Julian A. McPhee, 1933-1966
A graduate of the University of California, obtaining a B.S. in 1917 and a masters degree in 1928, Julian McPhee first gained experience in agricultural education in the U.C. Agriculture Extension Service and as director of vocational agriculture at El Dorado County High School and Gilroy Union High School.
McPhee’s influence in the State Bureau of Agricultural Education helped save the flagging school from being closed by the state. McPhee was instrumental in the reorganization of Cal Poly into a single-sex institute for men over the age of 18. In 1933, McPhee was appointed president of the California Polytechnic and served concurrently as chief of the Bureau of Agricultural Education, California State Department of Education. Then a two-year technical institute, Cal Poly, under President McPhee's leadership, evolved into a four-year college in the California State College system.
During WWII, McPhee served as director of California’s War Food Production Training Program. He later served as acting chief of the Bureau of Readjustment Education, assistant executive officer of the State Board of Vocational Education, and director of Vocational Education for the State of California. He was awarded the LL.D. by Armstrong College in 1952.
In 1966, after thirty-three years as president of Cal Poly, Julian A. McPhee retired.