On Sept. 17, 2014, Cal Poly Pomona announced that Dr. Soraya M. Coley will be the new university president, starting January 2015. After serving for 12 years, current university President, Dr. J. Michael Ortiz will be retiring.
With an extensive background of social work and over 30 years of experience working in higher education, Coley will be the university’s sixth president, and the first woman to hold this role. Prior to her position at CPP, Coley was the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB).
Staying true to the CPP motto, Coley says that her style of leadership encompasses a “learn by doing” philosophy and plans to make the campus more accessible and opportunistic for current and prospective students.
“We must have the resources to provide the education we want,” said Coley. “I am committed to working to make sure we build a pipeline for demographical areas as one of the factors.”
“I tend to be an engaged leader,” said Coley. “I ask questions even when I’m in a restaurant. And if someone has not finished college, I ask them have they thought about finishing college.”
As the first woman to hold this position on campus, she tends to break down barriers that women and minority students may face while they attend college.
“We want to break down barriers in society for individual achievement of their potential,” said Coley. “I don’t want to see students use the word ‘can’t.”