Honoring Bob McCorkle

Oct 9, 2015 by

Honoring Bob McCorkle

Bob McCorkle: A Life of Commitment and Achievement
Below is the speech given by Agribusiness Department Chair Jay Noel at the Agribusiness Department Gala Reunion.

In the fall of 1956, Bob McCorkle joined a class of 20 students in the first four-year class of the new Farm Management Department, after being recruited to play football with John Madden. Bob’s passion for agribusiness began before he became a student at Cal Poly. He remembers what it was like growing up on the family ranch at the top of Shirttail Canyon near Pinnacles National Monument: “We milked cows by hand, had no electricity, no phone, and a wood stove for cooking and heat. We had beef cattle and thousands of turkeys in those days, and we cut and raked hay with our work horses.” He remains a partner in the family business which has evolved and diversified over the years and is now located in the Sacramento Valley.
After obtaining his degree at Cal Poly, he attended graduate school at UC Davis, obtaining a master’s degree in agricultural economics in 1962. After graduating he joined the Agricultural Business Management Department as its third faculty member. He is now completing 52 years as a professor at Cal Poly, and will be retiring in June of next year. He has certainly seen his fair share of changes in the Agribusiness Department. There are now 709 students enrolled in the Agribusiness Department and 195 students were admitted this fall quarter.
Bob has always had a passion about the role that an agribusiness education has on alumni success. The list of activities Bob has been involved is extensive. He has developed new courses for the agricultural business management major and taught 28 different courses. He advised the Agriculture Business Management Club in the early days and has been senior adviser of Alpha Zeta professional fraternity for 35 years. He has significant international development experience. He led a team of seven Cal Poly professors to Zambia where Bob was chief farm management officer in the Ministry of Agriculture. His crop and land-use plans are still used throughout Central Africa. When Bob returned to Cal Poly, he served as director of international education. Bob has worked on a variety of research projects in the Middle East, Central America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean and aided in formulating international development strategies for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

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