Last Word

New Faces, Different Stories

Cal Poly’s 2016 fall class is truly impressive. With nearly 57,000 undergraduate applications for admission this fall, our entering class is the most selective and has the highest academic profile ever for first-time freshmen and transfer students.

Those new faces on our campus are more important than numbers, GPAs and test scores. Every Cal Poly student has a story — a story of how they got here, and of how family, friends, teachers, coaches and mentors supported and encouraged them along the way.

Consider student Alicia Cruz, featured in this issue in the story “First in the Family.” A first-generation Hispanic student who has worked tirelessly to achieve success at Cal Poly, Alicia plans to graduate in December and work as an academic counselor.

I was a first-generation college student and can appreciate some, but not all, of the unique challenges Alicia faced. I am proud of students like Alicia, as well as all the faculty members, Educational Opportunity Program counselors, and others who support our students.

Consider as well the bright, eager minds of the middle- and high-schoolers on our campus each summer for Cal Poly’s EPIC summer camp, which is aimed at kids who might not think of themselves as traditional engineering students. They return home with a very real image of themselves as college students, and you know that some of them will one day become Mustangs.

Our mission to serve California means we must continue to do more to provide a life-transforming Learn by Doing educational experience on a diverse residential campus.

Every student’s story — every different face, culture and life experience — makes the Cal Poly experience that much richer for all. That’s why our faculty and staff are committed to the success of each and every student. And that’s why the value of a Cal Poly degree continues to get better.


Jeffrey D. Armstrong

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