Recent Alumnus Winner – Santa Maria Rivera, '08
The winner of this year’s Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award
is Santa Maria Rivera, a voice of hope for the Washington State Latino
community and a 2008 Seattle U graduate with a degree in history.
Rivera’s path to Seattle U did not begin with a campus tour, a freshman
application, or a meeting with an admissions counselor. Unlike most SU
students, Rivera did not start off with his sights set on Seattle University.
As a first generation Mexican American living in Yakima, his family hadn’t
graduated from high school so college educated role models were few and far
between. Rivera had very little access to the college resources.
It was Rivera’s outstanding skills on the soccer field at Wenatchee Community
College that caught the attention of Redhawk soccer coach Pete Fewing. With
Fewing’s encouragement, Rivera soon joined the Seattle U soccer team. Rivera
went on to lead the Redhawks to an Undefeated National Championship in his
In 2006, Rivera took two years off to dedicate
himself to playing for the Seattle Sounders. He then returned to finish his
final quarter and now uses what he learned at Seattle U to change the lives of
others in the community. Rivera has dedicated himself to helping at risk
middle school students by giving them the educational support that he did not
have growing up. He is a youth coach for FC Alliance Premier Soccer, where he
coached the team to their first undefeated season in 13 years.
Rivera is spokesperson for Golazo, an
all-natural sports drink company that encourages youth soccer players to pursue
their dreams and fulfill their potential.
He has recently joined Redept, Inc. where he leads their Business
Development/Minority Outreach Program. In this role, he develops and administers a
program to give young Latinos access to athletic programs and higher education
to help them develop leadership abilities and strong decision making skills.
As someone who helps students
to set goals and gives them the direction to achieve them, Rivera embodies
Seattle University’s vision of creating leaders for a just and humane world.
Please visit our Alumni Awards event page for event information.