain at Cal Poly and join the significant proportion of alumni who work for the university. A majority of university offices currently employ at least one Cal Poly alumnus, including Career Services, Alumni Outreach, the Mustang Success Center, Admissions and the Office of the Registrar among many others.
A look at other alumni
Multiple Cal Poly alumni went on to become renowned in the general public as well. One particularly well-known example is musician and parody artist Alfred “Weird Al” Yankovic, who graduated with a degree in landscape architecture in 1979.
Yankovic went on to win four Grammys and released multiple gold and platinum albums, including “Running with Scissors” and “Straight Outta Lynwood.” Yankovic recently returned to campus for the celebration of the journalism department’s centennial, “100 Years of Delivering the News,” and was inducted into the Mustang Media Hall of Fame.
Another well-known pop culture phenomenon originating from Cal Poly is Urban Dictionary, which was started by computer science freshman Aaron Peckham in 1999. This innovative comedic website, consists of user-submitted definitions of words, most often including slang terms and popular phrases.
Famed NFL player, coach and commentator John Madden earned both his Bachelor of Science and master’s degree in education from Cal Poly, graduating with the class of 1961. In 2006, Madden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for “outstanding contributions to professional football” through his coaching career.
In 1990, business administration student Kirk Perron opened a small store called Juice Club in downtown San Luis Obispo. Working with four other Cal Poly students, this single store eventually grew into the Jamba Juice Company, which now operates hundreds of stores across the U.S. There are three locations in San Luis Obispo, including the original Jamba Juice located on Chorro Street.
This year’s graduates are in excellent company as they transition from this stage of their education to the next phases of their lives. Whether it be continuing upper education, full-time employment, or other pursuits, the graduating class of Fall 2016 has already left an indelible mark on the university and now moves on to impact and improve the world beyond.