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Cal Poly campus to receive $60 million

September 27, 2007|Steve Chawkins | Times Staff Writer

Officials at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo announced a $60-million pledge to the school's architecture department Wednesday, calling it the largest gift in the history of the California State University system.

The anonymous donation is from a "very, very successful entrepreneur" who studied architecture at the school until financial difficulties forced him to drop out, said Henri T. de Hahn, head of Cal Poly's 850-student architecture department.

Although the contributor went on to make his fortune in other fields, "the donor has told me time after time that his professional success is a measure of his early architectural education -- one which was humanistic, visionary and informed by an ability to take risks," de Hahn said.

In a statement issued through the school, the donor said he never lost his love of the discipline that has afforded him "a fundamental approach to seeing the world differently."

The money, which will be available only after the donor's death, has not yet been earmarked for specific uses. Officials said it could benefit architecture students in numerous ways, such as increased scholarships, more opportunities for field study, classroom upgrades and guest professorships to be held by world-class names in the profession.

The five-year architecture program -- one of the largest undergraduate majors on campus -- leads to a bachelor's degree, while a smaller program leads to a master's.

Architects usually become licensed in California after meeting three general requirements: earning a bachelor's degree, working three years with a professional to gain experience and passing a state exam.

steve.chawkins@latimes.com

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