Robert Weir Ryder, 1914-1921
The appointment of Robert Weir Ryder as the third director of the Cal Poly School was, in a sense, an affirmation of the importance of the school's engineering program. A graduate of the University of California, Ryder came to Cal Poly in 1911 as head of the Mechanics Department.
Ryder’s administration was marked with numerous innovations to the Cal Poly curriculum, including a college preparatory course, auto mechanics, and a printing course, which was a precursor to today's journalism and graphic communications departments. With the introduction of an academic course, Cal Poly received accreditation by the University of California in 1917. A military training program was introduced at Cal Poly and after World War I, Cal Poly provided vocational training for disabled veterans.
Ryder resigned in 1921 to accept a commission with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.