Poly Royal buttons were first introduced in 1958 by the Cal Poly Collegiate Future Farmers of America. Dale Andrews, the CFFA advisor, who would go on to become vice president and acting president at Cal Poly, got the idea from the University of Minnesota while studying for his doctorate degree. He observed that the clubs there raised funds by selling buttons. He initiated the idea at Cal Poly, and students found a new way to raise money, support and promote Poly Royal, and work on projects.
The original button, the Poly Royal Queen holding a T-square while sitting on top of a horse, represented the three divisions at Cal Poly in 1958 — agriculture, engineering and math. The first square button appeared in 1975. In the beginning buttons were limited to the colors green and gold, but have over the years been created in a variety of colors.