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History of EOP

The Educational Opportunity Program at Cal Poly

Two people smiling 2006

As of 2018, all California State University Educational Opportunity Programs will be celebrating forty-nine years of academic success. Cal Poly is proud to recognize that we are the first EOP established program within the CSU system, we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2018!

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) was initiated at Cal Poly in 1968, due in large part to the vision and professional commitment of Dr. Everett Chandler, Dean of Students at the time. Dr. Chandler had a personal interest in starting an EOP program at Cal Poly. Even prior to legislative funding, Dr. Chandler focused his efforts on pulling together a group of administrators, counselors and other committed staff of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs to develop a successful pilot EOP program. "Dr. Chandler was one to give gentle pushes to other administrators," explained Dr. Carl Wallace (former EOP Director) and as Dean of Student Affairs, Chandler chose to create a pilot program for 22 students in 1968."

Jose Millan with students at their graduation

Dr. Chandler called superintendents and principals of high schools in California to request the applications for highly-motivated high school graduates to participate in this new program at Cal Poly. The first EOP Director, Dr. Richard Martinez, along with Dr. David Sanchez (former Cal Poly faculty member), focused both on EOP program development and the initiation of an ethnic studies department at Cal Poly. Collaboration with Admissions, Housing, Student Life, Counseling and other key campus constituencies supported this first incoming group of Educational Opportunity Program students.

banquet food

Thanks to the diligence and foresight of professionals such as Dr. Chandler, and the hard work of the original twenty-two Cal Poly EOP students, sixteen of these students now have college degrees and two work at Cal Poly, shared Walter Harris, who is one of the original twenty-two students. Now an Associate Director of Admissions and Recruitment at Cal Poly, Walter shared that his strongest influences that first year were Dr. Lorraine Howard and Dr. Glen McRae, the two counselors with whom the first students had weekly contact and support.

The following year, in 1969, state funding from the California Legislature was passed to establish the Educational Opportunity Program in California. In its first years, EOP provided significant support to program participants and continues to make a "tremendous impact on families and individual lives of our students," offered Dr. Carl Wallace. Students were under considerable pressure both academically and personally at Cal Poly, many of whom were far away from home, both geographically and demographically. EOP bridged the isolation and supported many students' first steps away from home; most were the first in their families, communities and schools to attend a CSU, and especially, Cal Poly. Fifty years later, EOP, as a part of Student Academic Services, continues as a supportive environment, now for over 600 eligible students, which provides critically important personal and transitional support services for students as they enter the university and progress toward graduation at Cal Poly.

Woman giving a commencement speech

The Educational Opportunity Program at Cal Poly includes several unique features, all of which amplify and support academic excellence, rather than only support student survival. Cal Poly EOP is woven into campus programs and departments, connected with both Student Affairs and the college departments. At Cal Poly, EOP is part of an umbrella department in Student Affairs, called Student Academic Services, which also coordinates Connections for Academic Success, Educational Talent Search, EOP College Bound, Student Support Services, Summer Institute, Upward Bound, the Academic Skills Center, and several campus-wide academic enhancement programs.

Man giving a speech

Through partnerships with campus departments, EOP Counselors provide a first year seminar series to all incoming EOP students to orient, integrate, and support.

A wide range of highly successful academic enhancement services have been borne out of EOP staff creativity, including Supplemental Workshops in Math and Science, Summer Institute, Study Sessions and grants.

The high energy, clear dedication and impressive creativity of the staff of the Educational Opportunity Program have supported the development of this program as a vital Cal Poly program. Cal Poly EOP has kept pace with the high standards of the campus and has focused its efforts on continued excellence.

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