Cal Poly’s ‘Digital Guru,’ Professor Mike Blum, RetiresJune 14, 2011
Blum brought the Graphic Communication Department into the digital age immediately upon his arrival, according to Department Head Harvey Levenson. “One day shortly after Mike’s arrival, 25 Apple Macintosh Plus computers and accompanying LaserWriters of the desktop publishing revolution were delivered—all donated through Mike’s efforts,” Levenson said. “Since then he has orchestrated the acquisition of every successive generation of Apple computers. We now have 60 workstations.”
Blum also obtained donations of the industry-leading software packages and the high-end input and output devices connected to them. One of the first full-color digital prints in the world to be output from an Adobe PostScript program written on an Apple computer resulted from a senior project supervised by Blum.
Over the years, Blum developed and coordinated the program’s concentrations in computers and printing technology, electronic publishing and imaging, and web and digital media. He introduced the graphic communication minor and developed a general education course on web and print publishing. Blum designed the department’s digital printing labs and helped acquire systems from HP, Epson, Xerox and others. He led the department’s entry into digital photography, database systems, variable data printing, web publishing and digital media.
Blum is responsible for the design, layout and high-speed networking of all of the laboratories and administrative offices. As chairman of the department’s Recruitment Committee, he helped recruit some of the most qualified faculty and staff in graphic communication education.
“Mike’s contribution to graphic communication education and industry has been monumental, and he will be terribly missed. You don’t replace a Mike Blum,” Levenson said.
Blum said, “The Graphic Communication Department has been a great place to spend the last three decades. The program has remained on the cutting edge of our industry, consistently attracting top-notch students.”
To continue Blum’s legacy, the Mike Blum Graphic Communication Endowment has been established to support an annual scholarship to advance faculty and staff development and to support laboratory development. Contributions can be made to the Mike Blum Graphic Communication Endowment, Graphic Communication Department, Cal Poly, 1 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407.