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Learn By Doing

We're Committed to Learn by Doing.  Are you?

In 2009, 11 innovative agriculture leaders who recognize the distinct advantage of a hands-on education came together to form the Learn by Doing Endowment to support the college’s renowned tradition of excellence. These generous philanthropists are committed to supporting the next generation of students and ensuring the future for Learn by Doing in the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences (CAFES). Each founding member donated a gift of $100,000 to create a fund of $1.1 million that is used to multiply the impact of their original gifts through matching endowments. 

Due to the available matching funds from the generous founding members, you can establish a $25,000 CAFES Learn by Doing Endowment for only $12,500*. Now you have the opportunity to pay it forward and honor yourself or a designee in perpetuity. 

Your $12,500* pledge over 1 – 5 years

+  $12,500 Endowment Matching Funds


* Plus 5% gift processing fee


View Learn By Doing Fact Sheet


“Through their hands-on polytechnic education, Cal Poly students graduate with more pertinent real-world experience than many of their counterparts.”

– Andrew J. Thulin, Dean
College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences

~ ~ ~

“Learn by Doing means getting your hands dirty and your mind engaged.
I’m proud to support the future leaders in this industry.”

– Ed Boutonnet, (CRSC ’62)
Learn by Doing Endowment Founding Partner
President and CEO of Ocean Mist Farms in Castroville, Calif.


Learn by Doing

Every day in the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, students are inspired by what they experience in labs, enterprise classes, senior projects, special problems courses and more. Some of those valuable experiences include:

  • A new 14 musculo-skeletal specimen lab for anatomy and physiology in animal science courses
  • New chocolate molds and immersion blenders for food science production labs
  • Tank fermenters for use in wine and viticulture undergraduate research and senior projects
  • Dissecting microscopes for the plant pathology lab and postharvest research lab in horticulture and crop science classes
  • Hand-held measuring instruments, such as clinometers, compasses and diameter tapes used in all GIS (geographic information systems) courses taught at Cal Poly, the majority of which are led by natural resources management and environmental sciences faculty
  • Scholarships for students to attend conferences and competitions, including the Agriculture Future of America’s Annual Leaders Conference


Join these generous Founding Members in support of Cal Poly's Learn by Doing experiences


Steve Barnard
(’75 Agricultural Business)
Mission Produce, Inc.


Charles and Diane Harrington
(’81 Agricultural Engineering; ’81 Ornamental Horticulture / '83 MS Agriculture)


Richard and Kathleen Zacky (’79 Poultry Industry;
’80 Food Science)


Al and Gail Montna
(’67 Farm Management;
’67 Home Economics)
Montna Farms


Rick and Tonya Antle
 (’79 Crop Science)
Tanimura and Antle, Inc.


The James G. Boswell Foundation


Mitchell W. Metzler
RCO Ag Credit, Inc/Glenn N Janzen


John and Sheila Lake
Rain for Rent


Bob and Leslie Taylor
The Oreggia Family Foundation
Foundation Trustee


John and Carol Salmonson
(’67 Crop Science)
Monterey Ag Resources


Ed and Rosa Boutonnet
(’62 Crop Science)
Ocean Mist Farms


We’d like to say a special thanks to the following who have taken the challenge and created Learn by Doing Endowments through this program. 

Donald R. Maas
Kirk & Mary Messick
Charles M. Burkner
Jerome Case
The Bannon Family
Susan & Robert Brown
Lark P. Carter
Anthony J. Florentine
Paul F. Burkner
A. Lynn & Ruth D. French
Timothy E. & Lisa York
SunWest Foods
The Errecarte Family
Peter & Mary Oppenheimer
The Pease Family
Merle & Sharon Jensen
Rich Krizo
Sonya Woods Anderson
Lynn White & Mary Bradford-White
​Arlene Bernstein
Orange County Farm Bureau
Pamela Stark
Roy Harris & Ralph Borchard Memorial
The Trexler Family 
The Bengard Family 
The Cilker Family
The Deane Family

Give Now to the Learn by Doing Endowment fund.



Russ Kabaker
​Assistant Dean of Advancement and External Relations

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