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Grateful To Be A Mustang!

I am thrilled to express my gratitude and introduce myself as Cal Poly’s vice president for University Development and Alumni Engagement. As a community dedicated to supporting the university, I’m excited about the future we can build together.

Since arriving on campus, my focus has been to listen, learn and seek out unique opportunities to engage constituents like you in our advocacy, volunteerism and fundraising efforts. What I am finding is an impressive student body, a passionate alumni base and an institution that prepares its students to be ready Day One to meet the challenges of our time.

While I am becoming immersed in the university’s rich history and strategic vision, my initial impression of Cal Poly was made on the wrestling mat while attending Portland State University. It was there that I first recognized Learn by Doing in action — through talented student-athletes equally focused on being part of an incredible wrestling program and developing as the next generation of industry leaders through Cal Poly’s hands-on learning experience.

College was also where I first came to understand the power of philanthropy. As a scholarship recipient, knowing that someone believed I could achieve success gave me the motivation to forge ahead and push myself. It also removed barriers, opened a world of possibilities, and ignited my passion to pursue a career rooted in its commitment to serving others.

Now in a position to lead, I am inspired by the feeling of community at Cal Poly and excited to identify opportunities for us to make a positive impact for years to come. From faculty and staff, to students, alumni, parents, volunteers and donors, every interaction I’ve had has been full of enthusiasm, a willingness to collaborate, and a readiness to get to work. It’s this shared commitment to the practice of Learn by Doing that sets Cal Poly apart and sets the stage for the next great chapter in our story.

So, on behalf of Cal Poly, thank you. Thank you for investing in the university’s future, for believing in what students can achieve, and for welcoming me with open arms.

With gratitude,

Zack Smith
Vice President University Development and Alumni Engagement
[email protected]