SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Cal Poly has received the largest financial gift in the history of the California State University system.
On Thursday morning, CSU Chancellor Timothy White, along with Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong and Cal Poly College of Science and Mathematics Dean Phil Bailey made the announcement at the Performing Arts Center.
During the 90 minute ceremony, it was revealed William and Linda Frost have donated $110 million to the university.
"Undergraduate research is fundamental of the educational experience and it really propels students academically," said William Frost. "We wanted to do it because we have the opportunity to watch it while we're here."
The gift is one of the largest ever given in California public higher education history and will allow the school to "transform undergraduate research."
At the announcement, hundreds of students, faculty, and staff from across the campus were in attendance to hear the news and to personally thank the Frost family for their generous donation.
Three students spoke about the impact of undergraduate research, the importance it represents and how the Frost donation will enhance the famous Cal Poly motto "Learn by Doing at Cal Poly."
Prior to the announcement, the university said in a statement, the gift “will play a leading role for years to come in helping the university produce innovative, workforce-ready professionals whose work will solve real-world problems and make significant lasting impacts.”
This is the second considerable donation the Frost family has given to Cal Poly. Last year, the Frost family gave the university $20 million, which is intended to help fund the planned Science & Agriculture Teaching and Research Complex.
Bill Frost is a 1972 graduate of Cal Poly with a degree in biochemistry. Frost later founded Paso Robles-based Chemlogics, which sold chemicals and polymers used in the extraction of oil and gas. In 2013, Frost sold the company to Belgium-based Solvay for $1.3 billion.
Before today's donation, the largest financial gift for Cal State University school was $60 million, which was also given to Cal Poly. The anonymous donation in 2008 was bestowed to Cal Poly's College of Architecture and Environmental Design.