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Campus and Community

Dean Wendt to Lead College of Science and Mathematics

Written By Matt Lazier

Alumnus will succeed Dean Phil Bailey, who is retiring after nearly 50 years at the university

Cal Poly Provost Kathleen Enz Finken today announced that Dean Wendt, a biology professor and currently the university’s dean of research, will become dean of the College of Science and Mathematics effective July 1.

Wendt will succeed current Dean Phil Bailey, who is retiring after 48 years as a professor and administrator at the university, including 34 at the helm of the College of Science and Mathematics.

Wendt is a 1993 graduate of Cal Poly with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He returned to the university as a professor in 2002. In addition to his teaching and research roles, he leads Cal Poly’s Center for Coastal Marine Sciences.

“Dean brings outstanding leadership skills and campus knowledge as well as a genuine love of Cal Poly and the College of Science and Mathematics,” Enz Finken said. “He credits his time as an undergraduate at Cal Poly as one of the most influential factors for his career path.

“His energy and excitement will help move the college to the next level, and his rich history of teaching, research and student engagement combined with his most recent experiences as the dean of research and the director of the Center for Coastal Marine Sciences will serve him well in his new role.”

"I am deeply honored,” Wendt said, “to serve as the next dean of Cal Poly's College of Science and Mathematics. I look forward to working tirelessly on behalf of the staff, faculty, and students to achieve our collective vision and goals. For years, the College has been enriching lives through learning and innovation, and I am excited to work collaboratively to grow our impact and national reputation."

Wendt earned master’s and doctorate degrees in biology from Harvard University in 1995 and 1999, respectively. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and served as an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro before returning to Cal Poly.

He served as associate dean of the College of Science and Mathematics from 2011-14 and has served as dean of research since 2013.

In assuming leadership of the college from Bailey, Cal Poly’s longest-serving dean, Wendt will maintain his predecessor’s focus on student success and support of the university’s Learn by Doing approach.

“We are thankful to Phil Bailey for his decades of devotion to Cal Poly’s students, which has positively impacted the lives and careers of so many,” Enz Finken said.