Marco Ramirez has been a part-time professor of public administration at the University of La Verne since January 2012.
But while new to the faculty here, he is no stranger to the University, where he earned his degree in public administration through the CAPA program in 2008.
It was long before ULV that Ramirez began devoting his life to service and giving back.
Originally from Mexico, Ramirez remembers when he was 4 and his father uprooted his family of four for better job opportunities.
“When we first moved here, … we lived in my uncle’s garage, and about two years later my parents divorced,” he said. “We lived everywhere. I went to almost every school in Pomona.”
Ramirez graduated from Chaffey High School in 1992 and then joined the Marine reserves in 1994.
“When I joined the Marines, it changed my outlook… I felt like I needed a challenge (to) see if I could do it,” he said.
After eight years in the Marines, Ramirez became interested law enforcement and joined the Los Angeles Police Department.
He worked in South Los Angeles and Hollywood, including with the Narcotics unit.
Ramirez left the police department in 2000 to return to school.
After leaving the police department Ramirez decided to return to school.
“I didn’t realize the value of an education until after I left the department because then I saw how competitive the (job) market was. It didn’t matter what the degree was in as long as you had something, so that was a disadvantage, and at first I thought if I ever go back to work I always have the Military and (LAPD) but that wasn’t the case.”
While studying at Mt. San Antonio College, Ramirez went to work for a nonprofit homeless shelter in Pomona. He started as a case manager and quickly rose to the director of housing.
“The best (and) probably the hardest job I have ever done, … we worked with homeless women with children. That is when I really started to find myself, I got to see people at their lowest point and I also got to see people at their highest points, after they would graduate our program,” Ramirez said.
“I saw in him (as a student) committed and caring about the greater framework of … our world today.” said Linda De Long, assistant professor of organizational leadership. “He leads with his heart.”
Ramirez continued his education by earning his master’s degree, and he is working on his doctorate at the University of Southern California.
“I value education and I feel like my values are guiding me … I like teaching because I think it opens doors, and you get to network with people that can contribute to your learning.” Ramirez said.
Ramirez currently teaches two classes at the University of La Verne and also continues his work with non-profit organizations.
Ramirez has his classrooms set up where all his students sit in a circle. Students talk with one another, break out of their shell and hold themselves accountable, Ramirez said.
“He is a very student oriented teacher, gets students moved in his class,” said Dylan Keith, senior public administration major.
“I feel like I can connect with student,” Ramirez said. “La Verne and USC have a special place in my heart.”
Michelle Nunez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.