Warren Baker to retire from Poly

December 7, 2009

imagesDear Cal Poly Faculty, Staff and Administrators:

I am writing to tell you I have informed the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees that I intend to retire from the Presidency of Cal Poly at the end of this academic year.  I have agreed to stay until the next president is selected and can assume the Presidency.  You will soon hear more about the campus involvement in the selection process, which will begin early next quarter. (A brief overview of the process is included in the official University press release: http://www.calpolynews.calpoly.edu/news_releases/2009/December/wjbaker_retirement.html)

For the last 30  years I have been extremely fortunate to work with such outstanding colleagues. All of you are truly exceptional in your dedication to our students and in your strong spirit of cooperation.  What we have accomplished together over the past three decades could not have happened without this cooperation and the mutual respect that exists in our community.

In spite of the difficult economic times we now face, Cal Poly has a bright and secure future. I am confident saying that because of your talent and dedication. You will make sure Cal Poly successfully manages through these challenges.  You have made sure the University is well positioned to continue to excel and serve California’s needs.

The most recent updating of the Strategic Plan has benefitted from broad participation across the campus as well as from our Alumni, friends and advisors.  It has guided the focus for the WASC accreditation study and defined the important questions that need research and continued study. The Cal Poly Mission, Vision, Goals, Values and Learning Objectives are clear and impressive.  The stage has been set for the next major capital campaign which will most certainly be successful because Cal Poly has an excellent story to tell.

Cal Poly will continue to make progress in the near term as well.  The Legislature and the Governor, thanks to the assistance of our industry partners, have approved state capital funding of $105 million for the Science Center, and $19 million has been committed in private funds.  The Center has been designed with visionary programming by the faculty and staff, and we are optimistic that construction will begin soon.

We have clearly experienced some disappointment because of the uncertainty about the future of the Cal Poly Plan. This Plan, introduced 13 years ago and strongly endorsed by our Board of Trustees, established a compact with our students to apply fees approved by the students to improve quality, expand access to classes, reduce the time to complete a degree and provide the support needed for a comprehensive polytechnic university that was no longer recognized in the State funding formula.  The economic crisis in California, requiring unprecedented budget reductions for higher education and the need to increase the State University Fees by more than 30 percent, has delayed implementation of the most recent phase of the Cal Poly Plan college based fee approved overwhelmingly by our students.  I have had several discussions with the Chancellor about this delay and he has assured me “that there is no doubt that Cal Poly will be able to continue the Cal Poly Plan.”

Finally, and most important: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you.

With my deepest respect and warmest regards,


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While it is wonderful to hear that Mr Baker who has been retired in place for about the last 20 years is finally making it official his announcement is a pathetic but revealing summary of his reign at Cal Poly. There is no mention of the students. (other than reference to student fee hikes) Everything is the faculty alumni Baker and the boys. This announcement is testimony to his failed leadership and in his own hand and he will leave the office as he has served the office……a dismal failure and clueless to the meaning of university. .

I’ll believe it when I see it.

How is Cal Poly going to find someone else who can write anodyne prose like that? There must be only ten or eleven million people in California who could do it.

Does this mean that the student game of recording rare sightings of Warren Baker on campus will now end? The number of sightings could actually go up after he retires.

Kudos to Cal Coast News for accompanying this item with a photo of Baker’s mechanical smile, though the one on the Mustang Daily website looks oddly sincere.

With his pension I would retire too…..must be nice.