He founded Kinko’s and he donated more than $16.2 million to the university. He’s even coming out with a new book and his first book signing event will be right here on campus.
Paul Orfalea will give a free presentation to the public at 4:30 p.m. in the Alex and Faye Spanos Theatre on Wednesday.
“It’s not often students get to meet someone of his stature,” said Director of College and Alumni Relations, Leslie McKinley. “He thinks outside the box.”
Orfalea recognized Cal Poly as a prestigious link to learning and experience in 2000, when he favored the university motto, “Learn by doing.”
“I think Cal Poly’s commitment to small-class size is really cool. That tells me that the school is serious about mentoring students,” Orfalea said in a press release.
“I know I would not have been able to succeed in life without a bunch of great teachers. Several of them really helped with my self-confidence and with my dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (even though we didn’t have either of those words when I was younger). I just don’t see how mentoring can happen in classes of 300 students.”
The book includes Orfalea’s experience with ADHD, but still successfully manages to expand on his experience in the business industry.
Orfalea’s new book, “Copy This!” tells the story of how the entrepreneur triumphed in establishing the first Kinko’s, a small copy-shop in Isla Vista, to a successful business chain.
“He has a different way of going about things, and having his book promotion here shows a lot on his part,” management information system senior Chelsey Drennan said.
Some students already plan to attend.
“He’s a wonderful person to hear speak,” Drennan said. “I’m going to take some inspiration out of it.”
“He brings in a nontraditional view,” Cal Poly alum Jim Erickson said. “I’m hoping to hear about his life and the challenges he faced.”
The book “Copy This!” was released Sept. 12 by Workman Publishing.
Orfalea has already begun promoting the book on the East Coast and began a month-long book tour.
The 57-year-old entrepreneur retired from his management position at Kinko’s in 2000. He sold his remaining shares of the company two years later and chose to dedicate his time and money to institutions and charitable donations.