John Ramirez - An admirable Latino and exceptional leader

In Partnership with ALPFA


By: Latino Leaders Staff


John Ramirez MBA, MS/AJS-GHS, USA CSM is a retired US Army Command Sergeant Major with over 27 years of military service. During his distinguished 27-year military career, Command Sergeant Major (Retired) Ramirez held numerous leadership positions. In 2004, John was selected as one of the “Top Hispanic Leaders” in the Army.

He is a graduate from the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy and recipient of the Sergeant Major of the Army William Bainbridge Ethics Award.

John has been a member of the University of Phoenix for over 10 years. He is currently the Dean of Operations for the School of Advanced Studies. He is a life-long learner and has a passion for education. John earned his Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science and Administration of Justice and Security with a concentration in Global and Homeland Security.

John is a member of numerous groups including the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE), American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS), Council of Colleges and Military Educators (CCME), American Legion, Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AZHCC), and the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA). He is the ALPFA’s 2016 Veteran of the Year.

Can you tell us about your background?

I was born and raised in the housing projects and Latino neighborhoods of Phoenix, Arizona. After my first semester in college and as soon as I turned 17, I made the decision to enlist in the Army. My decision to serve was a desire to follow in the footsteps of the proud Latino men in my family and my community who had served in the military. I felt compelled to follow their example.

I proudly served my country for over 27 years. I served in a number of positions from team leader to Brigade Command Sergeant Major and assigned to locations across the globe. I was able to obtain the highest enlisted rank and had the privilege to lead, influence, and support thousands of soldiers and their families.

In November 2004, I retired and began my employment with University of Phoenix. I have held numerous positions, from Senior Operations Manager to Vice President of External Military Relations. I am currently the Dean of Operations for the School of Advanced Studies and am responsible for the daily operations of our Doctoral programs.

I have been married to my wife, Sonya, for almost 39 years and together we are actively involved in a number of organizations that promote the value of education, economic development, empowerment, and service to country, specifically focused on military veterans and our Latino community.


At ALPFA’s national convention you talked about “Service to Country.” Can you share your story and the impact Latinos have made in serving our nation?

I am the grandson, son, and father of a soldier; I am a soldier. The four generations of my family who have served represent but a small fraction of the hundreds of thousands of Latinos who have served in our Armed Forces over the past 240 years, from the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The journey of these proud Latinos represents the concepts and the ideas of citizenship and service to the nation forged in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Their service embodies the character of public service and these soldiers’ willingness to give their lives in defense of our country.

I believe it is important that we never forget the sacrifices of Latinos who served our country and oftentimes never received the recognition or gratitude they earned or deserved. We must never forget that etched on the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery are thousands of the fallen warriors with Spanish surnames or that nearly 25 percent of names on the walls of the Vietnam Memorial are engraved with names of Latinos who served during a time when Latinos made up less than5 percent of the United States population. Nor should we forget that 61 Latinos have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

I believe that as members of the Latino community, we can honor them by fulfilling our responsibility in service of our country. Service to country is not limited to or the sole responsibility of those in uniform. Each of us shares the responsibility to do our part to better our country, our communities, our organizations, our families, and ourselves. I cannot stress enough the value and honor that comes from giving our time, energy, and support in service of our community and country, or the pride that comes with it.


Why did you get involved with ALPFA/Impact of ALPFA in your life/the life of others?

I think we are at a critical juncture in American history. There are over 60 million Latinos in the United States and Puerto Rico, and in 2015, the Latino purchasing power nationwide was an estimated $1.5 trillion. More importantly, Latinos are the largest minority group on U.S. college campuses. I believe we have the responsibility to do our part to ensure we have a voice and recognize the potential that Latinos have to shape our nation as future business, political, and community leaders.

I believe ALPFA is in the position to have a profound and lasting impact on the future of our great country. Our mission states it clearly: “To empower and develop Latino men and women as leaders of character for the nation, in every sector of the global economy.” I also believe that woven throughout the fabric of our organization are exceptional leaders like our Phoenix Chapter President, Alain Monroy, who also served in the Armed Forces as a captain in the Army. He, like his peers in ALPFA chapters across the country, are the nation’s finest leaders, and when combined with the support of great industry partners, are focused on doing their best for our Latino youth, our communities, and our country. For me, my involvement in ALPFA is a call to action. I am proud to be an ALPFA ambassador and will be a formidable ALPFA role model and advocate.