CELEBRATING 75 YEARS
For 75 years, Cal Poly students have designed, built, and decorated award-winning Rose Parade floats for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade, which is televised in multiple languages to millions of viewers around the world. The journey began in 1949 when student Don Miller spearheaded the construction of the first float in just 90 days.
Today, this unique, learn-by-doing program is one of the finest examples of Cal Poly Pomona’s Polytechnic Advantage, one that highlights the creativity, versatility, and the skills of our students.
Today, building a float is a year-round process. Artists across two campus begin mocking up design submissions for each year’s float before the last year’s float is fully dismantled. Once a design is chosen, our students get right to work on turning the winning artist’s imagination into reality by conceptualizing the internal structures, mechanisms, and machinery needed to bring the design to life. They spend countless hours throughout the fall semester welding steel, forming custom parts, programming complex sequences of sound and animation, and transforming steel skeletons into lifelike creatures and scenes. In the final week of December, they lead hundreds of volunteer community members in processing roses, seeds, bark and other organic material to decorate every square inch of the float’s surface.
There is no other hands-on experience like designing, building, decorating and piloting a Rose Float. So it’s no wonder our alumni have gone on to become principal engineers, entertainment designers, project managers, and community organizers.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE
Gifts to the Excellence fund allow Rose Float students to stay flexible with the various and often unexpected challenges and developments that often come along with building a competitive float against an immovable deadline. In addition to providing for immediate needs, your gift also allows the program to continue improving each year through permanent improvements to the float’s structure and the tools students use to build and decorate it. The Excellence fund is also the program’s means to continuously improve its capabilities through permanent upgrades to the float’s fixtures and the tools at the students’ disposal.