Celebrating 60 Years of Alumni

Awards Gala Recognizes Prominent Broncos
by Nancy Yeang

Cal Poly Pomona hosted the Alumni Awards Gala’s 60th anniversary at the historic W.K. Kellogg horse stables, honoring 10 alumni representing the eight colleges, the athletics department, and lifetime honoree.

Michelle Gendreau with CPP President Soraya M. Coley

Lifetime Achievement Awardee Michelle Gendreau with Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya M. Coley

Michele Gendreau (’83, hospitality management) received the Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes her more than 40 years of experience in the hospitality industry and her support of Cal Poly Pomona programs. As director of food and beverage for the experience and integration team at Disneyland Resort, Gendreau applies her leadership, teamwork and creative skills every day at the happiest place on Earth.

“Being a Cal Poly Pomona alumni is owning the pride you feel for being a Bronco,” Gendreau said in an Alumni Awards Gala video. “If you’re going to do one thing in your college career, [you should] experience things [and] take risks. That is an important piece of the learning and the journey.”

Gendreau credits the Rose Float Program for building her leadership skills, and remembers learning how to weld, apply screening and grow flowers.

“You get to learn at your pace, you get to learn the way you want to learn. Whether you are hands-on and learn by doing, the polytechnic approach applies,” Gendreau said of her time as a student volunteer in the Rose Float program. “That has really made the success of a lot of people.”

The Cal Poly Pomona Alumni Association presents the Distinguished Alumni Award to honor outstanding achievement in a profession or a vocation; service to a local, national, or global community; or service to Cal Poly Pomona. The 2022 awards were presented on April 30.

The 2022 honorees are:

  • Michele Gendreau (’83, hospitality management), Lifetime Achievement Award
  • John Wiegmann (’72, kinesiology), Athletics
  • Janet Erickson (’80, food and nutrition), Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture
  • Geoffrey Okamoto (’08, computer information systems), College of Business Administration
  • Kathrine Morillo-Shone (’15, Ed.D. Educational Leadership), College of Education and Integrative Studies
  • Ahmed Al-Khatib (’83, electrical engineering), College of Engineering
  • Wendy Rogers (’88, architecture), College of Environmental Design
  • Francois de la Roche (’73, history), College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences
  • Mario Sorci (’71, chemistry), College of Science
  • Russ Bendel (’05, hospitality management), The Collins College of Hospitality Management

Learn more about the honorees through our Alumni and External Relations website.

See highlights of the event and the most recent updates and news by following @CPPAlumni on Instagram or signing up for PolyAlumni, an enewsletter that is sent out nine times year for alumni and friends.

The Old Stables during the Distinguished Alumni Gala event