Adelphi University Commencement 2012


Commencement Address

Carmen M. Ortiz '78
Carmen M. Ortiz '78

Carmen M. Ortiz '78
United States Attorney
District of Massachusetts

Carmen M. Ortiz has dedicated much of her professional career to public service.  Nominated by President Barack Obama as the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Ms. Ortiz was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in November 2009.  She is the first Hispanic and the first woman to represent Massachusetts as United States Attorney.

As the chief federal law enforcement officer in Massachusetts, Ms. Ortiz supervises the prosecution of all federal crimes and the litigation of all civil matters in which the federal government has an interest.  She oversees the work of more than 200 attorneys and support staff in Boston, Worcester, and Springfield.

U.S. Attorney Ortiz’s top priorities include terrorism and national security, civil rights, and violent and white collar crime reduction - encompassing public corruption, financial and healthcare fraud.  In 2010, she implemented the District’s first civil rights initiative, aimed at reinvigorating enforcement efforts of federal civil rights laws and increasing visibility among affected communities through extensive community outreach efforts.  In addition, Ms. Ortiz serves on Attorney General Eric Holder’s Advisory Committee (AGAC).  She is also the Chair of the AGAC’s Healthcare Fraud Working Group and a member of the AGAC’s sub-committee on Civil Rights and White Collar Crime.

Prior to becoming U.S. Attorney, she was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Economic Crimes Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office (Massachusetts), and also served as Grand Jury Supervisor.  Ms. Ortiz also served for eight years as a state prosecutor, in Middlesex County, where she oversaw the District Court, and prosecuted homicides, sexual assaults, robberies and other felony cases.

In addition to her public service, Ms. Ortiz was a senior trial attorney at the law firm of Morisi & Associates, P.C., concentrating on civil, criminal, and governmental agency litigation.  She also was a Program Associate and Training Coordinator at the Harvard Law School’s Center for Criminal Justice (1989-1991).  There she worked on the Harvard/Guatemala Criminal Justice Project, which entailed collaborating with the judiciary of Guatemala and other professionals to implement criminal justice reforms.  In 1991, on behalf of the National Football League, Ms. Ortiz investigated allegations of sexual harassment made by a sportswriter against the New England Patriots.  In 1992, she was part of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee team that investigated “October Surprise,” the Congressional inquiry into allegations that the 1980 Reagan-Bush presidential campaign delayed the release of 52 Americans held hostage by Iran.

Ms. Ortiz is a graduate of George Washington University Law School (J.D.) and Adelphi University (B.B.A.).

Awards, Honors, and Recognitions

  • Bostonian of the Year, The Boston Globe (2012)
  • Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Network, Pinnacle Award Honoree (2012)
  • ACCESS First One Award (2011)
  • Beth Israel Deaconess, Outstanding Contributions to the Community (2011)
  • Las Primeras Award for Exemplary Achievement, Mass. Association of Hispanic Attorneys (2011)
  • El Planeta Newspaper, 100 Most Influential People for the Hispanic Community of Mass., (2011)
  • Women in Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, President’s Award (2010)
  • George Washington University Law School, J. William Fulbright Distinguished Public Service Award (2010)
  • Mass. Women’s Bar Association, Pioneering Women of Color Award (2010)
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This page was last modified on July 25, 2012.
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