The Impact of Giving

In their own words, members of the Orfalea College of Business community share what philanthropy means to them.

Joan Lindsey Mullikin & Brennan Davis

Marketing Professors
Recipients of the 2017 Richard and Julie Hood Professorships in Marketing

Joan: “The Richard and Julie Hood Professorship in Marketing reminds me of how important it is that I make Learn by Doing projects available to my students. The students become so involved and invested in the industry and government projects. It is really amazing to see! The experience makes them truly career ready — ready to go to work on day one of their future jobs. This distinguishes Cal Poly students from others, and I am so glad I am able to make a contribution to this dynamic process.”

Brennan: “The Hood Award has been one of the top ways a donor has impacted our marketing students over the long term. It gives me time to develop new courses in marketing, which is rapidly changing in the digital age. And the award criteria challenge me to think consistently about ways to create significant real-world experiences for our marketing students. I believe it helps the college attract and retain the best professors in marketing, for the benefit of our students. We are grateful to Richard and Julie Hood for investing Cal Poly.” 

Melisa Zarate

Finance Senior
Recipient of a John Maher Scholarship, which supports upper-division students in the Colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, Liberal Arts and Business

“Earning this scholarship is a big step toward achieving greater heights in my future career in finance. I love knowing that alumni and donors support students financially. As a first-generation college student, that support gives my family and me a sense of comfort and hope. This scholarship will alleviate some financial burden and help me concentrate on my studies while I prep for the CFA exam.”

James Huang (Business Administration, ‘08)

Founder of the Tad Miller Scholarship

To support the Tad Miller Scholarship, visit

“When Professor Tad Miller became my mentor, I was inspired to be the best version of myself — the way Tad saw me. As I reflect back, I attribute where I am today largely to that first fork in the road when I walked into the Cal Poly Accounting Club, took a risk at running for the board, and was inspired by a professor who dedicated himself to others. When I heard Tad was celebrating 30 years of teaching, it was a no-brainer to start a scholarship in his honor. Tad is the epitome of an outstanding professor and advisor; his legacy should live on in the college’s history as one of the greatest.”

Brooke Lowe

Business Administration Senior
Orfalea Travel Grant recipient in Kinsale, Ireland

“The Orfalea International Business Tour to Ireland was my first experience being on a plane and being outside of California. It opened up my mind to consider both culture and business on a global scale. Between navigating the streets of new cities and networking with professionals during our company visits, I feel more empowered to branch out from my comfort zone. I am beyond thankful for this trip, the experiences it gave me, and the grant that made it all possible.”

Matt Maxwell

Finance senior

Founder of BoltAbout, a startup in the SLO HotHouse that leases electric bicycles

“The CIE has helped me fearlessly chase my dreams. They’ve helped me get back up on my feet after getting knocked down from tough challenges. And most importantly, they’ve celebrated my successes and encouraged me to aim even higher. The CIE and their network of mentors and donors provide the foundation for student entrepreneurs like me to give it our very best and build amazing businesses.”

Cade Vallejo

Industrial Technology and Packaging senior in the Metals Fabrication Lab, which has added new equipment thanks to donor support

“It is one thing to learn about the capabilities of a machine in the classroom, but being able to actually program and operate equipment like a water jet cutting table is a priceless experience for all industrial technology students.”

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