From Student to Professor: She's Lived CBA's History

A Spotlight on Dr. Dolores Barsellotti

Professor Emerita Barsellotti

Anyone who wants a unique perspective on the evolution of the College of Business Administration should go no further than Professor Emerita Dolores "Lorie" Barsellotti of the International Business and Marketing Department.

Student perspective? Check, and that dates back almost a half century to the mid-1960s.

Graduate student experience? Yes, MBA, class of 1972.

Part-time lecturer? Affirmative, immediately after earning her MBA.

Tenure-track professor? Also in her career dossier.

Professor emerita? Also true.    

“Things were a whole lot different when I arrived here when LBJ was president,” she says. “We were still just a branch of the San Luis Obispo campus and were readying to break away and be our own state college. It was a tiny, rural, friendly place with only about 3,000 students.”

Barsellotti was one of about 100 female students—among the very first—in an overwhelmingly male student body.

The curriculum? Vastly different than today’s cutting-edge, high-tech offerings. Did anyone really take classes in typewriting and major in secretarial science back then?

“Yes, we were pretty clerical with part of our coursework,” she reminisces. “Everything was done with either paper and carbon paper or old-fashioned computer punch cards. COBOL and FORTRAN were just becoming popular.”

And specific classes? She most vividly remembers Professors Jim Hill and Chuck Taylor, who inspired her to pursue a career in higher education. While only in her 20s, she was hired to teach marketing.

Barsellotti emerged as an accomplished faculty member who mentored hundreds of successful alumni, including 2012 Legend of IBM Marie Porter Royce. After earning tenure and then earning promotion to full professor, she became the first female president of international professional sales society Pi Sigma Epsilon, leading that body to a record number of awards. Later, from 1987 to 1992, she served as university associate vice president for finance and development under Presidents Hugh La Bounty and Bob Suzuki.

Since then, she’s focused on imparting the knowledge of her discipline to her hundreds of admiring students—and occasionally thinking back on her nearly half-century association with Cal Poly Pomona.

“So many memories,” she says. “And haven’t we changed for the better?”