History Department


History 303: Research and Writing Seminar in History


Andrew Morris


During the years between 1929 and 1956, women were banned from attending Cal Poly. Women were among the first classes of Cal Poly students, but the crisis that was the Great Depression led to financial strains on higher education; ultimately Cal Poly chose to resolve burdens by eliminating women from the student body. After more than a quarter century of an all-male student population, women were re-admitted in 1956. With such an abrupt reversal in policy, the now coeducational institution faced many challenges. How would the male students respond? What were the expectations of the women students, and did these expectations differ from those of the male students? What courses and majors would the female students study? This paper will investigate these questions and more during this influential time in Cal Poly’s history.

Robert E. Kennedy, Learn By Doing: Memoirs of a University President: A Personal Journey with the Seventh President of California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo: California Polytechnic State University, 2001), 3-24; Cal Poly: The First Hundred Years (San Luis Obispo: Robert E. Kennedy Library, California Polytechnic State University, 2001), 7-35.