Feb. 16, 2006 - Orlando A. Rivera, Ph.D. 1930-2006
Orlando A. Rivera, former associate vice president of Academic
Affairs and a pioneer in the early history of the Ethnic Studies
programs at the University of Utah, died Sunday, Feb. 12, at his
home in Bountiful, Utah.
Rivera played key roles in the beginnings of the Center for Ethnic
Student Affairs (CESA) and other minority-related programs at
the University. He served as the third associate vice president
for diversity. In that position, and in his various other roles
at the University and in the community, Rivera made meaningful
contributions to the development of many programs and supported
and mentored many students, faculty and staff. Rivera was instrumental
in the creation of the Chicano Scholarship Fund and various student
organizations operated through CESA.
Off campus, Rivera was the primary force behind the creation
of the community organization now known as Centro de la Familia
(originally the Institute for Human Resource Development) and
was a constant presence and solid leader in a variety of community
organizations such as Spanish-speaking Organization for Community,
Integrity and Opportunity (SOCIO). He served on many important
community boards and organizations, including Intermountain Health
Care, Utah State Department of Social Services and the Utah Governor’s
Office of Hispanic Affairs. In October of 2004 he was awarded
the Cesar Chavez Peace and Justice Award by the Utah Coalition
of La Raza.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Rivera was admired
not only for his work in education, but also for his “dedication
to poor families, migrant workers and the Latino community.”
Many University campus veterans will remember Rivera for his
tireless dedication to promoting diversity and educational equity
for minority students. Rivera was responsible for paving the way
for much of the success that minorities have had within the University
and the local community.
Rivera is the husband of Irene Martinez Rivera. The couple has
four children, Arturo, Patricia (Patrick) Lucero, George (Heidi),
and Selena (Justin) Berg, and eight grandchildren.