Education

Cal Poly to receive largest gift in CSU history

An alumnus will give Cal Poly the largest gift in California State University history to help “transform undergraduate research,” according to a Cal Poly spokesman.
An alumnus will give Cal Poly the largest gift in California State University history to help “transform undergraduate research,” according to a Cal Poly spokesman. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

»» UPDATE: Cal Poly officials announce largest financial donation in CSU history

An alumnus will give Cal Poly the largest gift in California State University history to help “transform undergraduate research,” according to a Cal Poly spokesman.

Cal Poly announced in a news release Thursday that William and Linda Frost will donate an undisclosed amount — among the largest gifts ever given in California public higher education history, according to the release — to the College of Science and Mathematics.

The exact amount of the gift will be revealed Wednesday at an 11 a.m. event at Harman Hall in Cal Poly’s Performing Arts Center that will be attended by CSU Chancellor Timothy White.

Bill Frost graduated from Cal Poly in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. Linda Frost earned a degree in biology from San Jose State University. Bill Frost founded specialty chemical manufacturer Chemlogics, originally based in Paso Robles, which he sold for $1.3 billion in 2013 to Belgian company Solvay.

The Frosts have a history of donating large sums to Cal Poly. Last spring, the couple pledged $20 million for the university’s planned Science & Agriculture Teaching and Research Complex.

Peter and Mary Beth Oppenheimer in 2014 gave $20 million to Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, which was the largest cash gift in university history at the time.

Until now, the largest donation in CSU history was given to Cal Poly in 2007, when an anonymous donor left the school a $60 million bequest. The gift, which included real estate, stock and other assets, will be released to the university’s Architecture Department after the donor’s death.

The W.K Kellogg Foundation in 2010 gave the biggest cash grant in CSU system history; that organization donated $42 million to Cal Poly Pomona to help first-generation college students, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseyholden27

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