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Press Release

Cal Poly Dedicates the William and Linda Frost Center for Research and Innovation

Contact: Matt Lazier
805-756-7109, [email protected]

University also announces the renaming of the College of Science and Mathematics to honor Philip and Christina Bailey

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly on Friday dedicated the William and Linda Frost Center for Research and Innovation, celebrating the impact of philanthropy on Cal Poly students’ success.

At the same event, the university announced plans to rename its College of Science and Mathematics to the Philip and Christina Bailey College of Science and Mathematics to honor and recognize Drs. Philip (Phil) and Christina (Tina) Bailey — dedicated faculty, volunteers, and stalwart supporters of students.
The Frost Center is named after William and Linda Frost for their 2017 CSU-record gift to Cal Poly’s College of Science and Mathematics. The Frost gift funded a portion of the building and its research equipment and enhancements such as the rooftop garden and atrium wood. In addition, the Frosts' donation will annually support student scholarships and research stipends, cutting-edge equipment, and instrumentation, and expanded hiring of instructors, giving faculty members more time to mentor undergraduate students in research.

Bill Frost graduated from Cal Poly in 1972 with a degree in biochemistry. Additional lead funding was provided by Jim and Suzanne Boswell (Boswell Agricultural Technology Center), James A. and Felicia M. Cashin (Expressive Technology Studios), the California State University (CSU), Cal Poly Corporation, and dozens of other donors.
“This cutting-edge facility is an investment in the education and future successes of our students,” said Bill Frost. “I look forward to this space being used to further enhance the Learn by Doing experiences that define Cal Poly for generations to come.”

“Bill and Linda’s gift will impact the lives of countless Cal Poly students, now and far into the future,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong.

The Frosts’ gift is among the largest ever to public higher education in California and was the capstone gift of Cal Poly's most recent comprehensive fundraising campaign, The Power of Doing: The Campaign for Learn by Doing. This unprecedented campaign raised more than $832 million from nearly 75,000 alumni, parents and community members, the largest fundraising initiative in university and CSU history, and was geared toward supporting the Learn by Doing philosophy that defines a Cal Poly education.

“Bill planned his gift with us very carefully, recognizing this center as a significant part of his life’s work that’s extremely meaningful to him as well as to our students, faculty and staff,” said Phil Bailey, who met Bill Frost in 1970 when Bill was a student. “We are extremely grateful for his vision, philanthropy and contribution to undergraduate research and student opportunities.”

While celebrating the future of innovation at Cal Poly, the university also took the opportunity to announce the renaming of the Philip and Christina Bailey College of Science of Mathematics (pending CSU Board of Trustee approval).

“It is impossible to overstate the positive impact Phil and Tina have had on Cal Poly and on the thousands of people they have mentored and inspired, including Bill and Linda Frost,” said Armstrong.

Phil continues to serve Cal Poly through his work on the Cal Poly Foundation Board and as director of the Frost Fund, stewarding the Frosts’ gift to support undergraduate research. He retired in 2017 after 48 years of service to Cal Poly as professor and dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. Tina, professor emerita and former chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, passed away in 2020. Tina taught at Cal Poly for more than 40 years and received national recognition for her development of the studio classroom model where “lecture” and “laboratory” are integrated in the same space.

“We could think of no greater honor than to have our college named after Phil and Tina,” said Dean Wendt, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. “This is a celebration of decades of work by the two of them to make this college and campus the incredible place that it is for students to learn and to grow and for faculty and staff to spend their careers.”

Wendt added that “Phil and Tina always put students at the center of everything that we do in our college and their incredible dedication to social justice has contributed to a thriving environment for student learning.”

“It’s an incredible honor and it particularly means a lot since I’ve been here so long,” Phil Bailey said, “and particularly because I don’t think I could have had the career I had without Tina. I would suspect that she would have said the same about me, though her career was a lot harder to navigate because she was a woman entering STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the ’70s, but she absolutely excelled.”

“Phil’s vision for the college helped to inspire Bill and Linda Frost’s generosity to Cal Poly,” added Armstrong. “Working closely with Phil through the years, the Frosts envisioned transforming students’ education at Cal Poly by greatly enhancing the resources for undergraduate research. The Frost Center is a testament to this partnership and an investment in the future successes of our students.”

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The new 102,000-square-foot interdisciplinary research center features state-of-the-art interdisciplinary laboratory and teaching spaces that will enhance research and learning experiences for students and faculty in the College of Science and Mathematics; the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences; and the College of Liberal Arts. This four-story, 2.32-acre complex features configurable classrooms, hands-on learning programs and innovative laboratory space dedicated to undergraduate research. The Frost Center also features a large sized classroom and lecture hall for general education courses. 71% of the building’s space is assignable, meaning available for programmatic purposes, including modern labs, computational tools, instruments and wet labs. Other special features include:

  • A green roof with space for planting in addition to opportunities for outdoor learning.
  • A dedicated culinary teaching lab, as well as food safety research and teaching labs and a sensory lab for the Food Science and Nutrition Department.
  • The James A. and Felicia M. Cashin Expressive Technology Studios space will develop and refine new forms of immersive aural and visual communication aimed at educating the public on how technology, science, and the arts can effectively work together in the creation of a more sustainable and positive future for California.
  • The Boswell Agricultural Technology Center will enable research and discovery to train tomorrow’s leaders in agriculture and food innovation. The new center will serve as a hub for students, faculty and industry to gather and share knowledge to drive the food industry forward in the areas of food safety and security, nutrition science, culinary development, sensory evaluation and experiential design.
  • Three large classrooms offer seating for about 180 students, 100 students and 60 students for use across campus disciplines.