Dominic Ortega, Diversity in BusinessPosted on: June 30, 2009
"I need strong people out there to hire"
When he came to campus in 1974, Dominic Ortega, for the first time, met students from all over the world. The UA was 102 miles and a world away from tiny Globe, Arizona, where he’d grown up.
On campus, he connected with people from different cultures and learned about their customs and perspectives on current events. Plus, he learned new languages, including Spanish and a little bit of Arabic.
That summer sparked a lifelong recognition that understanding your fellow human beings helps you better understand yourself, that sharing your ideas but also listening to and trying to understand others helps you think of new possibilities and learn how to engage in constructive dialogue with others.
These realizations go beyond “feel good words” and translate to practical skills. “I’m a business person,” Dominic says, “In order to operate in a world economy, you have to be open to an understanding of it. This makes for a stronger workforce, a stronger tax base, stronger communities. When we have that understanding, we all win.”
Dominic Ortega is past president of the UA Hispanic Alumni Club, which drives a 90% graduation rate among UA Latino students who participate in the Alumni Club’s scholarship programs - more than double the 44% national average reported by the U.S. Department of Education.