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Highlights from the 1970s


“The word black here does not mean skin color. It means black is beautiful — that is a universal kind of soul beauty that cuts across characterizations of race or of skin color.”

— James Benson, a black studies professor and originator of the Gow Dow Experience,
an amalgam of jazz and world beat musicians who
shared the message of love and understanding

1School of Environmental Design Building970
Building 7, which will house the School of Environmental Design, is completed.

Nearly 200 students from Iran are part of the college community.

The Agriculture classroom building (2) is completed.

More than 100 seniors and juniors in the social services department participate in community internship programs to complement their classroom instruction.


January 1, 1970
“That First Day of Spring” wins the Princess Award for the most beautiful Rose Parade float under 35 feet in length.




March 1970
The Harlem Globetrotters play in a fund-raiser for athletic scholarships.

April 1970
Environmental Awareness Day includes panel discussions, exhibits and speakers including Paul Ehrlich (author of “The Population Bomb” and Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh.

May 1970
Governor Ronald Reagan closes all campuses in the state for four days because of anger over the National Guard shootings at Kent State in Ohio. Poly Vue is canceled because of the closure.

October 1970
The first Indian Cultural Week features Carlos White Eagle, a local silversmith. In addition, the film “War Arrow,” is shown, and a panel discusses Hollywood’s depiction of Native Americans.

The college completes a land exchange with Pacific State Hospital (now called the Frank D. Lanterman State Hospital & Developmental Center). The deal gives Cal Poly Pomona the Spadra Farm.

Encinitas residence hall goes coed on a trial basis. It is deemed a success.

Cal Poly Educational Center on the old Voorhis campus closes.

The ASI Senate approves a $151,050 budget.

The master of urban planning degree is approved.

March 1, 1971
The School of Environmental Design is created. It brings together architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning.

September 1971
Around midnight, a bomb explodes near President Robert Kramer’s car, about 45 feet from his bedroom at Manor House. No one is injured. Investigators determine that the explosive consisted of large can filled flammable liquid ignited by a military detonator and blasting cap. In an era of student unrest, this is the worst violence on the Cal Poly Pomona campus. The perpetrator is never found.

Women make inroads in the administration. Dorothy Tucker is director of the teacher preparation center; Mary Etta Selle is the dean of women; Nancy Throp is director of information services; June Schaefer is an associate dean; and Gertrude Boland is chair of the economics department.

Groundbreaking takes place for the University Union, with a completion target of late 1973.

The Mall is renamed the Quad.

The Learning Resources Center is established to provide support to students in the Educational Opportunity Program. The three most popular courses are speed reading, English as a second language, and grammar.

The School of Engineering receives a $152,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a program in engineering technology.

“Cal Poly Doesn’t Have a Fancy Dress Code, we just ask that you dress … Decently.” Faculty have the “prerogative of determining appropriate dress in the classroom and what constitutes proper conduct; so use your better judgment and respect their wishes.”

Guest speakers on campus include architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller, explorer John Goddard and TV personality Art Linkletter.

The library now rents typewriters and calculators.

Smoking policy: “When an instructional room is used for a scheduled meeting other than a class, smoking is permitted if the scheduled group provides ashtrays or other acceptable receptacles. ... Smoking is not permitted in classrooms or indoor laboratories between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. or during evening classes.” – Bronco Handbook

Earth science is offered as a major.

April 6, 1972
The W.K. Kellogg Horse Center is dedicated.

June 1, 1972
Cal Poly Pomona is upgraded from a state college to a university. Enrollment is now 11,000, and 95 percent of students are California residents. There are six schools: agriculture, arts, business administration, engineering, environmental design, and science.

September 8, 1972
Linda Lockwood, a senior, is crowned queen of the L.A. County Fair.

The hospitality management program is established in the College of Business Administration. It has 30 students and two faculty members.

The London Flu hits the campus hard. In one week, seven of 15 communication faculty are out sick.

Gov. Ronald Reagan reflects on his visit to the ranch in 1937: “We spent about half a day taking [publicity] pictures, seeing the horses and all. My great regret was, being an old ex-cavalryman, that I was never permitted to get on one.”

Actor and comedian Dom DeLuise performs to a full house at the University Theatre.

April 1973
Earth Day topics include “Alternatives to Pesticides,” “Energy – the Crisis of Crises,” “The Pollution of the Oceans” and “Less People, More Peace.”

May 1974
Fraternities sponsor a “Toga Day” the day before Poly Vue.

Baseball Coach John ScolinosJune 1974
Baseball Coach John Scolinos is elected to the Hall of Fame of the American Association of College Baseball Coaches.

October 17, 1974
The University Union opens.

Alice Slaughter is appointed the first female officer in the University Police Department.

Albert Aschenbrenner, the first dean of the School of the Arts and first president of the Faculty Senate, retires. Gertrude Boland, one of the first three women to join the faculty, succeeds Aschenbrenner as dean.

The School of Business Administration introduces an evening program that enables students who work during the day to take all required classes for their degree.

A streaker is spotted in Montecito Hall.

The poultry unit sells 14,000 eggs per week.

Polywagen tramSeptember 15, 1975
The Polywagen tram, which transports students around campus, debuts.

October 1975
University Police seize 500 pounds of marijuana from a student’s car.

January 1976
Before daybreak, a small group of residents from Aliso Hall scales the fence that separates the university from Forest Lawn and puts an outsized pair of polka dot boxer shorts on the 18-foot David statue.

May 1976
The baseball team wins its first national championship.

September 1976
Hewlett-Packard advertises its handheld calculators in the Poly Post. The price: $80 to $200.

October 1976
The new $8.5 million Science Building (8) is dedicated.

The university observes Hunger Week, a program designed to increase awareness of hunger and starvation around the world.

January 1977
The Blazing Saddles beer bar opens.

May 27, 1977
Alex Haley, author of “Roots,” speaks to a large crowd in the gym.

Hugh La BountyJuly 1, 1977
Hugh La Bounty, who joined the faculty in 1953 as an English professor, is named acting president, succeeding Robert Kramer.

The water polo team wins its fifth consecutive CCAA title.

March 1978
The Voorhis campus is sold for $2.31 million. The proceeds are used to purchase 100 acres bordering the northwest side of campus.

Spring 1978
The baseball team defeats Division I powerhouses USC and Arizona State, as well as UCLA and San Diego State.

September 13, 1978
Governor Jerry Brown (then in his first term) signs into law AB 1091, The California Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act, giving CSU faculty and staff the right to collective bargaining.

October 31, 1978
Hugh La Bounty is formally inaugurated as president. Chancellor Glenn Dumke attends, as does Russell Mawby, president of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Men’s water polo, the only Division I sport on campus, is eliminated, a victim of budget cuts in the wake of Proposition 13. Men’s swimming, golf, volleyball and wrestling are also eliminated, along with women’s field hockey and swimming.

Nearly 30 faculty positions are eliminated because of budget cuts.

Fallout shelters dating to 1962 are removed, but the administration building basement still contains civil defense supplies.

University Police use radar on a trial basis to detect speeding.

June 1979
Jim Zorn, quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks and a former star for the Broncos, is the featured speaker at commencement.

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