California State University, Monterey Bay
Eduardo M. Ochoa grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, before moving to Portland, Ore., with his family while in high school. He has earned degrees in physics, nuclear science and economics from Reed College, Columbia University and the New School for Social Research, respectively. He has worked as an engineer, as a faculty member and academic administrator, and as assistant secretary for postsecondary education in the Obama Administration.
In 2012, he brought that wide range of academic, professional and personal experience to the position of president of California State University, Monterey Bay.
Dr. Ochoa attended bilingual schools in Buenos Aires through his sophomore year in high school before immigrating with his family to Portland, Ore. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics, with a minor in philosophy, from Reed College in 1973. Three years later, he finished his master’s at Columbia University in New York in nuclear science and engineering.
He worked for three years as an engineer in New York, then returned to graduate school and received his Ph.D. in economics at the New School for Social Research.
Dr. Ochoa taught at Fresno State University and at California State University, Los Angeles, where he was a full professor and chair of the economics and statistics department.
In 1997, Dr. Ochoa was hired as the dean of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Business Administration, where he served for six years. He then became provost and vice president for academic affairs at Sonoma State University.
In February 2010, President Barack Obama named Dr. Ochoa assistant secretary for postsecondary education. In that post, he served as the secretary’s chief adviser on higher education issues and administered more than 60 programs. Among the notable programs overseen by the ED’s Office of Postsecondary Education are the GearUp and TRIO programs, institutional development programs for minority institutions, teacher development programs, and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.
Since arriving on campus in July 2012, Dr. Ochoa has moved decisively to deal with the challenges facing Cal State Monterey Bay. His emphasis on inclusion and outreach meshes with both the vision statement of the campus and the realities of serving a student body made up of a majority of first-generation students. He has re-focused attention on raising the university’s retention and graduation rates, while stressing the importance of a rigorous educational experience. He led the effort to create a College of Business and to move the new college toward national accreditation.
Dr. Ochoa has established three broad goals for his presidency: establishing excellence in selected fields in response to regional needs; becoming a national leader in the development of new sustainable models of higher education; and developing the university’s catalytic role in regional, cultural and economic development.
Dr. Ochoa’s wife Holly is a historian, writer and editor. The Ochoas have two adult sons, Michael and Eric.