By Julie Hak
Overlooking the school, in all its glory high up on a hill, sits a tradition that many classes of Cal Poly Pomona students have partaken in.
The CPP letters off in the distance seem really small from a vantage point in the University Quad or from the CLA Building, but they are actually quite the feat for the university. One letter is roughly 30 feet by 40 feet, and they are made of concrete.
In 1957, Warren “Skip” Tyler spearheaded the original cement letter project. He and 50 other students set out to put the school’s initials on CPP property to properly honor the school. They wanted to have the school letters adorning a hill on a prime location for people to see as they were driving up Valley Boulevard.
The huge letters were completed and presented to the school in 1959, but not many people know that the second P was added 12 years ago. The addition of the second P was a tribute to the current president at that time, Bob Suzuki, and his wife Agnes. That second P now distinguishes Cal Poly Pomona from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
The Agricultural Business Management Club was one of the many clubs and organizations that participated in the tradition to paint the letters. ABM members saw this as a beautification activity. Each design stays up on the letters for an average of three weeks, but it depends on if a different club has scheduled to partake in this tradition.
The club painted the letters with white spots over a black background to make them look like cows, much like the ones students smell on a daily basis.
The hike may be a weary one, but the view and joining in a tradition are worth the sweat and aching muscles. Unanimously, the group of 11 agribusiness students agree that the view was worth the hike.
“We’re Agi-s, so we like to be outdoors anyways,” said Aasta Yim, an agribusiness student the president of ABM.
They did this as a club for a bonding activity within their small tightknit group of “Agi-s.” Not only did painting the letters bring the club together, but it allowed new students to feel that they were a part of the university.
“[It’s] cool that it’s a tradition kind of thing,” said transfer agribusiness student Fabiola Perez. “Not many people can say they have done this.”
Another club that has had the opportunity to participate in this tradition is the Student Alumni Association. They are the responsible for painting the CPP letters gold at the end of every spring quarter for Commencement.
Graduation is a glorious time and a long time coming for students. To look up after receiving a well-earned diploma and be greeted by the shimmering gold of the beloved CPP letters is a tradition that all Cal Poly Pomona students get to experience.
“I definitely think this is something unique that gives students the opportunity to feel like they’ve helped Cal Poly [Pomona] stand out in some way, and also represent themselves on campus,” said Liz Salazar, SAA’s president.
According to Salazar, the two hours the club put into painting the letters are definitely worth it.
“I know when I saw the letters painted, I would feel proud and think “See guys? I painted those letters!” It was exciting,” said Salazar.
SAA also does this as a bonding event for the club’s members. Not only do they get to experience the letters, but the students help make the graduation experience for the graduating students.
The Cal Poly Pomona cheer squad is one of the many student organizations that get to experience the letters in a different way. The team is one of many organizations that hike up after the letters have been freshly painted.
“It was definitely a bonding experience,” said Nadia Mercado, a CPP student and cheerleader on the squad. “We were helping each other out to get both up and down the hill. We went up there during sunset, so we reflected on the year and talked about our future goals for the upcoming year.”
They had wanted to hike up to the letters, so they finally decided to go after their final practice of the year. No one on the cheer squad had ventured up to the letters, so there was some confusion as to where to park and how to even get up to the letters. After finding the path by Parking Lot J, they found their way up the hill for a spectacular view.
Many CPP students can say that they once painted and experience the remarkableness of the letters that oversee the university, and are a part of university history.
Courtesy Associated Students, Inc.
Show Comments (0)