The Cal Poly golf program received a record donation of more than $10 million Tuesday morning, marking the largest single athletics gift in school history, according to a news release.
Retired Raytheon Co. Chairman Bill Swanson and his wife, Cheryl, gave Cal Poly $10.19 million to provide immediate cash support for scholarships and establish an operating endowment named the “Swanson Cal Poly Golf Program.”
Swanson was a member of the Mustangs golf team and earned his degree in engineering, which he put to use during a 40-year career at Raytheon. Raytheon is a “technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity markets throughout the world,” with 2014 sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees worldwide, according to the release.
The endowment provided by the Swansons will fund new scholarships, focusing on engineering and first-generation student-athletes. It also will “support participating in better national tournaments, more robust travel and recruiting budgets, and improved equipment and gear for the men’s and women’s teams,” according to the release.
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Men’s head golf coach Scott Cartwright said the donation will transform the program for generations, allowing coaches to recruit top prep athletes and have the resources to travel to “elite tournaments and develop training programs to improve the abilities of our players.”
He added, “We are excited and very thankful to Mr. and Mrs. Swanson for the bright future that lies ahead for Cal Poly Golf. With the efforts of several other alumni, San Luis Obispo community members and current and former parents of our student-athletes, the excitement and momentum of fundraising for the golf program is substantial.”
“I have been very blessed to receive the financial aid the Swansons have given me,” Nygren said in a statement, “so I speak from experience when I say that this generous donation will turn over a new leaf for our programs.”
Also Tuesday, Cal Poly announced prep standouts Tanner Podres and Tiffany Cha signed National Letters of Intent to join the Mustangs’ golf teams next year. Podres, a senior at Dana Hills High in south Orange County, was also recruited by the University of San Diego and Santa Clara University before signing with Cal Poly.
Cha, a San Ramon native and soon-to-be Dougherty Valley High graduate, helped the Wildcats to a third-place finish in the state finals at Pebble Beach last month and was a three-time first-team all-league performer.