Ortiz Looks Forward in Convocation Speech

Ortiz Looks Forward in Convocation Speech
President Michael Ortiz gives the annual State of the University address.
Faculty and staff attend the annual kick-off event to the new academic year.

Entering its 70th year this fall, Cal Poly Pomona hosted the annual Fall Conference Convocation Sept. 22 for faculty and staff to celebrate the university's rich history and look forward to the new academic year.

During the State of the University address, President Michael Ortiz recounted the university's early years and its growth into a diverse and dynamic campus. He also recognized new faces, congratulated individuals for their leadership and achievements, and highlighted some campus initiatives and key projects.

“In these 70 short years, we have evolved independently into one of the most important universities in California,” Ortiz said. “From the original 110 young men, we now have a highly diverse student population approaching 21,000.”

Ortiz introduced two alums from the Voorhis campus, Kenny Holmes and Bill DuBois, who were part of the original group of students. He also introduced Dr. Marten denBoer, the new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

During the address, Ortiz announced the start of a comprehensive fundraising campaign. Because public education is influenced by the economy and unpredictable nature of California's state budget, the university is often asked to “do more with less,” he said.

“The top public universities require external support to achieve greatness — and we are no different,” he said. “We can continue to struggle with less and less every year and blame our state leadership. Or we can do something about it and reduce our dependence on the California economy and the politics of the legislature.”

Students and faculty should expect high-caliber laboratories and instructional spaces, dozens of endowed positions, scholarships and outreach programs like the Downtown Center. Without the campaign, Ortiz said, those things won't happen. He asked the campus community to rally behind the campaign and to help the university to move upward and onward.

In the coming year, the university will continue the process of planning for the future. Through the academic planning process, the campus will examine its core academic mission and chart a course for the next decade.

“The future needs of our academic programs will provide guidance for the planning of facilities, information technology, student support and other university services,” Ortiz said. “The process must ensure that the goals and objects we articulate reflect the mission of the university and the needs of our constituents and stakeholders.”

Next month, the university will host a WASC Capacity and Preparatory Review visit on Oct. 8-10. The review committee will observe and examine whether Cal Poly Pomona operates with clear purposes, high levels of institutional integrity, fiscal responsibility and organizational structures to fulfill its purposes. The team will observe operations, examine documents and talk to people. An open meeting has been scheduled for Oct. 9 during University Hour so the WASC Visiting Team can hear directly from the campus community.

During his address, Ortiz congratulated one of Cal Poly Pomona's most famous students — four-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode, who won silver in skeet shooting at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Ortiz presented the animal and veterinary sciences student with a resolution proclaiming Kim Rhode Day 2008 and with a new competition Perazzi shotgun. For the complete story, click here.

For the full text of the Fall Convocation address, click here.

Steaming video of the Convocation is available online in mid-bandwith and low-bandwith.