President Michael Ortiz has received the President’s Award from Region VI of NASPA, the leading association for student affairs administrators in higher education. The award is given to a university president who has consistently advanced the quality of student life.
Ortiz, who has served at Cal Poly Pomona for more than a decade, is well known as a student-centered leader who supports students’ academic success and advocates for their involvement in the university. He received nomination letters from several people, including students, alumni, colleagues and administrators from Cal Poly Pomona and other universities.
“His support of Student Affairs and the value he places in our work is abundantly clear with his actions,” Vice President for Student Affairs Doug Freer said. “While many university presidents across California were seriously challenged with cutting student services as they grappled with budget shortfalls, Dr. Ortiz continued to demonstrate great courage in speaking publicly on the value of student services and engagement.”
Chris Osuala, who served as ASI President in 2012-13, praised Ortiz’s “continuous and open communication” with the campus through weekly video messages and the quarterly Pizza with the Presidents event.
On a personal level, Osuala recounted how Ortiz gave him assurance before each Q&A event.
“Every single time I went up there, Dr. Ortiz would offer me words of encouragement and bring humor to the situation to calm my nerves. Although small in nature, these gestures tremendously helped and enabled me to get through the event,” he said.
“Dr. Ortiz is a student-oriented president that truly cares about the needs, learning experiences and professional development of the students of Cal Poly Pomona.”
Ortiz is a member of the Board of Trustees for the BACCHUS and GAMMA Peer Education Network, the Board of Directors for the California Collegiate Athletic Association, the CSU’s Council on Underserved Constituencies, and the HACU Hispanic Serving Institution Task Force. In addition, he and his wife, Betty, are regulars at athletic games and cultural events, performances and other activities at Cal Poly Pomona.
Ortiz was honored at the NASPA Region VI conference in early November in Salt Lake City. Region VI encompasses colleges and universities in three Western states, Australia and parts of Asia.
The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Established in 1918, the organization is composed of 13,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and eight U.S. Territories.