UST Names Arthur Ortiz as Chief S.P.A.C.E. Officer
The University of St. Thomas-Houston names longtime Admissions Officer Arthur Ortiz as Chief Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement Officer (SPACE). Ortiz takes on this new position to support initiatives in UST’s recently launched “Greater Things 2030 Strategic Vision.” UST President Richard Ludwick, a visionary and innovator in Catholic higher education, appointed Ortiz to this role saying, “I am tapping the best talent to lead the important work of new strategic partnerships.”
“Greater Things is a guide for much of my new role,” Ortiz said. “The Vision calls for UST to serve as a model for Catholic education and be a premiere place that seeks strategic partnerships locally, nationally and globally. Those three key areas will play a large part in establishing strategic partnerships.”
Ortiz Prepared for this Role
Ortiz, who loves space travel, astronauts and the Dallas Cowboys, jokes that he is now the “Chief Space Officer at UST.” His UST career began in 1999 as a freshman admissions counselor. He has held many positions in Admissions, including his previous role as vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Engagement.
“This new role is the logical next step for me, and it comes at the right time for the University,” Ortiz said. “Serving as a Vice President in three areas: Enrollment, Marketing and Student Engagement (Students Affairs) has given me a unique perspective. As UST branches out in new ways, I will use this perspective and deep knowledge of St. Thomas to create new enrollment pathways and other partnerships. In many regards, this role is an extension and expansion of all my previous roles.”
Innovative Partnerships that Further Modernize Higher Education
Ortiz sees no limits to the partnerships he will pursue, including Catholic and community organizations, businesses and corporations, school districts, Catholic dioceses, city/state/local governments, workforces, and up-skilling (learning in-demand job skills) partnerships like UST’s current Cisco Networking Academy pilot program with foster care youth who are aging out of the system at 18.
Ortiz is already working on dual-agreements with the Van Houston Academy, the only private Vietnamese school in Houston and Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Tyler, Texas.
Space Force ROTC
One of his big dreams is to work with UST’s Veterans Success Center to establish a Space Force ROTC program on a college campus in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force. Space operations officers oversee space surveillance, space lift, space warning and satellite command and control. They develop future plans for systems, facilities and personnel in order to defend our nation. UST has a Global Cybersecurity Program which has potential to pair well with U.S. Space Force needs.
“There is a lot of room to create and build,” he said. “Ortiz references the Blue Ocean Strategy book written by Renee Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim. Blue Ocean Shift is about creating new market space and making the competition irrelevant. For Ortiz, the strategy is a roadmap that moves him.
Run Arthur Run
In his free time, Ortiz trains for other areas to conquer, including maybe running a mountain or desert ultramarathon to test his limits. “There is just something about the scene in the movie Forrest Gump where Forrest is running outside Monument Valley, Arizona. It is just him, and a few dozen groupies, running through the beautiful desert. Fifty to one-hundred miles sounds extreme to most, but I want the mental and physical challenge because the journey is what it is all about,” he said. “My biggest dream is to one day journey into space and look back on God’s creation, the planet Earth, from space. But that one will require civilian travel prices to drop dramatically!”