Martin Ortiz Endowed Scholarship continues to support Latinx students

May 23, 2024

Poet’s Wall features many figures important to Whittier College, including Martin Ortiz ’48. | Whittier CollegeMartin Ortiz ’48 made a difference for generations of Poets.

From his 40-plus years of service to the College to providing the inspiration behind Ortiz Programs like the Día de los Muertos and Tardeada celebrations to the mural on the east side of Villalobos Hall featuring his likeness, Ortiz’s legacy has had a deep and lasting impact at Whittier College.

Perla Hernandez Trumkul '96 was a first-generation college student who credits her fulfilling college experience to Ortiz’s mentorship. He helped her family navigate the application process, eased their anxiety, and did everything in his power to act as a bridge for students transitioning into adulthood. The pair remained close until Ortiz’s death in 2009. 

Perla Hernandez Trumkul '96, from left, actor and keynote speaker Edward James Olmos, and Martin Ortiz ’48 pose at Whittier College Commencement. | Courtesy Perla Hernandez Trumkul“He provided a safe space for a Mexican-American kid, for an immigrant kid, to learn about being a college student,” Hernandez Trumkul said.

Now the district chief of staff for Rep. Grace Napolitano, Hernandez Trumkul recalled telling him after graduation that she would find her place, speak her truth, and help people.

“And that's exactly what I aim to do, and I've been doing it for years,” said Hernandez Trumkul. “It’s because of people like him.”

Ortiz would have been 105 this year. His legacy will continue to thrive thanks to a generous gift from the estate of his late wife, Linda Brooks Ortiz. The money will fund Martin Ortiz Endowed Scholarship, established in 1996 to provide educational opportunities for up to three high-achieving Latinx students each year with a GPA of 3.5 or above.

Martin Ortiz ’48 | Courtesy photo“Whittier College is a Hispanic-serving institution, so for it to be so generously funded makes such a big difference to our students and to what we value,” said Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Kay Sanders. “It’s like manna from heaven.”

The college is incredibly thankful to the Ortiz family and all those who have supported and built upon Martin Ortiz's legacy. 

To give to the Ortiz Programs, click here.