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President's Biography


President, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona


Dr. J. Michael Ortiz has served as president of Cal Poly Pomona since 2003. Under his leadership, the university has emphasized key issues, such as expanding student success programs, building support for timely graduation, commiting to environmental sustainability, and increasing access for underrepresented students. He also launched the university's $150 million Campaign for Cal Poly Pomona, which brought in a record $42 million challenge grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, breaking a CSU record.

He is a well-known expert in early childhood education, having received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In addition to his duties as University President, Dr. Ortiz is also involved in numerous leadership roles off campus, such as serving on the Boards of the Los Angeles Country Fair Association and the City of Pomona Youth and Family Master Plan, Pomona Community Foundation and Pomona Valley Boys and Girls Club.

Among other honors, Dr. Ortiz recently received the President’s Award from NASPA and has been named among Latino Leaders magazine’s “Top 25 Latinos in Education.”


Ph.D., early childhood special education, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1981
M.A., special education, University of New Mexico, 1971
B.U.S., English, secondary education and coaching, University of New Mexico, 1970

Professional Background

California State University
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona: President (2003- )
  • California State University, Fresno: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (1999-2003)
  • Interim (1997-99); Associate Provost (1996-97); Professor of Special Education
Colorado State University, Pueblo
  • Interim Provost (1995-96)
  • Associate Provost (1993-95)
  • Dean of Continuing Education (1990-93)
  • Professor of Special Education
Appalachian State University
  • Director, Office of Extension Instruction and Professor of Language, Reading and Exceptionalities (1985-90);
  • Department Chair and Professor, Graduate Faculty (1983-85);
  • Interim Department Chair and Professor, Graduate Faculty (1982-83)
  • Professor, Graduate Faculty, Department of Special Education (1981-82)
  • Associate Professor (1976-81), Assistant Professor (1972-75)

Professional Leadership Activities

  • American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Committee on Economic and Workforce Development
  • AASCU Millennium Leadership Initiative Executive Steering Committee
  • AASCU Task Force on Sustainability
  • Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence
  • American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment Leadership Circle
  • Aspen Institute Commission on No Child Left Behind
  • BACCHUS and GAMMA Peer Education Network Board of Trustees
  • California Collegiate Athletic Association - Presidents/Chancellors Group, Board of Directors
  • CSU Agricultural Research Initiative Board of Governors, Immediate Past Chair
  • CSU Presidents' Council on Underserved Constituencies, Co-chair
  • California Campus Compact, Executive Board of Directors
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) - Governing Board, Member
  • HACU/USDA Leadership Group, Co-Chair
  • Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, Member
  • The Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs, Member
  • North Central Association, Consultant Evaluator
  • WASC Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Program Evaluator
  • USDA/HSI Collaborative Advisory Board

Professional Membership

  • American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE)
  • American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE)
  • American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
  • American Association of University Administrators (AAUA)
  • Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU)
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)

Community Service

  • Inland Empire Education Council, Member
  • San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership, Advisory Committee Member
  • Los Angeles County Fair Association, Board of Directors, Chair
  • Executive Advocacy Group Member, City of Pomona Youth and Family Master Plan
  • Secretary, Pomona Community Foundation
  • Bright Prospect, Board Member
  • Pomona Valley Boys and Girls Club Advisory Board, Member


  • President’s Award of Excellence from HACU in recognition of outstanding service to Hispanics and higher education success.
  • 2014 Center for Community Engagement’s Legacy of Service Award
  • 2014 Latino Professionals Alumni Chapter Legacy Award
  • 2014 University of North Carolina’s Outstanding Latina/o Alumni Award
  • 2013 President’s Award from NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) for advancing the quality of student life on campus
  • 2013 Pomona Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award
  • 2012 Education Award from the San Gabriel Valley Civic Alliance
  • 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Award by the Corporation for National and Community Service
  • 2011 Alfredo G. de los Santos Jr. Distinguished Leadership in Higher Education Award presented by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education
  • 2010 Exceptional Leader Award as Pomona's Exceptional Community Member presented by Abstract Minds
  • 2009 Service to the Community Award presented by Hermanos Unidos
  • 2008 Nopal Award for leadership presented by the Raices Alumni Association
  • 2008 Selected by Latino Leaders magazine as one of the "Top 25 Latinos in Education"
  • 2007 Inaugural HENAAC Vanguard Award honoring individuals who are actively involved in programs that recruit and prepare more Hispanic professionals in the STEM fields
  • 2007 San Gabriel Valley Award for Innovation presented by the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership
  • 2006 Inland Empire Hispanic Image "Influential Latino Award" for providing social and educational opportunities throughout the Hispanic community presented by Hispanic Lifestyle
  • 2005 KCET "Local Hero Award" sponsored by Union Bank and KCET Public Broadcasting for outstanding contributions in education
  • 2005 Golden Hands Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to the community presented by the Boys and Girls Club of Pomona Valley
  • Recognized as one of Hispanic Business magazine's "100 Most Influential Hispanics" for 2005

Selected Publications

"The Educational Alliance of Pueblo" in A Collection of Papers on Self-Study and Institutional Improvement, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, Chicago, IL, 1995.

"Cultural Pluralism in the Delivery of Services to High Risk Minority Children," in An Ecological Model of Services to Inner City Minority Handicapped Infants, V. Weinstein (Ed.), Charles R. Drew Postgraduate Medical School Press, Los Angeles, CA 1982

With Lee S. Cross, Janet S. Mears, Marilyn J. Swem, Ralph D. Conn, "A Home-based Precision Teaching Model for Preschool Handicapped Children and Their Siblings in Rural Appalachia," University of South Carolina Press, 1981

With Ralph D. Conn, "I Can/Will Do It" (Early Education for Handicapped Children), Focus on Mainstreaming, Nov. 1977, #3

Dr. Ortiz has also made numerous presentations in a range of fields including professional development, academic assessment, learning styles, the educational use of technology, and teaching handicapped children. He has served as a special advisor to the President's Commission on Mental Retardation.

Update: October 2011