Congratulations to Lee McFarland, who retired last spring after 22 years of teaching in the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) and Mechanical Engineering (ME) Departments. McFarland came to Cal Poly in 1999 after retiring from his first career at 3M. He enrolled in the industrial engineering graduate program and was quickly enlisted as a teaching associate, to teach drafting (now ME 129) and engineering economics (IME 314). He later taught process improvement (IME 223), human factors engineering (IME 319), engineering management (IME 421) and the mechanical engineering three-quarter senior project series (ME 428, 429 and 430).
Jim Widmann, ME Department Chair notes: “Lee’s industry experience along with his commitment to the success of his students allowed him to make a remarkable contribution to the education of 1000’s of engineering students. His wisdom and presence in the Mechanical Engineering Department will be greatly missed.” Lee has really had a special place in his heart for educating the next generation of engineers. His career design experience from a company famous for making ingenious discoveries has always helped him inspire and energize student innovation at Cal Poly.”
McFarland says advising senior projects has been a highlight of his time at Cal Poly and the Advent Calendar project, sponsored by the Cambria Pines Lodge stands out as the most fun. For this, he advised a team of five ambitious engineers, tasked with creating a calendar “that looked like a German village.” The finished calendar is an impressive 14 feet tall and 20 feet long and includes 25 separately engineered dioramas, with music and moving parts. It is now a permanent attraction at the annual Cambria Christmas Market.
McFarland says his favorite part of the job has been the students, many of whom have stayed in contact with him over the years. Outside of Cal Poly, McFarland has devoted decades of service to teaching and helping students in his hometown of Cambria. As he transitions into retirement, he plans to continue his work as a trustee of the Coast Union School District Board and teach religious education to adults at his church. McFarland is also looking forward to spending more time with Linda, his wife of 55 years, his three sons, and five grandkids.