Iconic Education Leader Dr. Tomas Rivera Leaves a Lasting Legacy in the Inland Empire

The Inland Empire recently suffered a huge community loss. Prominent and iconic Latino leader Dr. Tomas Rivera, 82, passed away after nearly 50 years in the education field.  

Dr. Thomas Rivera died on March 8th, 2022. As an educational leader, Rivera served at Cal State San Bernardino for 38 years, including his 25 years as Director of the CSUSB Educational Opportunity Program. After retiring in 2011, he was named a CSUSB Associate Dean Emeritus of Undergraduate Studies. In addition to his successful tenure at CSUSB, Dr. Tom secured funding for numerous programs and founded several integral organizations. Among these organizations, Rivera founded Project Upbeat and co-founded the Inland Empire Future Leaders (IEFL) Program for 8th and 9th graders. 

Dr. Tom was a friend and mentor to so many. I personally knew him and enjoyed a friendship with him. If you ran in the educational or political circles in the Inland Empire, you were hard-pressed not to have met Dr. Tom and become an instant fan. He was an amazing example for all of us and will be greatly missed. His legacy lives on through the IEFL and people’s lives will continue to be shaped and changed through his work.  

Dr. Tom Rivera, Presente!

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Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia is a Mother, Grandmother, former Middle School Teacher, former Member of a School Board of Education and an Education Advocate for hundreds of parents and students in the Inland Empire. Having become a mother at 15, Leticia knows what it’s like to be a single mother trying to navigate the education system. Leticia received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from California Baptist University and a Masters’ Degree in Education Technology from Cal State Fullerton in her 30’s. Leticia has used her knowledge and experience to help hundreds of families as an Education Advocate in the Inland Empire and currently works as an Education Specialist.

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