Robert Cardoza was an offensive lineman on the Mustang football team, but his extraordinary efforts since his playing days are the impetus for his nomination.
Cardoza, who passed away on Sept. 26, 2002, in Modesto, was the co-chair of the university's Centennial Campaign, promoting the university by traveling throughout the state to generate enthusiasm for Cal Poly. He has always been a strong supporter of the athletic program through generous gifts as well as his collaboration with administration to engage other alumni and friends.
He was a steering committee member and a Founder level contributor to the Building the Advantage Capital Campaign that was responsible for fundraising for the building of the Sports Complex and renovation of Mott Gym.
A 1961 graduate of Oakdale High School, Cardoza attended Modesto College for two years before earning his bachelor's degree in agriculture business management at Cal Poly in 1965. He was named most inspirational football player at Oakdale High in 1960 and earned all-conference honors while playing football at Modesto College.
Among his professional accomplishments are board chairman of AAA (2001-02), director of the California State Automobile Association (1979-2002); owner of The Cardoza Co., a consulting and investment firm (1994-2002); chairman, president and CEO of PV Financial, Pacific Valley National Bank, Valley Ag Credit Corp. and Western Valley Mortgage Co. (1982-94); president and CEO of Modesto Production Credit Association (1972-82) and assistant general manager of Merced Production Credit Association (1968-72).
Cardoza also served as president of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce (1980) and was a trustee of the Yosemite Community College District from 1977-96. His community service included work with the YMCA, Rotary and the American Red Cross. Two of Cardoza's daughters, Catherine and Carrie, are Cal Poly graduates as is his son, Bowen, in fruit science.