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Cal Poly community mourns loss of student after tragic accident this weekend

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly community received tragic news Monday as mechanical engineering student Kenneth Taylor passed away Saturday after an accident on his way to Big Sur. ]

Taylor, 21, was hiking along Salmon Creek and Highway 1 on Saturday when the San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office (SLOSO) Search and Rescue team (SLO S&R) received a call for assistance.

According to the SLO S&R unit, deputies located the deceased Taylor along the trail in the water at the base of a waterfall on Salmon Creek Trail without foul play suspected.

SLO S&R aided the Monterey County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) in finding Taylor's body due to the closure on Highway 101, explained the SLOSO.

The MCSO transported Taylor's body for forensic investigation and a coroner's exam will take place shortly before returning his body to his family.

Cal Poly University President Jeffery D. Armstrong and Vice President for Student Affairs Keith B. Humphrey shared a joint statement to the campus community Monday afternoon mourning Taylor's passing:

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Cal Poly student Kenneth Taylor’s passing this past weekend. Kenneth, a third-year student majoring in mechanical engineering from Richland, Washington, died Saturday, April 6, after an accident during a trip to Big Sur.  
Kenneth was an outdoor enthusiast: he was a founding member of the Alpine Club, participated in activities with the Surfrider Foundation, and served as a trip leader for ASI Poly Escapes. ASI staff described him as “a person of incredible technical skill and even more incredible kindness, unmatched wittiness, and a passion for adventure that could inspire anyone.” 
The university is in touch with Kenneth’s family and is extending its full support to them and his friends. Our thoughts are with them as they grieve their loss.  
It is never easy to share news like this, and we know that processing this loss can be difficult for members of our community. Please know that we care about your well-being and strongly encourage you to utilize the following resources below if you need additional support.   

Jeffery D. Armstrong and Keith B. Humphrey

The university is offering both students and campus employees assistance at this time with counseling services available to all.

Student counseling can be scheduled via phone at 805-756-2511 or through email at

The Dean of Students Office is also available to students who may need it via phone at 805-756-0327 or via email at

The Crisis Lifeline for those who may need immediate assistance can be reached via phone at 805-756-2511.

The Employee Assistance Program is open to campus employees and their families daily via phone for 24 hours a day at 800-367-7474.

Article Topic Follows: San Luis Obispo County
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
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Caleb Nguyen


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