Don B. Huntley alumnus honored

By Agnes Musee

The College of Agriculture is now known as the Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture to commemorate the 1960 alumnus and his transformative gift to the university

On Sept. 20, the California State University Board of Trustees approved the renaming of the college.

Honor celebrations for Huntley will take place on Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. at Cal Poly Pomona’s AGRIscapes Agricultural Outreach Center to formally thank Huntley for his contribution.

According to the director of Office of Public Affairs, Esther Chou Tanaka, the campus event is an open invitation to all students and faculty. Special guests include Huntley and his family, President Soraya M. Coley and the Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture’s dean, Mary Holz-Clause, who have been selected to speak in honor of Huntley.

An exhibition of Huntley’s art at the Kellogg Gallery is also set to take place on Nov. 18.

“We call Mr. Huntley a renaissance man because he has interests in many different areas, particularly western art is one of his loves, Native American culture, as well as the College of Agriculture and College of Science,” said Holz-Clause.

Huntley graduated from CPP with a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry. His intention for the campus was to become a cattle rancher and use his educational experience in chemistry and biology to learn about a rare blood disease found in cattle.

After graduating, Huntley worked for American Cyanamid Corporation, located in the San Joaquin Valley. In 1966, he went into permanent tree crops through a partnership. He later transitioned into real estate and obtained his license to specialize in agricultural and recreational land sales.

Over the years, Huntley has made generous donations to CPP that have helped create the Huntley Vineyard, the Huntley University Art Gallery, and the Huntley Western Art Collection. Huntley’s other cash gifts have gone to upgrade the Farm Store and support the Pathways to Graduation program and the Native American Pipeline.

In the past, Huntley has supported the College of Environmental Design, the College of Education & Integrative Studies and the College of Science.

Huntley has also pledged to give his 480-acre pistachio farm in Fresno to the agriculture college when he passes.

“This is a wonderful resource that we will be able to use the proceeds from the farm,” said Holz-Clause. “The pistachio crop will be part of the gift that will come to the College of Agriculture and College of Science.”

A portion of the crop’s income will be used for scholarships in the College of Science and also provide students the opportunity to study biotechnology, a very important subject for Huntley.

The covenants of the gift require CPP to hold the farm for at least 20 years. During those 20 years after Huntley’s passing, the university will utilize the annual income from the pistachio crop. After 20 years, the university will decide whether to maintain or sell Huntley’s farm.

Funds from the gift will focus on providing assistantships for graduate students and scholarships for biotechnology students, specifically in the area of plant sciences, to help individuals who are food insecure.

In 2009, the CSU Board of Trustees and CPP honored Huntley with an honorary Doctor of Science degree. He is also a member of the President’s National Development Council and participated in the College of Agriculture’s Advisory Board and the External Land Review Committee.

Huntley is now a member of CPP’s Founder’s Society and was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2004.

“Cal Poly Pomona is a wonderful university with a beautiful campus,” said Huntley in an interview on CPP’s PolyCentric. “The students who graduate are making an important impact in California and beyond, and I want to support them and help provide new opportunities. We need Cal Poly Pomona students and faculty to continue making advancements in agriculture, biotechnology, science, research and other areas.”

Huntley yearbook photo

Courtesy of Public Affairs

Huntley yearbook photo

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