On Sept. 26, Mihaylo College of Business will welcome Joe Cervantes as the Executive Council’s new president.
Cervantes is a long-standing council member, having joined in 2007. His interest was originally sparked when his daughter, Arianna, became a Titan herself thanks to a full-ride softball scholarship.
But even after his daughter graduated, Cervantes remained deeply involved in Cal State Fullerton, particularly Mihaylo College.
“I think that the business school is probably one of the best kept secrets in Orange County,” says Cervantes. “What I mean by that is a lot of people don’t realize how large the school is and the number of students that attend the business school.”
Cervantes adds that many of his friends and business associates rely on the students at Mihaylo.
“What I’m finding is that a lot of these people that I work with, indirectly and directly, actually rely on the students at Cal State Fullerton to recruit them and employ them.”
Imagine— the ability to ensure that at least a few of the best and brightest will have a job after graduation. It’s just one more reason why Cervantes continues his participation with the Executive Council to guarantee that Mihaylo’s students get the best education experience possible.
For those who don’t know, one of the roles of the Executive Council is to ensure that Mihaylo College and its students are able to achieve academic excellence and given recognition within the business community.
Additionally, the Executive Council provides mentorship, networking and most importantly, fundraising events, such as the Mihaylo Golf Classic, which then provide scholarships and other educational materials for business honors students.
“That has been a real satisfaction that we’re able to provide scholarship money and be able to help these students,” says Cervantes. “For me, it’s important that we help these students in any way we can.”
The leadership role that he takes on this month is nothing new for Cervantes. He has worked at R.D. Olson Construction for 28 years, and he is currently senior executive vice president of operations.
With these years of experience behind him, Cervantes looks to the future of the Executive Council with excitement and a list of things to accomplish.
One thing he’s already working on is diversifying the council. Currently, the council has more male members, which is one of the things he hopes to change.
He also hopes to boost the council’s membership, especially for alumni. This will increase the networking, mentoring and academic capacity for the students at Mihaylo.
And all these things that he is focusing on, like fundraising and mentoring, are the things that the Executive Council was essentially created to do. Cervantes is trying to reach out to some of the original founders and fully understand their vision and what they were trying to accomplish.
Cervantes also sought Dean Anil Puri’s vision for what the council would provide, and along with that is establishing a new agenda in addition to the original tasks laid out.
“I think that we need to get people to understand what we have here,” he says. “We’ve got a tremendous gem that is feeding a lot of companies, and in some cases, that includes Fortune 500 companies here in our own backyard.”