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Highlights from the 1980s


“Between now and the year 2001, Cal Poly will see a greater emphasis on interdisciplinary programs, increases in ethnic diversity of the student body, and an explosive growth in new technologies. Our challenge for the future is to adapt creatively to these changes.”

— President Hugh La Bounty

TNeutra Househe $495,000 Equine Research Center is dedicated.

Famed architect Richard Neutra, who had lectured at the college in the 1960s and passed away in 1970, leaves his Silverlake District home to the College of Environmental Design.

The first Graduation Writing Test is scheduled.

About one-third of students receive some form of financial aid.

May 1980
The baseball team wins its second national championship.

The new child care facility is completed.

Fall 1980
Enrollment reaches nearly 17,500.

Former Los Angeles Ram quarterback Roman Gabriel takes over as head coach of the football team.

The Crops Unit makes about $1,800 a month selling produce.

Former First Lady Betty Ford is the keynote speaker at the Women’s Conference.

May 1981
More than 20,000 people turn out for Poly Vue, which KNBC-Channel 4 features in a newscast.

Fall 1981
ASI offices move into the newly converted Kellogg Arabian Stables.

October 1981
Leonard Weinglass, the attorney who represented the Chicago Eight and Angela Davis, speaks on campus.

Emmy Award-winning actor Raymond Burr establishes the Raymond Burr Orchid Collection.

KCPK, the campus radio station, ceases broadcasting after 20 years.

January 1982
The newly restored Kellogg Mansion is reopened as University House, a retreat for faculty and staff who pay a nominal annual membership fee.

Bronco women's basketball teamMarch 1982
The Bronco women’s basketball team wins the Division II national championship with a 93-74 victory over Tuskegee Institute. It is the first of five national titles.



September 1982
Ground is broken for the university office building off the Quad.

One-fourth of all students are enrolled in the School of Business Administration.

November 1982
Roman Gabriel resigns as coach of the football team at the end of a 1-10 season. A few days later, the football program is eliminated. “I have been at this university for 31 years, and this is probably the most difficult and unhappy decision I have had to make,” President Hugh La Bounty says. Over its 36 years, the team won 143 games, lost 190 and tied 9.

Yolanda T. Moses is appointed dean of arts, the first woman and the first African American in the university’s history to receive a permanent instructional deanship.

Fees — not officially called tuition — increase to nearly $800 a year.

The President’s Council Scholars Program is launched. It provides merit-based awards of $500 to four juniors. The award is raised to $1,000 two years later.

Shower head flow restrictors are installed on campus to conserve water.

Spring 1983
Henry House, dean of students since 1965 and a fixture on campus since 1947, retires. (House passed away in 2009 at the age of 87.)

May 1983
The Broncos, under legendary Coach John Scolinos, win their third Division II national championship, defeating Jacksonville State, 9-7.

June 1983
Television newscaster Jess Marlow is the commencement speaker.

Work starts on the Voorhis Ecological Reserve on the north end of campus.

Parking permits are $15, and motorcycle permits are $3.50.

ASI has a budget of $393,713.

The Poly Woggen, the campus tram, takes students from Parking Lot F6 to the ENV building on the other end of campus.

“Opus,” the student magazine, is published quarterly.

The library collection consists of 1.2 million items.

February 1984
Alumna Carol Vaness (1974) makes her Metropolitan Opera debut as Armida in Handel's “Rinaldo.”

March 19, 1984
More than 120 faculty members and 30 staff start moving into the new University Office Building (94). They leave behind about a dozen large trailers in the parking lot west of the School of Arts.

September 11, 1984
Jerry Voorhis, the former congressman who served as headmaster at the Voorhis School for Boys (precursor to Cal Poly Pomona), dies at age 83.

October 1984
Members of Pi Sigma Epsilon create a 50-foot burrito, which they hail as the world’s largest.

Faculty author 31 books and receive 31 research and study grants during the academic year.

The number of alumni stands at 36,000.

January 1985
A campus march to commemorate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. is held.

Cal Poly Pomona has the lowest crime rate in the CSU system.

April 1985
The women’s tennis team wins the CCAA title.

May 1985
Poly Vue includes a hot air balloon race, Special Olympics for 700 disabled children, and an invitational tennis tournament.

June 1985
Dale Morrison, 63, is the oldest graduate at commencement.

AGwen La Bountyugust 1985
Gwen La Bounty, wife of President Hugh La Bounty, dies of cancer. A scholarship fund is established in her memory, and a new species of orchid developed in the ornamental horticulture department is named in her honor.





September 1985
The second annual Pepsi hot dog giveaway is held in University Park. (It would later become known as the Hot Dog Caper.)

University Village opens.

A new mobile food van travels to the far reaches of campus to serve hot and cold meals and beverages. The Foundation sponsors a contest to name the vehicle. The prize is divided five ways to those who come up with the Poly Trolley.

The Center for Hospitality Management is established and moves outside the School of Business Administration.

The 869 telephone prefix goes into operation across campus.

February 25, 1986
Angela Davis, who ran for vice president on the Communist Party ticket in 1980 and 1984, speaks on campus.

March 1986
The women’s basketball team wins its third national championship in five years.

June 1986
Students from 57 foreign countries are among the year’s graduates. The graduating class also includes a 76-year-old and a 19-year-old.

Bronco BookstoreSeptember 18, 1986
The Bronco Bookstore (Building 66) is dedicated. The building, financed by the Foundation, also provides classrooms and faculty offices.




Free measles vaccinations, which are required to attend in the spring quarter, are available at the Health Center.

Fall 1987
President Hugh La Bounty marries Judy Hess in a campus ceremony attended by close friends.

50th anniversary celebration in front of the Old Stables1988
The university celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Enrollment approaches 20,000, with Asians making up more than 20 percent of the figure.





January 4, 1988
The University is authorized to change the names of its schools to colleges.

January 14, 1988
Groundbreaking ceremonies mark the start of work on the $3 million James and Carol Collins Center for Hospitality Management (Building 79) near Kellogg West.

James and Carol Collins Center for Hospitality Management (Building 79)

June 1988
More than 2,800 students earn their bachelors degree.

University Art GalleryOctober 10, 1988
The University Art Gallery is dedicated. The John L. and Helen Kellogg Foundation and Jean and W. Keith Kellogg II provide major funding. The first exhibit is "Hollywood Collects, 1988."



October 17-18, 1988
“The Future of Higher Education” is the 50th anniversary symposia.

November 1988
"Breakthrough," the first album by the Cal Poly Pomona Jazz Ensemble, is available at the bookstore.

President Hugh La Bounty and Harold Schleifer, director University Library, at dedication of University Library expansion project.September 18, 1989
Construction of two additional floors of the library is completed and the building dedicated as part of the Fall Conference.




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