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Cal Poly Receives $20 Million Pledge for Research, Technology Center

Gift from William and Linda Frost Will Support Learn by Doing and Undergraduate Research 

3-D model of buildingsThis image shows a 3-D model of the Cal Poly campus, where a planned
multidisciplinary undergraduate research and technology center is slated to go. The space as it currently
looks (far left) and two possible options for the building are represented in the image above. 


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly has received a pledge of $20 million from alumnus William L. Frost and his wife, Linda, toward construction of a planned multidisciplinary undergraduate research and technology center on campus.

The Frosts have pledged the gift in support of Cal Poly’s comprehensive polytechnic education and in hopes of attracting additional donations to fund the estimated $57 million Science & Agriculture Teaching and Research Complex — a center of at least 64,000 square feet that will feature research labs and technology space for Cal Poly’s Colleges of Science & Mathematics, Liberal Arts, and Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences.

“This center will bring Learn by Doing alive for thousands of Cal Poly students across many disciplines,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “We are grateful to Bill and Linda for their generosity, vision and leadership on this project and their ardent support for undergraduate research.”

Image of male wearing protective google in laboratory
A student conducts research inside of one of the Baker Center labs. 
A $20 million pledge toward construction of a new facility
will allow for more research space on campus.

As graduates of the California State University, the Frosts understand the importance of the CSU’s mission to provide innovative leaders and resourceful professionals for California’s and the world’s workforce.

“We are thankful for the Frosts’ generosity and for the example they set for the entire CSU,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. “Bill and Linda are living proof of how the CSU puts students on track to succeed not only as professionals but also as members of their communities.”

The Frosts also believe in Cal Poly’s model of involving students in real-world projects. Bill Frost is a 1972 Cal Poly graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. Linda Frost earned a degree in biology from San Jose State University.

“My research experience as a Cal Poly student gave me fundamental tools and confidence for success in my career,” said Bill Frost. “Linda and I are very pleased to be able to help provide these same opportunities for generations of future Cal Poly students.”

The Frosts’ pledge continues more than a decade of support for Cal Poly and the College of Science and Mathematics. When classes begin this coming fall, 70 science and math students will benefit from Frost scholarships totaling more than one million dollars each year. Each summer more than 150 students receive stipends funded by the Frosts and other sources to engage in original research with faculty mentors.  

“By supporting outstanding student-faculty research opportunities, we hope to help Cal Poly develop undergraduate science and mathematics programs that are among the best in the nation,” said Bill Frost.

With the Frosts’ latest $20 million pledge, a pledge of $8 million made in 2014 by the James G. Boswell Foundation, and other donations, Cal Poly has $35 million promised toward the Science & Agriculture Teaching and Research Complex’s construction. The university will continue fundraising for the remainder of the estimated cost, with an eye toward construction beginning in 2018 and opening two years later.

The center is planned in the heart of campus along Poly Vue Drive, between the Baker Center for Science and Mathematics (Building 180) and the English Building (Building 22).

“This university is very fortunate to have the support of Bill and Linda. Thanks to their shared vision, undergraduate students are introduced to the process of discovery through research early in their education. This experience empowers our graduates to become successful professionals and industry leaders,” said Phil Bailey, dean of Cal Poly’s College of Science and Mathematics.

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