George Ramos, Pulitzer winner and Poly journalism professor, dead at 63

George Ramos
George Ramos

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Cal Poly professor George Ramos has died at the age of 63, the university confirmed Sunday.

Police found him dead in his Morro Bay home on Saturday after colleagues at online news site Cal Coast News — where he was editor — told authorities they had tried unsuccessfully to contact him for several days, the site reported on Sunday.

No cause or time of death has been reported, and an autopsy is expected to be conducted. Cal Coast reported Ramos had increasingly been suffering complications from diabetes.

Ramos was brought to Cal Poly in 2003 to lead the journalism department, serving as chairman for about five years and then continuing as a professor.

After graduating from that same program in 1969, he served in Vietnam as a U.S. Army first lieutenant in the field artillery, according to a Cal Poly biography.

“This department gave me my start in the news industry and my story is repeated in varying degrees by those who have graduated before and after me,” Ramos wrote of his time as a student at Cal Poly on his journalism department faculty web page.

He later worked for Copley News Service and the then-San Diego Union before joining the Los Angeles Times in 1978. There he helped the newspaper win three Pulitzer Prizes.

The first was for a 27-part series about the challenges, achievements and the changing nature of the Latino community of Southern California. In addition to helping lead a team of 11 reporters and four photographers as an editor, he was also a reporter.

He also helped the Times win Pulitzer prizes for breaking news coverage of the riots following the 1992 verdict in the Rodney King police beating trial and of the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

In 2007 he was inducted into the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame.