Campus: Cal Poly Pomona -- July 1, 2005

Cal Poly Pomona President Selected for KCET and Union Bank's Local Hero of the Year Award

Cal Poly Pomona President Michael Ortiz will be honored at the eighth annual Local Hero of the Year awards presented by Union Bank of California and KCET, the local PBS affiliate, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The award is presented to individuals who have made great contributions to improve the community. Considered a national expert on education, Dr. Ortiz will receive the award for his contributions to higher education, including his leadership of Cal Poly Pomona. The award will be presented to him and four other winners on Sept. 14 at a reception at KCET studios in Los Angeles.

Union Bank of California launched the Local Hero of the Year Awards in 1995 as a statewide initiative to recognize the contributions of the unsung heroes in the African-American, Asian/Pacific-Islander and Latino communities. The awards are presented during a ceremony at the PBS-affiliate stations to kickoff the celebrations for each respective heritage month. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in September.

In addition to the awards ceremony, short television segments about each of the winners are shown during the ceremony and broadcast on the PBS-affiliate stations throughout the month in conjunction with special heritage month programming.

Dr. Ortiz became Cal Poly Pomona's fifth president on Aug. 1, 2003. Previously, he served for six years as provost and vice president of academic affairs at California State University, Fresno, which he joined in 1996 as associate provost and professor of special education.

Dr. Ortiz's career in higher education began in 1972 at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, where he was a full-time faculty member. He became professor of special education in the department of language, reading and exceptionalities in 1981, and was quickly promoted to department chair from 1982 to 1985, and director of the Office of Extension Instruction from 1985 to 1990. He then took the post of dean of continuing education and director of summer school at the University of Southern Colorado for three years before he was named associate provost and interim provost.

Ortiz earned his baccalaureate and master's degrees in 1970 and 1971, respectively, at the University of New Mexico. After earning his Ph.D. in early childhood special education at the University of North Carolina in 1981, he did postdoctoral work at Harvard University. A national expert on education, Ortiz was a special adviser to the President's Committee on Mental Retardation in 1974. He serves as a consultant for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and recently completed a term on the board of directors of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.

Ortiz is incoming chair of the American Association for Higher Education's board of directors for 2005-2006. He has served on museum and foundation boards and has been involved in numerous committees for public schools in all of his previous assignments. He has also served as president of the Latino Chamber of Commerce in Pueblo, Colo.

Cal Poly: Uyen Mai, (909) 869-5331, Union Bank: Alicia Romero, (213) 236-5329

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