Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo -- November 30, 2001
Unocal Donates Pier, Endowment to Cal Poly for New Marine Science Education Center
Unocal Corp. donated its historic pier in Avila Beach to California Polytechnic
State University (San Luis Obispo) for the establishment of a marine science
education and research center in ceremonies here today.
The Cal Poly Marine Science Education and Research Center will be operated
by the university's College of Science and Mathematics. The laboratory
facility will be the only one of its kind between Santa Barbara and Monterey,
and the only one in the nation focusing on undergraduate education.
The center will allow faculty and students to conduct research projects
in many areas, including marine science, oceanography, marine geology,
meteorology, marine biotechnology, bioremedi- ation, molecular biology,
biochemistry, and mathematical, statistical and computer modeling.
"This once-in-a-lifetime donation is just the latest example of Unocal's
longtime interest in and support of Cal Poly's science programs,"
said Cal Poly President Warren J. Baker. "The center will not only
benefit Cal Poly students and faculty, but also will increase the understanding
and stewardship of the Central Coast's marine life.
"Unocal's continuing generosity enhances Cal Poly's learn-by-doing
educational philosophy by providing our students, especially undergraduates,
hands-on experience," he said.
The concrete pier is six-tenths of a mile long. Built in 1984, it is valued
at $18 million. Unocal will also establish a $3.5 million endowment for
maintenance and operation of the facility.
A wooden pier was originally built on the site in 1914 and was bought
by Unocal in 1941. The wooden structure was destroyed by winter storms
in 1983, and the current pier was rebuilt the following year. Unocal used
it for loading and unloading of crude oil and petroleum products until
"This gift today will help assure a legacy of quality, learn-by-doing
education for future generations of Cal Poly students," said Mark
Smith, Unocal vice president who oversees the
company's Central Coast operations. "We have been a longtime partner
with Cal Poly, and graduates of this fine university have played an important
role in Unocal's business."
Smith also noted that the gift to Cal Poly was the result of a two-year
effort by Unocal and Cal Poly professionals, as well as government officials.
"The dedication and effort of all parties made today a reality,"
Including today's gift, Unocal has donated more than $28 million to Cal
Poly programs over the past five years. Unocal has been a major supporter
of Cal Poly's world-renowned Environmental Biotechnology Institute, which
is leading research into the use of biotechnology to improve ecosystems.
The pier's existing office building will be renovated for teaching, research,
office and meeting areas. Students working on research projects will be
bused from the campus to the pier.
"Our undergraduate students will participate in the development of
what surely will become a nationally recognized marine science center,"
said Philip S. Bailey, dean of Cal Poly's College of Science and Mathematics.
"Their research will be cutting edge, important to the marine research
community and beneficial to the Central Coast."
Cal Poly offers a marine biology concentration in the Biological Sciences
Department as well as a quarter-at-sea program around the Pacific Ocean
in collaboration with the California State University Maritime Academy.
Future plans for the pier include partnerships with local educational
institutions such as Cuesta College, Hancock College and San Luis Obispo
County schools, and with community nonprofit organizations.