Swanson Golf Gift
Cal Poly Receives Record Athletics Donation: $10M for Golf Program
Gift from alum and retired Raytheon Co. Chairman and CEO Bill Swanson and wife, Cheryl, is among largest ever to U.S. collegiate golf
Retired Raytheon Company Chairman William H. (Bill) Swanson and his wife, Cheryl, have donated more than $10 million to the Cal Poly golf program — the largest single gift in the history of Cal Poly athletics and among the largest ever cash donations to a collegiate golf program in the U.S.
The Swansons’ historic gift will provide essential, competitive support for Cal Poly’s men’s and women’s golf programs and position them to compete for Big West and national championships.
“As a student athlete, you learn what competition is all about, whether playing as an individual or as a team member. You know you have to play your best and do your job. If you don’t, you are letting down those who are counting on you,” said Swanson, who played on Cal Poly’s golf team while pursuing his engineering degree.
“Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy instilled in me a “no fear” attitude that allowed me to try different things for success. Because of my Cal Poly education and my time as a collegiate golfer I was able to apply these learnings time and time again over a 40-year career at Raytheon and for that I will always be grateful.”
The Swansons’ $10.188 million gift will be used to provide immediate cash support for scholarships and establish an operating endowment named the “Swanson Cal Poly Golf Program.” The endowment will fund new scholarships, focusing on engineering and first-generation student-athletes, and support participating in better national tournaments, more robust travel and recruiting budgets and improved equipment and gear for the men’s and women’s teams.
“Bill and Cheryl’s gift is a testament to Learn by Doing and the lasting value of a Cal Poly education,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “We are so thankful for their support and the new opportunities their gift will provide to future student athletes. I am especially pleased that Bill, Cheryl and other supporters are providing cash for immediate full funding of scholarships and are also building the endowment for long-term support of the program.”
Cal Poly Men’s Golf Coach Scott Cartwright said the Swansons’ generosity will transform the university’s golf program for generations.
“Their support will provide greater education opportunities for the men and women in our program and a better and more competitive student-athlete experience,” Cartwright said. “It will give us the scholarships needed to recruit top student-athletes and have the resources to travel to elite tournaments and develop training programs to improve the abilities of our players.
“We are excited and very thankful to Mr. and Mrs. Swanson for the bright future that lies ahead for Cal Poly Golf. With the efforts of several other alumni, San Luis Obispo community members and current and former parents of our student-athletes, the excitement and momentum of fundraising for the golf program is substantial.”
Mustang golfers Cole Nygren and Jamie Corr, both recipients of a scholarship from the Swansons, echoed that excitement and gratitude.
“I have been very blessed to receive the financial aid the Swansons have given me,” Nygren said, “so I speak from experience when I say that this generous donation will turn over a new leaf for our programs.”
"We are thankful,” added Corr, “to be supported by such generous donors who believe in us and help us reach our goals of competing at a higher level.”
About Bill Swanson
Swanson is a retired chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Raytheon Company. Swanson served as chairman and CEO of Raytheon from January 2004 to March 2014, at which time he stepped down from the role of CEO. He retired from the company in September 2014, finishing a 42-plus year career with the company.
During Swanson’s tenure as CEO, Raytheon’s sales grew 26 percent, its stock price and dividend each increased three-fold and company debt was virtually eliminated.
He also strengthened Raytheon’s culture with a focus on core company values, ethics, diversity and the customer, while transforming the company’s community engagement by championing corporate responsibility, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and armed services support.
Swanson joined Raytheon in 1972 and held a wide range of leadership positions, including manufacturing manager of the company’s largest operation, senior vice president and general manager of the Missile Systems Division, general manager of Raytheon Electronic Systems, president of Electronic Systems, chairman and chief executive officer of Raytheon Systems Company, and president of Raytheon.
Swanson was an Honored Alumnus in Cal Poly’s College of Engineering in 1991 and received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Cal Poly in 2005.
About Raytheon Company
Raytheon Company, with 2014 sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 93 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as cybersecurity and a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. For more about Raytheon, visit www.raytheon.com and follow @Raytheon on Twitter.