Four Finalists Named for Cal Poly Pomona Presidency

(February 13, 2003) -- Four candidates, all with ties to the California State University, today were named as finalists for the presidency of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Current President Bob Suzuki is retiring in July.

The four, and the dates they will visit the campus, are:

  • Susan Hackwood, executive director of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) and professor of electrical engineering at the University of California, Riverside -- Monday, February 24.
  • Dennis L. Hefner, president of the State University of New York, College at Fredonia -- Wednesday, February 26.
  • J. Michael Ortiz, provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University, Fresno -- Thursday, February 27.
  • Ephraim P. Smith, vice president for academic affairs at California State University, Fullerton -- Tuesday, February 25.
Each of the four will spend a day on the campus, meeting faculty, staff, students and the community. There will be open forums for the campus community each day at 1 p.m. for staff; at 2 p.m. for students; and at 3 p.m. for faculty. An open reception will take place at 5 p.m. each day. (There also will be media access daily at 11:00 a.m.)

"These are four outstanding individuals, each of whom would be a remarkable president for Cal Poly Pomona," said search committee chair and Trustee Anthony Vitti. "In this time of state budgetary cutbacks, we need a strong, gifted, energetic leader to move the campus forward, and any of these candidates could confront the challenges and succeed." The new president is expected to be named the week of March 10 when the CSU Board of Trustees meets March 11-12 at the Fullerton campus. The new leader would assume the presidency in July after the retirement of current President Suzuki, who has led the campus for the past 12 years.

Hackwood has been at CCST since 1995. It is a not-for-profit corporation sponsored by academic institutions in the state, including the California State University. It advises the state on science and technology issues.

She received her Ph.D. in solid state ionics from DeMontfort University, the United Kingdom, where she also received a bachelor's degree in combined science. She has held private and academic positions, including as a department head at AT&T Bell Labs; professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara, where she was founder and director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Robotic Systems in Microelectronics. She was the founding dean of the Bourns College of Engineering at UC Riverside.

Hefner has been president at SUNY Fredonia since 1996. All of his degrees are in economics: his Ph.D. and master's degree are from Washington State University, and his bachelor's degree is from California State University, Chico.

Prior to going to SUNY Fredonia, he served as the senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. He also was an administrator at CSU Monterey Bay; vice president for academic affairs at CSU San Bernardino; and a faculty member and administrator at CSU Chico.

Ortiz has been at Fresno State since 1996 as a faculty member and administrator. His Ph.D. is in early childhood special education from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His master's is in special education from the University of New Mexico, where he also received a bachelor's degree in English, secondary education and coaching.

Prior to Fresno, he held academic and administrative positions at the University of Southern Colorado and Appalachian State University. He also was a special education teacher in Albuquerque, NM.

Smith has been at CSU Fullerton since 1990. His degrees are all in accounting. His Ph.D. is from the University of Illinois, his master's degree is from the University of Massachusetts and his bachelor's degree is from Providence College.

Prior to becoming the vice president at Fullerton, he served as the university's dean of the School of Business and Finance. He also was a dean at Cleveland State University and Shippensburg State College, and was a department chair and faculty member at the University of Rhode Island.

The search for a new president began in November 2002. The search committee is composed of three trustees plus the board chair, CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed, a CSU president, Pomona faculty, staff and student representatives and a community person.

A four-year university with a 1,438-acre campus that once was the winter ranch of cereal magnate W.K. Kellogg, Cal Poly Pomona both mirrors and benefits from the region's diversity. As part of the CSU system, the university's 2,600 faculty and staff serve nearly 20,000 students. Offering degrees in bachelor's, master's and certificate programs, the university's mission is to advance learning and knowledge by linking theory and practice. Its "learn by doing" polytechnic philosophy is a major reason why Cal Poly Pomona graduates are among the most sought-after professionals in today's marketplace.

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, nearly 407,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded about 2 million degrees. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See

For biographical information on the finalists, go to here.

Contact: Colleen Bentley-Adler, (562) 951-4801,

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Last Updated: 13, February 2003

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