Common understanding of "Cal Poly"


During my reading, I get the impression that when people say “Cal Poly”, it’s implied that they’re talking about SLO, not Pomona. Why is that? It’s kinda confusing to me. Both schools are polytechnic. Many times I’ve had to ask which Cal Poly they’re referring to.
Thanks for any explanation,

I’m not quite sure but I can assume that it’s because Cal Poly SLO is more well-known than Pomona. To add to this, most people would say that SLO also provides a better education than Pomona. Don’t get me wrong both are very good schools but SLO, in my opinion, is a better school than Pomona.

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CPP is actually California State Polytechnic & SLO is California Polytechnic so SLO is a bit protective since the official Cal Poly name belongs to them. Both are great schools.


In addition to what’s already been said above Cal Poly was the first Polytechnic school in California established in 1901. Cal Poly Pomona was originally a satellite campus of the same school which later become an independent university in 1966. It’s pretty much exactly like the UCs. When someone says “Cal” or “University of California” they are talking about the campus in Berkeley. The other UC campuses add the location to distinguish between Cal and the other campuses…“UC San Diego” etc.

This is true in other states as well. UT is the campus in Austin Texas for example but there are several other UT campuses UTA, UTEP etc.

So “Cal Poly” is the original campus in San Luis Obispo. “Cal Poly Pomona” is best nomenclature.


Unlike the UC situation you mentioned, Cal Poly SLO and Cal Poly Pomona are still very much sister campuses. They share the same motto (“Learn by Doing”) and philosophy, school colors (green and gold), and the mascots are both horses (Mustangs and Broncos). They also enter as the “Cal Poly Campuses” for their float in the Rose Parade. The float is built in Pomona and has teams from both campuses working together on it. Also, all over campus in Pomona you can see references to “Cal Poly” including signage and a giant “Cal Poly” shaped out of bushes as you enter campus. SLO is definitely more selective but Pomona isn’t far behind, and both schools are known for their engineering and agriculture programs. Pomona also has some very rich history with the Kellogg family (all of the cereal in the dining halls is always Kellogg!) and a very unique animal sciences program to reflect that. Either way you look at it, both are fantastic schools and students there should know how lucky they are!


Hello snookums and welcome to to CC. I agree with you, they are both fantastic schools. My post was a response to the OP’s question. Although I understand some folks see this differently depending on where they live etc., offcilally “Cal Poly” alone is the campus in San Luis Obispo. This is actually described by Cal Poly and Cal Poly Pomona in their own brand standards.