Peter and Mary Beth Oppenheimer Pledge $20 Million to Cal Poly
Largest Cash Gift in Cal Poly History
A $20 million gift by alumni and longtime Cal Poly supporters Peter and Mary Beth Oppenheimer is the largest cash gift in the university’s history.
The Oppenheimers, both alumni of the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, have directed this unprecedented gift to fully fund several projects within that college. Specifically, the gift will fund a new 70,000 square foot, 2,500 seat Agricultural Events Center capable of supporting livestock events and industry activities and conferences; a new equestrian pavilion with two 60,000 square foot arenas; a farm store to support the sale of student-grown meat, dairy, produce and horticultural products; and a sweeping modernization and expansion of the animal science teaching and research facilities and equipment.
“Peter and Mary Beth Oppenheimer’s generous gift reflects their confidence in the future of the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, and true belief in our Learn by Doing mission,” said Andrew J. Thulin, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences. “This remarkable investment will enable the college to make great strides.”
The Oppenheimers will also continue to support areas of ongoing need that have been dear to their hearts for years, including the Cal Poly Scholars program, the university’s meal voucher program, and the new Food Pantry. These programs are all aimed at addressing the basic student needs of physical nourishment and tuition, so that the students can focus on making the most of their studies.
“Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy had a tremendous impact on our education and lives,” said Peter Oppenheimer, a 1985 graduate of Cal Poly. “We want to help modernize and expand Cal Poly’s animal operations and build new facilities to offer future students an even better experience than our own.”
“It is also our desire to relieve existing hunger on campus, so our students are well nourished and can focus on learning,” said Mary Beth Oppenheimer, a 1986 graduate. “This quiet need exists and we would like to ensure that students have access to the basic essentials including food and personal necessities.“
“Peter and Mary Beth epitomize successful Cal Poly graduates, and their extraordinary gift will impact students for generations to come,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “Their gift is also vital in that it will encourage others to give back to Cal Poly at a time when the university increasingly relies upon private support to maintain its unique Learn by Doing curriculum and emphasis on student success.”
Peter Oppenheimer graduated with a degree in agricultural business management and participated in the meats and feedlot enterprise projects while at Cal Poly. After 18 years at Apple, Oppenheimer retired in September after serving the last 10 years as chief financial officer. He is currently a director of Goldman Sachs and the Cal Poly Foundation.
Mary Beth Oppenheimer graduated with a degree in home economics with a concentration in interior design. Their youngest son, Mark, is in his third year at Cal Poly in the Mechanical Engineering program.