News for May 2017

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Cal Poly Engineering Shows Its Smarts at Smart Cities Challenge
May 10, 2017

Cal Poly made a strong showing at the Mega Challenge on Smart Cities, held May 9-11 in Phoenix. The school placed second overall, led by industrial engineering graduate student Austin Lynch, who also won the Best Poster Award.

The event, which focuses on the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) to implement smart city solutions, was hosted by the RAIN RFID Alliance and RFID Journal LIVE! and the new IEEE Council on RFID.

Other members of Cal Poly’s multidisciplinary team included Isaac Williams, a manufacturing engineering alumnus; Jonnathan Terry, an electrical engineering graduate student; and Jessica Chao, Steven Johnson and Zachary Ho, all computer engineering seniors.

Industrial and manufacturing engineering Professor Tali Freed, who received an award for her role as vice chair of the conference, was accompanied by a delegation of 15 Cal Poly students who served as session chairs and provided meeting and setup assistance.

“Our students already know a lot about RFID, and many of them are officers of the RFID Club. They often receive internships and job offers as a result of their outstanding work at this annual conference,” said Freed.


Cal Poly Receives CSU-Record $110M Gift from William L. Frost
May 03, 2017

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Demonstrating unprecedented support for the nation’s largest public university system and specifically for undergraduate research, California State University alumni William and Linda Frost have given a CSU-record $110 million to Cal Poly’s College of Science and Mathematics.

The gift is among the largest ever to public higher education in California.

The Frosts’ generosity will transform science and mathematics education at Cal Poly by greatly enhancing the resources for undergraduate research. A new interdisciplinary research center will contain almost 18,000 square feet of science and mathematics facilities. In addition, the Frosts’ donation includes $3.6 million annually to support student scholarships and research stipends, cutting-edge equipment and instrumentation, and expanded hiring of instructors, giving faculty members more time to mentor undergraduate students in research.

“Bill and Linda’s gift will impact the lives of countless Cal Poly students, right now and far into the future,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “The Frosts envision Cal Poly’s College of Science and Mathematics housing one of the top undergraduate academic and research programs in the country. Their willingness to think big is an inspiration to all of us and a model for how Cal Poly will continue to provide the creative thinkers and problem-solvers for today’s complex global workforce.”

In developing a new vision for Cal Poly’s undergraduate science and mathematics academic and research program, Bill Frost worked closely with his longtime friend, College of Science and Mathematics Dean Phil Bailey. While designing the program, they concentrated on how to create the most positive and lasting impact on students. By enhancing undergraduate research experiences, the program will enrich students’ Cal Poly experience and make them top prospects for graduate schools and professional careers.

“I see this as an investment in the education and future successes of our science and mathematics students,” said Bill Frost. “I want this funding to be used to further enhance the Learn by Doing experiences that define Cal Poly and to provide students with research opportunities that will result in their presenting at regional, national and even international professional conferences and co-authoring publications with their faculty mentors in peer-reviewed journals.”

The Frosts are both CSU alumni. Bill Frost graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in biochemistry, and Linda Frost earned a degree in biology from San Jose State University.

The impact of the Frosts’ gift will reach beyond Cal Poly’s campus, said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White.

“Bill and Linda’s inspirational gift sets an example for other current and potential donors,” White said. “It highlights the crucial role private support plays in helping to maintain and enhance California’s public higher education system.”

Bailey, who is retiring in June after nearly 50 years as a professor and administrator at Cal Poly, said, “This gift represents a genuine desire by the Frosts to provide Cal Poly students with research experiences that promote intellectual growth fueled by curiosity, critical and creative thinking and personal initiative. Working with Bill on this project has been a highlight of my career.”

Photo information: Frost.jpg — The largest gift in California State University history is made to Cal Poly by alumnus Bill Frost and wife Linda. Pictured from left: College of Science and Mathematics Dean Phil Bailey, Linda Frost, Bill Frost, Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong and CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White.

Note to editors: Additional high-resolution photos of Wednesday’s event are available. Contact Media Relations Director Matt Lazier at 805-756-7109 or

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