Cal Poly College of Agriculture Food, and Environmental Sciences alumni George Gowgani Credit: Cal Poly News

A memorial will be held for honored Cal Poly College of Agriculture Food, and Environmental Sciences alumni George Gowgani on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 11 a.m. at the Madonna Inn, following his passing on Dec. 13.

Gowgani was known for his work as a Crop Science professor, a position he started in 1967. He later served as a Department Head and Associate Dean in CAFES for three and a half decades.

Nearly 30 years later, in 1994, he was appointed Ambassador for Higher Education, CSU Board, and served from 2004-2011.

Gowgani’s projects impacted many, including past President George Bush, who at the time made several public statements stating his dislike of broccoli in 1990. In response, Gowgani shipped a case of “Broccoflower,” a cross between cauliflower and broccoli, that Cal Poly crop science majors were working on.

Born in Tabriz, Iran, the 24-year-old Gowgani immigrated to the United States in a Greyhound Bus in 1958 with nothing but “$20 and a suitcase.”

His trip from New York would end in Sacramento, where he enrolled in an English class, starting his extensive education path at Sacramento City College and received his associate degree.

Gowgani went on to receive a Bachelor’s and Master’s in crop science from Cal Poly, and later received a Master’s in agronomy and Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Nevada.

He was also known for his titles beyond the educational system and served in leadership positions as chair of the California Mid State Fair, a California State University trustee and on the board of the California Water Commission. 

Even with many titles, Gowgani always focused on his students to help them create a successful path and a larger world perspective, serving as a testament to his character and role as professor and mentor.

Gowgani is survived by his wife of 59 years, Margarite, his daughters Royaa and Farah and his three grandchildren Doug, Carmen, and George.

The family asks those planning on attending the memorial to RSVP.