President J. Michael Ortiz Delivers Inaugural Address at Fall Convocation

President J. Michael Ortiz Delivers Inaugural Address at Fall Convocation
President J. Michael Ortiz applauds the efforts of faculty and staff as he speaks during the 2003 Fall Convocation.
Faculty and staff give a standing ovation to President J. Michael Ortiz's inaugural State of the University address at Fall Convocation.

The campus community gathered together in preparation for a new academic year on Sept. 22 at Fall Conference 2003, lead by Cal Poly Pomona?s new President J. Michael Ortiz.

In his inaugural State of the University address during the annual all-university breakfast and convocation, President Ortiz reflected on the university?s past accomplishments and shared his goals for the new year.

Marking his 53rd day of service as president at Cal Poly Pomona, Ortiz began his address by introducing his wife, Betty, and thanking everyone for a warm welcome to the university. Ortiz said he has spent much of his time thus far as president learning about Cal Poly Pomona?s campus culture, infrastructure and fiscal challenges.

“Many people have asked me about my vision for Cal Poly Pomona,” said Ortiz. “In my view, it would be inappropriate for me to develop this vision devoid of your perspective. We have to chart this course together.

“What I can say is that in working with you to create this vision I will base my actions on these values: I will be honest and open with you. I will seek and respect your opinion. I will be fair in my actions and will demonstrate a concern for your well being,” he said. “I will value the work that you perform on behalf of the university and support it to the best of my abilities. I will never ask you to do more than I am willing to do myself and I will work tirelessly to create a community of trust based on these values.”

The California State University budget and its immediate impact on Cal Poly Pomona were also discussed.

“My first day on the job I had to close enrollment for the Spring Quarter 2004,” Ortiz recalled. “This was not an easy decision, but I felt it was essential that we provide our enrolled students with the best possible education, so I elected to relieve some of the pressure that additional students would bring this academic year.”

Although Cal Poly Pomona has fewer state resources to support its academic mission, the university has not lowered its standards and expectations, said Ortiz.

“We have successfully honored two guiding principles of our budget planning process ? to protect our ability to teach our budgeted FET and avoid layoffs,” he said.

Ortiz emphasized the increased need to explore creative ways to enhance student success, integrate research, scholarship and teaching, support surrounding communities through service learning and raise private dollars.

He also highlighted key projects on campus either recently completed or still in the works, including the University Library renovation/addition, a multilevel parking structure, PeopleSoft, the pedestrian walkway and the Aratani Japanese Garden.

In closing, Ortiz said he is honored to have been chosen as the fifth president of Cal Poly Pomona.

“There is a wonderful legacy of success and achievement here, mostly due to the faculty and staff,” he said. “We are positioned to create the best educational opportunity for our students, and that will always be my focus.”

To read Ortiz's complete speech, click here.

The 2003 George P. Hart Award for Outstanding Faculty Leadership was presented at the convocation to Gary Cretser, sociology professor and chair of the Behavioral Sciences department.

Ed Barnes, associate vice president for Executive Affairs, served as master of ceremonies.

The Service Awards immediately followed the convocation, while the annual President's Reception at the Manor House concluded the day.

This year?s convocation and Service Awards are available for viewing via live video streaming. Produced by Instructional & Information Technology (I⁢), the Webcast can be viewed at Viewing requires use of Microsoft Windows MediaPlayer?, with a free version of the player downloadable at the Web site.

Fall Conference will continue on Tuesday, Sept. 23, with division meetings and department open houses throughout the day. For a complete listing of Fall Conference events, visit