Community mourns the passing of long-time educational leader Dr. Tom Rivera

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Courtesy photo   Beloved educator and administrator Dr. Tom Rivera passed away peacefully on March 8 surrounded by family. Services will be held on Friday and Saturday; although the family wants to accommodate all those who wish to grieve or honor Dr. Tom, they ask the wider public to please keep in mind that the church is small and cannot accommodate the physical presence of too many mourners. The live stream link for Friday and Saturday is: https://youtu.be/q-iCDD5XGkg.

CSUSB long-time administrator and educational leader Tom Rivera, “Dr. Tom” passed peacefully on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, surrounded by his family at the age of 82.

Rivera was raised and educated in South Colton. From 1958 to 1960, he was a student at San Bernardino Valley College. He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in arts from CSU Los Angeles, as well as a doctorate from UCLA. CSU Los Angeles granted him teaching and administrative qualifications, as well as a counseling credential from UC Riverside.

From 1970 to 1972, Rivera worked at San Bernardino Valley College as a Counselor/Human Relations Coordinator. He went on to serve 38 years at California State University, San Bernardino where he served as an administrator, initiating numerous programs designed to motivate underrepresented students to enroll in and graduate from college. He was also named associate dean emeritus of Undergraduate Studies.

He served on the boards of the Rialto Teachers Association, United Way, Easter Seal Society, Omnitrans, Catholic Charities, and Rolling Start after being elected to the Colton Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees. He has served on the San Bernardino County Bilingual Task Force, the San Bernardino Valley College EOPS Program, the San Bernardino Drug and Gang Task Force, the Chancellor’s Chicano Advisory Committee at the University of California, Riverside, the Boys, and Girls Club of America, and Sister Cities International Mexicali-Villa Hermosa.

When he retired from CSUSB in 2011, he was commended for his nearly 50 years in the field of education throughout the IE.

One of his lasting contributions, though, was started separately from any official capacity. Seeing that 54% of Latino students were dropping out of high school, Rivera and others formed a program in 1985 to motivate 8th and 9th grade students and help them succeed. They called it Inland Empire Future Leaders.

Although the family wants to accommodate all those who wish to grieve or honor Dr. Tom, they ask the wider public to please keep in mind that the church is small and cannot accommodate the physical presence of too many mourners.

This broadcast link will allow the broader community to pay their respects and virtual goodbyes using the internet on Friday and Saturday: https://youtu.be/q-iCDD5XGkg.

Schedule of services:
3/18 Friday
Wake – San Salvador Catholic Church, Colton
6 pm Silent Reflection, 7 pm Honored Speakers, 8 pm Silent Reflection

3/19 Saturday
Funeral – San Salvador Catholic Church, Colton
9:30 am Welcoming of Dr. Tom to San Salvador, 10 am Mass, 11:45 am Departure

Burial – Hermosa Gardens Cemetery, Colton
12:30-1:00 pm Lay to Rest

Reception – Immediately Following
San Bernardino Valley College – Cafeteria/Sunroom

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly asks that donations be made to the organizations most dear to Dr. Tom: Inland Empire Future Leaders Iefl.org and the Tzu Chi Foundation: donate.tzuchi.us/cause/gift/.