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Cover of Engineering Advantage Magazine, Fall 2018 issue

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Going Back in Time

Cal Poly Alumnus Bob Wulf

Cal Poly Alumnus Bob Wulf.

When Bob Wulf organized his class reunion in 2015, he wanted his fellow aerospace alum to see how things had changed since 1963.

“Most of them hadn’t been back to campus since graduation,” Wulf said.

During their return, the Class of ‘63 took tours of the Aerospace Department and College of Engineering, checked out senior projects and visited the Estrella Warbirds Museum in Paso Robles.

Bob Wulf

“I think they still feel connected with Cal Poly,” he said.

Giving others a chance to feel that sense of camaraderie, Wulf is now organizing an all-class aerospace reunion. And he’s hoping that some of those alums will contribute to his own personal gift challenge.

“No public university has enough money anymore,” he said, noting that public universities in California rely much more on private contributions today than when he was a student. “I don’t think people in my generation and even 10, 20, and 30 years younger than I am understand that.”

Wulf retired from Northrop Grumman Corporation as corporate vice president for engineering and technology after 37 years of service. His most visible accomplishment there was his time working as the vice-president of engineering and chief engineer for the high-profile B-2 Stealth bomber.

“I started out on the project when it was a blank sheet of paper with about ten people trying to figure out, ‘Can we really do this?’” he said, proudly wearing a B-2 lapel pin on his jacket. “It was great. Of course, it was 60- to 70-hour work weeks for a lot of years.”

Bob Wulf

Wulf thinks success stories like that motivate other students. But he also thinks it’s important for successful alums to give back. Which is why he and his wife Kathleen have agreed to match contributions up to $5,000 to the Aero Department Lab Endowment from now until December 25. While major donations are always helpful, he said, he also wants to encourage smaller ones. And the campus reunion, he thinks, will help foster a connection that encourages giving.

This year’s reunion will take place May 30-June 1, with a banquet at the Madonna Inn, campus tours and senior project viewings. Sign up and view the schedule.

While the tours will help alums understand what the department and students need, Wulf thinks older graduates will also be impressed by the changes that have occurred through the years.

“The labs are phenomenal by comparison,” he said.

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