Memorial services will be held on Friday, March 18, and Saturday, March 19, for educational leader Tom Rivera, who had 38 years of service at Cal State San Bernardino – including about 25 years as director of the CSUSB Educational Opportunity Program.

Rivera, who retired in 2011 and was named a CSUSB associate dean emeritus of undergraduate studies, passed away on March 8 at the age of 82. He had nearly 50 years in the field of education.

Memorial services will be held at San Salvador Catholic Church, 169 W. L Street, in Colton. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to organizations most dear to him:

On Friday, March 18, a wake will be held. A silent reflection will be held from 6-7 p.m., honored speakers will talk from 7-8 p.m. and another silent reflection will be held from 8-9 p.m. For those unable to attend in person, a live YouTube livestream has been set up at Celebration of Life for Dr. Tom

On Saturday, March 19, a memorial service and Mass will be held. At 9:30 a.m. a welcoming of Dr. Tom will be held. From 10-11:30 a.m. Mass will be held. Internment services will be from 12:30-1 p.m. at Hermosa Gardens Cemetery, 900 Meridian St., Colton. 

A reception will be held immediately afterward at the San Bernardino Valley College Cafeteria/Sunroom, 701 Mount Vernon Ave., San Bernardino.

Along with EOP, Rivera secured the first federal grant to establish the Upward Bound program and was instrumental in developing the SAIL program. Rivera helped establish the Children’s Center, the Disabled Students Office and the Learning Center, which he used to direct. He founded Project Upbeat and was a co-founder of the Inland Empire Future Leaders (IEFL) program for 8th and 9th graders.

Rivera served as the university’s academic grievance coordinator, as a member or chair of campus-wide committees and as the representative to community and university advisory committees and boards.

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 Cal State Los Angeles, as well as a doctorate from UCLA. Cal State Los Angeles granted him teaching and administrative qualifications, and he earned a counseling credential from UC Riverside.

From 1970 to 1972, Rivera worked at San Bernardino Valley College as a counselor/human relations coordinator. He then went on to serve 38 years at CSUSB.

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.