campus history header
Special Collections Home > Collections > University Archives > Histories of The San Dimas Unit and the Kellogg Arabian Ranch

harold wilsonResume of Harold O. Wilson


January 9, 1910 - Rural Kings County, California - 5 miles north of Hanford, California
May 6, 2000 - San Luis Obispo, California


Riverdale, California


Small general farm - Livestock, dairy, poultry, field crops, raisin grapes


Fresno State College. September 1927-June 1931
Active in college activities, particularly intercollegiate athletics. Earned 10 varsity letters — 4 in track, 3 in basketball, 3 in football (all-conference quarterback)


June 26, 1933 married Aileen Johnson of Kingsburg, California


Established the Vocational Agriculture Program at Excelsior High School, Norwalk, California. Taught there until April 1936.

APRIL 1936:

Started teaching livestock courses in the Meat Animals Department of the California Polytechnic College, San Luis Obispo, California. Taught through Spring 1941 — start of World War II.


Transferred from Cal Poly to California State Department of Education, Bureau of Agriculture Education, as Assistant State Supervisor of "Out of School Youth and Adults, War Production Training.
At that time Julian A. McPhee was both President of Cal Poly and the State Supervisor of the OSYA, War Production training program. Following the acceptance by the Federal Government of California’s OSYA State Plan, which I was responsible for preparing, I became responsible for the establishment of the OSYA training program in the high schools and community colleges in the southern half of California — all counties south of Santa Cruz, Alameda, Merced and Inyo counties. At the end of the 1941-42 school year and after having established some fifty programs in the schools of the southern half of California the State supervision of the War Production Training programs was transferred to the Regional Supervisors of the Agriculture Education program and the five regions of the state were divided to make a sixth region. I was named as the new supervisor of the new district comprising Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. At that time I moved from San Luis Obispo with my family to reside in San Gabriel to work out of my office in the California State Building, Los Angeles with the school’s in the four counties of my district. I continued as the regional supervisor for approximately five years, until February of 1946, following the close of World War II.


For these some 4 1/2 years I was the Dean of the Voorhis Unit, California State Polytechnic College, San Dimas, California. The unit had been closed during most of the World War II years. Appointed Dean in February 1946, it was my responsibility to prepare the school for reopening of classes in September of 1946. This included the hiring of faculty and staff, refurbishing the rundown facilities and scheduling and assigning faculty to the classes for some 260 students in the first two years of four year degree majors in Ornamental Horticulture, Citrus Production, Agriculture Inspection and Crops Production.
At the end of the 1946-47 school year classes for most part of the third year courses were added. Seniors, or fourth year students, in the four majors at Voorhis were expected to transfer to the San Luis Obispo campus of the college to complete their requirements for graduation.
By the 1948-49 school year the enrollment at Voorhis had grown to almost 500 students; the need for additional facilities was urgent and in 1949 the Kellogg Arabian Horse Ranch was acquired by gift to the State of California from the Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, Michigan for a branch of the California Polytechnic State College. I played a key role in this transaction.
In 1950 a new position, that of Executive Dean, was established for use by the California State Colleges. Cal Poly was one of the first colleges to receive such position. President McPhee appointed me to that position which required my moving to the San Luis Obispo campus, but I was still responsible at the Voorhis and Kellogg campuses for my areas of responsibility in the new position--primarily, facilities planning and school, student and government relations.


For these 17 years I served as the Executive Dean of the California State Polytechnic College and University. My responsibilities covered the three campuses comprising Cal Poly during those years--San Luis Obispo, Voorhis and Kellogg.


In 1967, I was appointed to the position of Administrative Vice President, California Polytechnic State University by the newly appointed President of the University, Robert E. Kennedy.
President Julian A. McPhee retired in 1966. Concurrent with President McPhee’s retirement, the California State Legislature made the Kellogg Campus a separate state college, named California State Polytechnic College, Pomona. To assist in differentiating between the San Luis Obispo and the Pomona polytechnic institutions the legislature placed the word "State" between California and Polytechnic in officially naming the Pomona campus. Robert C. Kramer was named President of the Pomona campus and Dale W. Andrews was made the acting president of the San Luis Obispo campus for approximately the year of 1966-67 until Robert E. Kennedy was selected to be President by the Trustees of the California State University and Colleges.
Soon after Mr. Kennedy became President of Cal Poly in 1967, Governor Ronald Reagan, who had been elected as Governor of California in 1966, asked President Kennedy if he would permit me to temporarily serve as assistant to Vernon Sturgeon, the Governor’s Legislative Secretary. Mr. Sturgeon, for the previous several years, had been the State Senator for San Luis Obispo County and had worked closely with me on college budgets and other state legislation related to education. So, for approximately a five month period in 1967, I was on loan from Cal Poly to the Governor’s office and served as the Governor’s Assistant Legislative Secretary. During those five months I continued to perform some of my duties as administrative Vice President of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
In 1967 I was appointed by Governor Reagan to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture as the representative of the California State University on the Board of Agriculture. I was re-appointed for a second four year term in 1971, but served only two years of that term, at which time I resigned and was appointed in 1973 by Governor Reagan to the position on his staff as Education Advisor to the Governor. Concurrent with this appointment I was granted official leave from my Vice President duties at Cal Poly. I served as the Governor’s Education Advisor until December 20, 1974 at which time I resigned and on the same date retired from Cal Poly, having completed about 43 years of public service in the field of secondary and higher education.
Following my resignation as the Governor’s Education Advisor and prior to the end of his second term as Governor of California in June 1974, Governor Reagan appointed me to a six year term on the California Post Secondary Education Commission. I served on this commission for almost seven years. Upon my appointment to the California Post Secondary Commission, that commission named me as its representative on the California Teacher Preparation and Licensing Commission. This was the State body responsible for the licensing and regulation of all school teachers in California from kindergarten through grade 12. I served on this commission until I terminated my term on the California Post Secondary Commission in 1981. At this time I was ready for full retirement.
  Harold O. Wilson
June 1997

University Library Special Collections
Bldg 15 room 4434 •  909-869-2087 •