Photos courtesy of Cal Poly

There will be two key-note speakers for the upcoming spring commencement: Gary Erickson and Phil Bailey. Both speakers have strong ties to Cal Poly and the community surrounding it. 

Gary Erickson

Erickson will address the College of Liberal Arts and Orfalea College of Business at 9 a.m. and the colleges of Engineering and Architecture and Environmental Design at 3 p.m. on June 17.

Erickson graduated from Cal Poly in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. After Cal Poly, Erickson went on to found Clif Bar & Company with his wife Kit Crawford. They founded the well-known CLIF Bar and have gone on to make other products such as the LUNA Bar, energy gels and recovery drinks.

We’re very grateful that Gary has agreed to address our graduates and tell his compelling story. He can offer our graduating students real-world stories of how he turned an idea into his dream job and built it into a successful and innovative company,” Cal Poly Communications Specialist Jay Thompson said in an email to Mustang News.

Erickson was inspired to make the CLIF Bar during a 175-mile bike ride. With the help of his mother, he refined a recipe. The CLIF Bar itself is named after Erickson’s father, who introduced him to outdoor adventures and always encouraged him to pursue his dreams.

While the company continues to succeed, Erickson and his wife refuse to sell it and want to keep it family and employee owned and stick to their core values. Their five key components for their business model are sustaining business, brands, people, community and the planet.

Phil Bailey

Bailey will address the colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and Science and Mathematics at 9 a.m. June 18.

Bailey is the longest serving dean in Cal Poly history and has led the College of Science and Mathematics (COSAM) for 34 years. He started working for the chemistry department in 1969, became associate dean of COSAM in 1973 and was named head of the department in 1983. Bailey has also been interim vice president for Academic Affairs twice.

One of his Cal Poly legacies includes the campus-wide motto “Study 25-35,” which refers to the number of hours students should be studying a week. Bailey has received awards such as INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine’s Giving Back Award for administrators in higher education and an Ambassador of Goodwill award for his support of underrepresented students. Cal Poly and the California Legislature have also honored him for his excellence in leadership, philanthropy and student advising.

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