Demonstrating unprecedented support for the nation’s largest public university system, Cal Poly alumnus William Frost and his wife, Linda, have given a CSU-record $110 million to Cal Poly’s College of Science and Mathematics. The gift is among the largest ever given to public higher education in California.
The Frosts’ gift is aimed at transforming science and mathematics education at Cal Poly by greatly enhancing the resources for undergraduate research. That includes funding for a new interdisciplinary research center that will contain almost 18,000 square feet of science and mathematics facilities; $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.”
Frost worked closely with his longtime friend, College of Science and Mathematics Dean Phil Bailey, to design the program to create the most positive and lasting impact on students. By enhancing undergraduate research experiences, the program will not only enrich students’ Cal Poly experience but also 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 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.”
“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,” said Bailey, who is retiring in June after nearly 50 years as a professor and administrator at Cal Poly. “Working with Bill on this project has been a highlight of my career.”
-By Matt Lazier