Madonna Inn

Greta Mart/KCBX

[audio of cow mooing, metal clanking, galloping hooves and a lasso swinging through the air]

That’s the sound of a chute gate opening and a steer taking off running. And chasing the steer is a student athlete.

“I go to school at Cuesta College and I rodeo for their rodeo team,” said Will Centoni. “I compete in bull riding, bronc riding, team roping, calf roping, and bull dogging at the college rodeo.”

Flickr member Omar Bárcena

This past weekend, Cal Poly awarded an honorary doctorate degree to San Luis Obispo hotel owner and Central Coast philanthropist Phyllis Madonna.

Madonna has been a resident and business owner in the local community for more than 60 years and is the mother of four Cal Poly alumni.

Best known as the owner of the iconic Madonna Inn, Madonna is also well known for her contributions to the local arts scene, including the San Luis Obispo Symphony, Festival Mosaic, the PAC. She's also a supporter of the local women's shelter.