Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees

Charles Brown Voorhis


California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona has its origins in the philanthropy of two notable individuals in the 1930s, one of whom was Charles Brown Voorhis.

Mr. Voorhis was born in Kansas and eventually located to Los Angeles, California. He had extensive business experience in both General Motors and the Nash Motors Companies in the late teens to late twenties. He was appointed to the Los Angeles Regional Board of the Federal Reserve Bank and served one two-year term as its chairperson.

Concerned with the plight of homeless children during the height of the Depression, Mr. Voorhis and his wife, Ella Ward Smith, organized the Voorhis School for Boys on a 150-acre site in San Dimas, California in 1928 and endowed it with $1 million. In 1938, Mr. Voorhis made a gift of the school to the state of California for the California Polytechnic School in San Luis Obispo. The site continued to operate as a southern branch of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo from 1938 through the spring of 1956. It was then merged with the new southern campus expansion, Kellogg Unit of Cal Poly.

In 1957, the combined units of Voorhis and Kellogg became California State Polytechnic College. Kellogg-Voorhis was eventually given individual status in the summer of 1986, thus making Mr. Charles Brown Voorhis one of the founders of Cal Poly Pomona. Mr. Voorhis' oldest son, Horace Jeremiah "Jerry" Voorhis, was the headmaster of the Voorhis School for Boys before serving as the U.S. Congressman from the district from 1936-1946.

In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the state of California and higher education, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, are proud to confer upon Charles Brown Voorhis the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (posthumously).