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Couple donates $1M to Cal Poly wine, viticulture program

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Posted at 3:14 PM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 18:14:21-04

Cal Poly's wine and viticulture program received a $1 million boost this week.

The donation from Bill and Cheryl Swanson will benefit the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science's JUSTIN and J. LOHR Center for Wine and Viticulture.

Construction on the center is underway now. The project includes a 15,600 square foot winery and a 12,000 square foot grange hall.

The Swanson's donation will specifically fund the Swanson Center of Effort Conference Hall within the grange hall. Cal Poly says the 2,728 square foot hall will be used as a central gathering place for lectures, meetings, and events.

Bill Swanson graduated from Cal Poly in 1973 with a degree in Industrial Engineering. He formerly served as chairman and CEO of Raytheon.

In 2008, Swanson and his wife founded the Center of Effort winery in the Edna Valley. The couple has been involved in fundraising efforts at Cal Poly for several years.

Construction on the winery at the JUSTIN and J. LOHR Center for Wine and Viticulture is expected to be complete in September of this year, while the grange hall is expected to be complete in March 2021.

Cal Poly says the $22 million project is solely donor funded. More than $19 million has been raised so far.