Campus: SAN LUIS OBISPO -- September 21, 2006

Oreggia Family Foundation Donates $1.5 Million to Cal Poly Ag Tech Center

The Oreggia Family Foundation of Salinas has donated another $1.5 million to the Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. The latest gift is earmarked for planning and construction of the proposed Agriculture Technology Center at Cal Poly.

Including the latest gift, the foundation has so far donated a total of $2.5 million to Cal Poly's nationally-recognized agriculture program.

"Our goal is to support the priorities of the college, and the Agriculture Technology Center appears to be the number-one priority," said Oreggia Family Foundation trustee Robert Taylor. "We're happy to help and we hope this gift will encourage others to support the center."

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Dean David Wehner said the new center will provide critically needed lab space for faculty members to conduct applied research and to work with students on senior projects. The 35,000-square foot, three-story building would house "wet labs" for chemistry and biochemistry research, as well as other laboratory space.

Currently in the planning stages, Wehner estimates the center will cost $15 to $20 million to complete. Cal Poly will need to raise almost all of the money from private funding.

"This latest gift from the Oreggia Foundation is a very important one," Wehner said. "It will allow us to get started with design work for the center while we move ahead to secure the funding for it."

Plans call for the new Agriculture Technology Center to be built between the Erhart Agricultural Building and the Agricultural Engineering Building on campus.

About the Oreggia Family Foundation

Salinas grower Arden Oreggia and his sister, Sabina, created the Oreggia Family Foundation with their estates. Oreggia grew up on the family dairy outside Gonzales, and expanded the family's operations as a produce grower. Arden Oreggia did not have the chance to attend college; after his father's early death, he stepped in to run the family farms. But he developed a long relationship with Cal Poly, periodically hosting groups of students for field lessons on his operations, according to Oreggia Family Foundation trustees Bob Taylor and Denny Bertelsman.

A student-led tour through the Cal Poly creamery at Cal Poly's 2005 Open House so impressed Oreggia that he decided to use his estate to set up a foundation to benefit the Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

"He wanted to see agriculture as a whole benefit," Taylor explained. "Arden thought that Agriculture was important for the nation and for the area, and he wanted to support it. He decided that supporting agriculture at Cal Poly was the way to do that."

The Oreggia Family Foundation is partnering with Cal Poly to support the development of agriculture facilities and programs at the university.

Contact: David Wehner, Dean, (805) 756-2171

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