News » Cougars & Mustangs

Cougars & Mustangs



Cal Poly has always done a Champagne job combining athletic and academic success. This year, 17 Mustang student athletes who competed in spring sports earned Big West Academic Spring All-Conference recognition. Cal Poly’s men’s and women’s track and field programs led the way with five selections apiece. Also noteworthy was senior softball player and kinesiology major Stephanie Correia, who completed her Mustang career with a third-successive Big West All-Academic selection.

To be eligible for the all-academic team, student-athletes have to maintain a 3.2 cumulative grade point average, complete one full academic year at their member institution prior to the season for which the award was received, and compete in at least 50 percent of their team’s contests.

Top Gaucho officials put the honored one of the most compassionate ’Stangs of all time. Cal Poly School of Education Professor Michael Ruef received the 2011 Thomas Haring Award for his work with people with developmental disabilities and their families. The award is given annually by the UC Santa Barbara Gervitz School of Education.

Ruef became involved in special education research because of his younger sister, Kathy, born with down syndrome in 1960.

“At that time,” Ruef said, “there were no legally mandated educational services for persons with disabilities, and the pediatrician told my mom to institutionalize my sister—not to even bring her home from the hospital.”

Cal Poly’s largest college has a new leader. Debra Larson has been named the new dean of Cal Poly Engineering. Larson, a civil engineering professor and academic affairs administrator with Northern Arizona University, will join Cal Poly Aug. 22. She will take the reins of the university’s largest college with about 5,000 students, 13 degree programs, and more than 80 laboratories. Cal Poly president Jeffrey D. Armstrong said Larson’s colleagues praised her ƒfocus on student learning, her high energy, and her ability to build consensus among peers.

The Arizona Society of Civil Engineers presented Larson with its Distinguished Service Award in 2008 and President’s Award in 2005. She won the 1999 Pacific Southwest Section Outstanding Teaching Award from the American Society of Engineering Educators, the same year she led a faculty team that was awarded a $50,000 Boeing Outstanding Educator Award for Design4Practice: Engineering Design.

Larson earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Michigan Technological University and her doctorate, also in civil engineering, from Arizona State University. ∆


Intern Kai Beech compiled this week’s Cougars & Mustangs column. Send your collegiate news to


Add a comment