Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is a nationally recognized, four-year comprehensive public polytechnic university in California. The school has a long held academic philosophy of “learn by doing”, which provides students with unique opportunities through the combination of experience gained in real world settings, and instruction taught by professors in small classrooms.
Located in beautiful San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly is also an important piece of the fabric that makes up SLO County. The entire community is vested in student success, and contributes to their educational journeys through mentorships, internships, support for the athletics and the arts, and a strong alumni program.
In 1894, local journalist Myron Angel began his campaign for a state school to be built in San Luis Obispo. Six years later, in 1901, current Governor Gage signed legislation authorizing the establishment of a local state school, to be known as California Polytechnic School. After years of development, and with the endorsement of then President Theodore Roosevelt, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo opened their doors to the first students on October 1, 1903 as a co-educational vocational school. Enrollment that year totaled 20 students, and eight students received diplomas five years later during the first commencement on June 15, 1906.
In 1940 the State Board of Education granted Cal Poly collegiate status, and the first bachelor’s degrees were awarded in May 1942. However, the name of the school was not changed until 1947 when the school adopted California State Polytechnic College as its official name. The school changed their name again in 1972 to California Polytechnic State University, which is still the official name.
Today Cal Poly is part of the 23-campus California State University system with a student body of approximately 22,000 (as of Fall 2018), a significant growth from the first 20 students that took classes in 1903.
Learn by Doing is still the campus’ guiding philosophy, and is deeply embedded in the 65 bachelors, 39 masters, 84 minors, and 13 credential programs.
For more information visit Cal Poly’s Quick Facts, or see a detailed timeline of their history on the Cal Poly website.
Cal Poly Alumni
Once a Mustang, always a Mustang!
Cal Poly has a strong alumni program that ensures all former students have a way to stay connected to the school. Not only do graduates of Cal Poly receive benefits, services, and discounts by being part of the alumni organization, they also build and contribute to a larger community for current students; support the college through mentorship of current students; participate in events; contribute monetarily and through volunteer opportunities; and will always be a part of the Mustang Family.
To learn more about the Alumni organization visit their new office located in downtown San Luis Obispo, check out their website, and show the world your Cal Poly Pride!
Visting Cal Poly
Interested in learning more about Cal Poly San Luis Obispo? Consider visiting the campus during one of the annual events below, or consider taking a campus tour!
Prospective students and their families are welcome to register for a Campus Visit Experience, which includes a student-led tour of the Cal Poly campus and an information session with admissions professionals. There is also an optional housing tour for those interested in viewing the housing options on campus.
Registration is required to participate in the Campus Visit Experience. For more information and to register visit https://admissions.calpoly.edu/visit.
Open House Weekend
Each spring Cal Poly hosts an Open House Weekend for new and current students, alumni, and community members. The weekend begins on Thursdays with a “Campus Preview Night at Farmers Market”, where attendees can learn more about the clubs and organizations at Cal Poly while enjoying the Downtown Farmers Market events.
Friday is geared towards new students who attend an “Admitted Students’ Discovery Day” that includes sessions with campus leaders and students. The day culminates with a Friday Nite Invite, an evening experience that brings together prospective and current Mustangs.
Open House Weekend ends on Saturday where the entire Mustang community comes together for the “Poly Royal Celebration”. The day begins with a parade, and includes a campus showcase, the Poly Royal Truck and Tractor Pull, the Poly Royal Rodeo, and an Alumni Beer and Wine Garden open to everyone 21 and over.
Cal Poly Alumni Weekend
Cal Poly Alumni are invited back to campus each year for a homecoming celebration. This is your annual opportunity to show your Cal Poly pride at the Mustang’s Homecoming Football game, and relive some of your favorite memories with the new friends and family you bring back to SLO.
There are several hotels near the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus, and more are being built and developed in the downtown region. For more information on options for your stay check out our Lodging page and find the best hotel for your trip to SLO.
Learn more about the academic programs, athletics, and entertainment available at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo by clicking on the pages below!
1 Grand Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
(805) 756 – 1111
Building 172H, 2nd Floor, Rooms 2 – 20
Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
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