Press Release

Three Finalists Named for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Presidency




(Nov. 29, 2010) - The California State University today named three finalists for the presidency of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  The finalists and the dates they will visit the campus for day-long meetings with various groups are:

Robert E. Palazzo, provost and chief academic officer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, will visit the campus on Tuesday, Nov. 30. 

Thomas C. Skalak, vice president for research and professor of biomedical engineering, University of Virginia, will visit the campus on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

Jeffrey D. Armstrong, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and professor of animal science, Michigan State University, will visit the campus on Thursday, Dec. 2

Each of the three finalists will spend a day on campus meeting faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community.  An open forum will be held daily for the campus community from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Advanced Technology Laboratories.

There will be daily media availability during the campus visit at 5:30 p.m. following the open forum which media may also attend.  Media, please contact Stacia Momburg at (805) 756-6260 or

"We are very fortunate to be able to select the next president of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo from among three tremendously experienced candidates," said CSU Trustee Roberta Achtenberg, who is chairing the Trustees\' Committee for the Selection of the President.  "The person who ultimately fills this role will embody Cal Poly\'s learn-by-doing philosophy as an educator and administrator with the ability to form lasting partnerships with students, faculty and the community."

The new president will succeed Interim President Robert Glidden, who joined the campus in August following the retirement of President Warren J. Baker, who served as president since 1979. 

The CSU Board of Trustees will interview the three finalists at a special board meeting on Dec. 13 and name the new Cal Poly president later that week.  The new president is expected to begin in early 2011.   

Palazzo has served as provost and chief academic officer since 2007 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, where he joined the faculty in 2002.  At Rensselaer, which is the oldest science and technology institute in the United States, Palazzo is also the founding director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies and served as chair of the Department of Biology.  Palazzo received his B.S. in biology and doctorate in biological sciences from Wayne State University in 1979 and 1984, respectively.  He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia and joined the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, M.A. as an independent scientist in 1989.  Palazzo moved to the University of Kansas in 1992 where he served as chair of the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology and professor of Molecular Biosciences. 

Skalak is vice president for research and professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia where he has been a member of the faculty since 1986.  He served as chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering from 2001 to 2008.  He received a B.E.S. in bioengineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1979 and a Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego.  Skalak is president of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, which represents more than 50,000 professionals, and a past-president of the Biomedical Engineering Society.  In his current position, Skalak is responsible for the integration and enhancement of scholarship, research, and commercialization activities across UVa\'s 11 schools, multiple research centers, and external partners. 

Armstrong has been dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and professor of Animal Science at Michigan State University since 2001.  He was head of the Department of Animal Sciences at Purdue University from 1997 to 2001.  He served in various positions at North Carolina State University from 1986 through 1997.  Armstrong attended Murray State University where he received a B.S. in agriculture in 1981, and went on to earn both an M.A. and  Ph.D. in physiology and endocrinology from NCSU.  Armstrong also serves as chair of the United Egg Producers Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, and advises McDonald\'s Corporation in animal welfare and other broader issues related to social responsibility. 

For more information on the candidates, please visit


About California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo
Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year comprehensive public university located in San Luis Obispo between San Francisco and Los Angeles on California\'s Central Coast.  It is a distinctive learning community offering academically focused students a hands-on educational experience that prepares them for today\'s scientific and technical world. 

About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 433,000 students year round and 44,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. A recent economic report found that the CSU supports more than 150,000 jobs statewide, annually. The engine driving job creation is more than $17 billion in economic activity that directly results from CSU-related spending that generates $5.43 for every dollar the state invests. The mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.Connect with and learn more about CSU at CSU Social Media.