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Former Cal Poly Provost is a Strong Advocate for Student Athletes

Cal Poly Women's Track and Field runner

Dr. Kathleen Enz Finken, the former Provost of Cal Poly, knows better than anyone which departments at the university are in need of extra support. Enz Finken is a dedicated supporter of the Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country team, among other exemplary groups on campus. She outlines some of her core values including manifesting confidence in female student-athletes by encouraging a healthy balance between competitive academics and athletics.

"Supporting female student-athletes is important to me because it promotes a great deal of freedom for them to excel," she said. "I love the idea that they’re competing amongst themselves and not with men as they often are in the academic classroom or in a job setting. We can help fund a scholarship, travel vans, or the nutrition program, among other necessary program needs. These are things that really make a difference to a team’s success and give the student-athletes a vote of confidence.”

As a long-time runner and athlete, Enz Finken is gratified to support an activity she is passionate about. She appreciates the Cal Poly student-athletes for the mental and physical strength it takes to continually compete academically and athletically.

Kathleen Enz Finken on a hike with a backpack on

Enz Finken notes the importance of supporting a program or project in which you have a vested interest, advocating for Cal Poly Athletics as well as other outstanding programs. She and her husband, Gerald, are avid supporters of the Swanton Pacific Ranch, Cal Poly’s vast, 3,200-acre property in Santa Cruz County whose diverse and fragile ecosystems—including Redwood forests, coastal grasslands, and a lush estuary—are the locus for student research and educational activities. She spreads her philanthropic interests across causes that are meaningful to her: educational opportunities for students, student health and wellness, and the environment.

Enz Finken encourages those who are interested in supporting a university activity to consider the many benefits a gift may bring. Students deserve excellence in the educational environment, and to that end, any form of support is encouraged and appreciated.

“I got involved because I’m very interested in athletics and in supporting individuals who engage in endeavors to enhance their health and wellbeing," she said. "Higher education has been in a tough space and anything that can be provided by donors is going to be helpful, no matter what size. I’d suggest picking something that is exciting, interesting, or making a big difference in your life. Give whatever you can, whenever you can.”

Enz Finken wholeheartedly believes that developing a solid educational foundation among students at Cal Poly can be done by supporting their extracurricular programs. These programs, whether athletic or research, instill confidence in students and allow them to apply their knowledge outside of the classroom.

She believes that investing in mental and physical health from a young age leads to an active and happy lifestyle. Enz Finken pinpoints her support on programs she believes will encourage students to succeed and grow skills that will translate to productive lives. By supporting Cal Poly Athletics, Enz Finken feels she is making a difference, creating confidence among these student-athletes and contributing to their healthy lifestyles.

“The students-athletes at Cal Poly are very competitive in their academic programs and still find the time, the energy, and the mental strength to engage in what is often extremely intense athletic training," she said. "I think athletics for many students is what really keeps them on track and happy. Being able to get out there and run, practice, or go to the weight room allows them independence and gives them confidence to make good decisions with their lives.”