By Meaghan Sands
“I think we’re elite,” said Scott Warrington, 75th anniversary committee chair and vice president for university advancement. “A lot of people in the CSU don’t like to say that, but we’re a destination campus now and I think that we need to begin to declare ourselves that way.”
This seems to be the attitude among many as Cal Poly Pomona approaches it’s 75th Anniversary. Plans for the school year’s celebration include stories buried in the past, interactive events showcasing how far CPP has come and celebrations about the future.
“We want a brilliant light reflected back on CPP,” said Warrington. “We’d like to have fireworks in the sky throughout the year.”
The 75th Anniversary Committee’s task, given to them by President Michael Ortiz, was to make sure the campus celebrates the anniversary correctly.
At last count there were 48 total events that were planned amongst the committee, including events such as homecoming and the opening of the BRIC. The events will be special, different and spruced up.
The committee did try to take advantage of things they already had planned and added something special to those events for the 75th anniversary.
Warrington believes it’s an opportunity to market the university and CPP has saved a little bit of money over the past years to put towards this occasion.
“There are always budget challenges,” said Warrington. “We certainly wish we had plenty more money to be able to spend for this, but the bottom line is that we want to make sure we have money for students first. You guys are the reason we’re here.”
One thing that Warrington stressed was they wanted to highlight was CPP’s hands- on approach to education. Even though CSU campuses as a whole take some kind of hands-on approach, CPP is also a polytechnic school so it focuses on it even more.
“And we’re really good at it,” said Warrington.
Students will have the chance to discover hidden places, people and moments that were tucked away in CPP’s historic past. For example, the student who built a tree house on campus, or the fact that CPP used to be an all boys school.
“I don’t think a lot of students know about the history of our school and so I think this is going to be a great way to bring awareness to that,” said Abigail Houtman-Inman, 75th anniversary task force student representative.
Houtman-Inman gave a student perspective on the committee’s representative’s events, letting them know what students value and are interested in.
“There were a lot of really talented and great people on the board so it was great to see what they came up with. Some people had some really incredible ideas,” said Houtman-Inman.
Some of her favorite events suggested during the committee meetings were the release of the Farm Store’s 75th anniversary wine, projecting lights onto the CLA building and seeing old photos from the archives that would be pulled out from special collections.
“I guess I can’t say that there’s one event I’m most excited for,” said Houtman-Inman. “It’s more the aspect of the 75th Anniversary Celebration that I’m most excited for.”
Houtman-Inman thinks that one of the most interesting things that will come from this is allowing students to see how much the university has changed and grown in the past 75 years.
“I think this is cliche that people like to throw around a lot, but I feel and think that at our university we’re really lucky that it’s true: which is that it really is all about the students,” she said. “At the end of the day that’s what it comes down to.”
Warrington states that the university is operating in a student’s market and CPP is still discovering its brand. It would be easier to brand and market ourselves if we were in an environment like our sister school, Cal Poly San Louis Obispo.
He explains that this is because of their location, since they are all by themselves. The even bigger difference between the two campuses is that CPP is extremely diverse and SLO is not.
“They’re a great campus,” said Warrington. “They’re a great university. They’re our sister organization. But we’re independent right now. We stand alone and we deserve to stand alone. It’s just the way it is.”
According to Warrington, CPP has been growing in that direction since the beginning and Ortiz has had a vision to make it a regional campus. Now it’s getting that national recognition.
Along with the celebration of CPP’s transformation into an elite campus, the focus of the 75th anniversary celebrations will also revolve around reconnecting students, family and alumni to the campus.
Christi Chisler, 75th anniversary committee member and associate vice president of student affairs, understands the importance of bringing everyone together on campus.
This year, Homecoming will be a weekend event and will draw students, their families and alumni. Events will include ice-skating, a bonfire and CPP’s Got Talent.
Families will be able to come, stay the night at Kellogg West and enjoy a Saturday morning family breakfast.
CPP will also be inducting former athletes into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
This year’s Homecoming will be a celebration of families, students and alumni connecting and reconnecting.
“We wanted to put together events that would draw people, get them interested and make their families want to come for the weekend,” said Chisler. “And make alumni want to come back, because I think that’s an important piece of Homecoming. It’s really to bring people back to the campus to reconnect.”
Chisler thinks the families of CPP students feel a connection to the campus and are proud that their students are going there. She thinks Homecoming weekend should be a time where the families can come and have fun with their students.
Some events put on for the 75th celebration will not only bring families together, but it will also showcase the important and interesting people that came through CPP.
In April of next year there will be a production sponsored by the university covering the history of CPP. The theater department is putting it on for the university through College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences and it will showcase famous people from CPP’s past including the likes of Will Rogers, Virginia Adair and the 1970’s tree house caper.
During the committee meetings, the colleges, divisions and campus groups expressed how they would want to showcase the anniversary.
“People put a lot of thought into the historical connection they had to the university and how they would like to see it celebrated,” said Chisler.
Students can expect exactly that; a dynamic year filled with exciting new events and ramped up old ones, all showcasing how CPP has come to become a regional and national superstar.
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