Linfield University has named Gerardo Ochoa as associate vice president of retention and student success. His appointment began July 1.
Ochoa has been director of community relations and special assistant to the president since July 2018, where he has led strategic initiatives and partnerships to increase enrollment and represented the institution on several community-focused boards and councils. Ochoa has been at Linfield since 2003, serving in a variety of financial aid, diversity and community-focused roles.
As associate vice president, Ochoa continues to report to President Miles K. Davis, is responsible for financial aid and student retention, and serves as a member of the President’s Leadership Team.
“More than two-thirds of Linfield’s students are first generation, Pell recipient, transfer students or students of color. Gerardo’s track record of success in addressing unconscious bias in recruitment and hiring, as well as his leadership role in the development of culturally sensitive programming for our LatinX population, make him the perfect person to lead Linfield’s inclusion efforts,” Davis said. “Linfield’s First Generation Scholarship Program and the associated mentoring program have benefited greatly from his guidance. Data indicates that students who have been part of the mentoring program are outperforming those who are not. I expect his contributions to our community will increase in this new role.”
Ochoa has dedicated his career to promoting college affordability, access and graduation. He is involved with a number of volunteer and community organizations, including MENTE, an organization that encourages Latinx males to complete a higher education, and the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, which creates opportunities to support the economic mobility of the Latino community throughout Oregon and SW Washington.
“It is an incredible honor to continue serving Linfield students, particularly students from the “new majority,” to reach their college dreams,” Ochoa said. “I look forward to working with faculty and staff to continue our efforts for students to thrive.”
In addition to being a college administrator, Ochoa is a contributing author and independent consultant of Path to Scholarships, a college readiness curriculum. Since 2006, he has worked with thousands of students from urban and rural high schools, community colleges, private colleges and state universities on college access and affordability. He consults with higher education institutions on the inclusion of Latinx students, best practices to engage and serve undocumented students and teaching strategies that draw on talents and address the needs of first-generation students.
He believes in the power of personal stories to build empathy, create opportunities and influence change. As keynote speaker, his story of perseverance has reached audiences at conferences and universities. His TedX McMinnville speech, “Getting it right; why pronouncing names correctly matters,” has been viewed on YouTube more than 37,000 times and was adapted into an article on ideas.TED.com.
Ochoa is a first-generation college graduate and Latinx immigrant. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in sociology and minor in Latin American history from the University of Oregon and a Master of Education specializing in higher education administration from Harvard University. Ochoa is the proud father of a recent college graduate and lives with his wife and their five-pound yorkie named Mambo.