Change Reflects History

By Jenny Johnson

Building One may be renamed after an Academic Senate review
tomorrow which is looking in to renaming the building after Dr.
Julian A. McPhee. Building One, which houses the Philosophy,
Economics and Communication departments, is facing a name change
that would honor Dr. McPhee, Cal Poly’s “singular president” for 33
years, according to Cal Poly administrators. “It’s a great idea to
have building one named after our founding president; it shows our
respect to him because he was so important,” said Kristin Bowman, a
third-year public relations student. Dr. McPhee already is a
presence on the campus in the form of a plaque on Building One that
represents the mission of Cal Poly as a university. The plaque was
embedded in the building to commemorate the separation of San Luis
Obispo and Cal Poly. “This college is dedicated to individual
productive application of knowledge.” The academic senate will
review the proposal tomorrow and if they approve the change, the
board of trustees will then examine it in January. If the board
passes it, a date will be determined and an unveiling may be
scheduled during the spring of 2007. The renaming is a long process
in which the name has to go through the Building Names Committee,
the President Cabinet, Academic Senate, and lastly to the CSU
Board. Ron Simons, associate vice president of University
Advancement, has been working on this project for more than 10
years. “This renaming would give students a connection to their
history and our legacy as Cal Poly. We have a historical legacy of
how we got here and we owe it to those people to recognize their
contribution and let students know,” said Simons. Building One was
chosen for the renaming because it was McPhee’s administration
building in that he secured state funding for its construction.
During his years as president, McPhee maintained his office in
Building One and held the most important meetings there until he
retired. “Cal Poly would not exist today if not for Julian McPhee,”
said Ron Freemont, coordinator of Public Affairs. “He made an
impact on our Cal Poly institution which can not be ignored.” Many
departments throughout the building see the renaming as great for
students and faculty alike to respect and pay homage to such an
important president. “It is appropriate for the historical aspect
of the campus because he was such a influential president for the
campus. It will keep the [up] awareness that he was here,” said
Laura Johnson, event planner for University Advancement. McPhee was
president over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1933 where he fought to
keep the campus and took over the presidency with no additional
pay. In 1938 McPhee learned of the Voorhis Campus outside of San
Dimas and convinced Charles Voorhis to donate the 157-acre school,
which was fully equipped with administration buildings, classrooms
and residences for students. In 1947 McPhee began to look for a way
to expand Cal Poly in Southern California. A year later, McPhee met
with Kellogg convincing him to donate his ranch for the use of Cal
Poly campus. McPhee was the singular president over the San Luis
and Kellogg/Voorhis campus from 1938-56. McPhee retired from his
33-year presidency in 1966. He passed away the following year.

Jenny Johnson can be reached by e-mail at
or by phone at (909) 869-3747.

Change Reflects History

Change Reflects History

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