Mary Ontiveros, Vice President of Diversity

Mary Ontiveros, who started her career at CSU as a student in 1969, received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the university, while serving as an active member of ASCSU.

Starting her professional career in 1974 with CSU, Ontiveros served in a multitude of roles, including Research Associate, Director of the Chicano Studies Office, Executive Director of Admissions, Director of El Centro, before her ascension to VP for Diversity.

Ontiveros centered her efforts around equity, justice, and diversity for the CSU community, actively fighting institutional racism and empowering the student body. In 45 years, Ontiveros did the work of multiple lifetimes. ACSU is declaring December 31 as Mary Ontiveros Day, out of supreme gratitude for her impact and cultural presence at CSU.  Click on the buttons below to watch the Senate Session where ASCSU ratified the bill to honor Ontiveros, or read the resolution.

Read on to hear stories from peers, friends, and associates of Ontiveros.  

Stories from peers, CSU alumni, and friends of Mary Ontiveros

“Mary and I started as freshmen in the fall of 1969 at CSU and met through ASCSU.  We both were active in student government and organizations and interacted often.  I came from a single mother family and had to work many jobs to put myself through college and learned that Mary did too.  She was one of six children from a close Pueblo family and she too had to scramble and work many jobs to keep herself in school.  Often on school holidays, she had to skip going home to stay on campus and keep earning money to keep herself in school. While she missed seeing her family she stayed committed to earning and staying in school.

Mary instructed me that she preferred being called Chicana. This began my journey of understanding cultural diversity and opening myself up to different perspectives and peoples.

We both were involved in student government politics at a tumultuous time; demonstrations over race, the Vietnam war, and the shocking burning of Old Main.  Our student government tried to bridge the gap between traditions and open doors for dialogue and diversity and Mary remained calmly in the center of these times.

I remember her most fondly and have always carried to heart her lessons about keeping doors open.”

-Victoria Sigler, CSU Graduate (1973), judge of the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court. She was the first openly gay circuit judge in Florida, evidence of Ontiveros early implementation of open-minded thinking in her peers.

Do you have memories, stories, or lessons that you’ve experienced on behalf of Mary Ontiveros? Feel free to contact with your input!