The story of the marquees

By Abigail Inman

Driving down Temple or Kellogg Drive on the way to Cal Poly
Pomona, countless students read one of the electronic marquees, but
few stop to think about the work and history behind the signs.

The campus’ two marquees are not a recent development.

The first boards were plain-letter boards like those in front of
movie theaters.

Ron Fremont, associate vice president for University Relations,
remembers the signs before they became the present-day high-tech
displays.

“The original signs were first put in some time during the 60s,”
said Fremont. “We thought we got really tricky when we made them
backlit.”

In the late ’90s, the marquees were replaced with simple
electronic message boards that could display nothing but text, no
pictures and definitely not the galloping broncos we see today.

“It burned an enormous amount of electricity,” said Fremont.
“The bulbs were expensive, and you had to replace them a lot.”

In 2005, Fremont began an initiative to revamp the signs
again.

The same frame was kept, but the electronics were pulled out
from inside and replaced with the current light-emitting diode
panels.

The new signs are much more energy-efficient and have been
displaying messages to everyone that drives by from 6 a.m. to 10
p.m. ” the time when the signs are on.

The messages address not only Cal Poly Pomona students, but also
everyone driving on Temple.

Because of this, messages are occasionally aimed toward the
drivers who are not affiliated with Cal Poly Pomona.

“A couple years ago, Mount Sac had a problem, and they were
going to close for evening classes and needed to let people know,”
said Fremont. “So they called us up and asked if we could put it on
our marquee. We were happy to help.”

Director of Public Affairs Uyen Mai, who is in charge of the
marquee, said there are certain guidelines as to what can be
displayed.

“In general, they have to impact the broader community,” said
Mai. “For example, if it’s an invitation-only event it doesn’t
belong on the marquee. We want events that are open to the public
or congratulatory announcements that let people know the successes
that are happening here.”

And people appreciate being told.

“The marquee is a great way to get an idea of what’s happening
on campus while you’re just driving by,” said Joshua Hernandez, a
first-year mechanical engineering student. “I read it every time I
come to school, it only takes a second.”

Hernandez’s sentiment is the sort of testimony that Mai and
Fremont like to hear.

“You want people to know that Cal Poly Pomona is a good
neighbor,” said Mai. “It’s just another way we try to reach out to
the community.”

The story of the marquees

Marcelo Villa / The Poly Post

The story of the marquees

The story of the marquees

Courtesy of Tom Zasadzinski / Office of Public Affairs

The story of the marquees

The story of the marquees

Courtesy of Tom Zasadzinski / Office of Public Affairs

The story of the marquees

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