Local News

Aug 5, 2010 9:29 PM by Ariel Wesler

New university president talks about his goals

Cal Poly has a new leader for the first time in 30 years. Robert Glidden is officially Cal Poly's new interim president. He took over Aug. 1 for retiring president Warren Baker.

Glidden himself was retired, before taking the position. He formerly served as the president of Ohio University from 1994 to 2004, overseeing six campuses with more than 29 thousand students.

At age 73, Interim President Robert Glidden is not looking for a permanent position. He just loves working with students. In fact, he's living on campus.

"I think the students understand here that they are the most important people in this institution and I think the faculty and administration and staff all understand that very well," Glidden said.

But he says ensuring a quality education for students at a time when the state continues to make cuts is the biggest challenge, but his top priority.

"There is a point beyond which you can't go in terms of cutting budgets and still maintaining high quality, but I don't think we're there yet," he added.

Glidden says having worked and consulted with many universities across the country gives him a unique perspective on Cal Poly's future.

"Occasionally, we might seem or feel discouraged when in fact we are much better off and doing much better than many other places across the country," Glidden said.

Part of the school's legacy is its $131 million endowment, the highest in the Cal State system. The money supports many programs and student scholarships.

Incoming freshman and their parents went through orientation Thursday. They were among some of the first to hear from the new president.

"I think he's going to be able to relate more to the students. I think President Baker did a great job getting the Cal Poly name out there," said Evan Razor, a recent graduate.

"He seemed really enthusiastic and ready to go to work," said Alec Perrucci, an incoming freshman.

Ready to work for a university with a long history of academic excellence while passing along some words of wisdom.

"He said, I even jotted it down. It said 'Get your work done first and then the fun will be more fun'," said Rita Howe, whose son wil start at Cal Poly this fall.

Glidden says he will remain at Cal Poly until the university finds a new president. He expects a new leader to be in place by next fall.

Glidden will receive the same salary as Baker, about $328,000.


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