We’re excited to introduce a new monthly column we’re
calling the Recent Alumni Spotlight. We
could think of no better way to kick off this column, then to feature our 2013
Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award winner, Santa Maria Rivera.
Santa grew up in Yakima as a first generation Mexican
American. In Santa’s family he was the first to graduate from high school, so
college educated role models were not readily available. Santa’s path to
Seattle University was an unconventional one. There were no online college
applications filed during senior year, or group tours to explore the urban
oasis that is the Seattle University campus.
Santa began his college career at Wenatchee Community
College where he took to the soccer field. Soccer would act as a key to Santa,
opening up doors and opportunities.
“I come from a very tough place,” Rivera said in a brief
documentary about his life. “I would not be the person I am today if it
weren’t for the opportunities that this sport was able to give me.” It was
Santa’s skills on the soccer pitch that caught the attention of Seattle
University soccer coach Pete Fewing.
When Pete saw Santa play, he knew he had someone special on
his hands. He took Santa under his wing, and convinced him to transfer to
Seattle U so that Santa could play for the Redhawks. During his junior season
playing for the Redhawks, Santa led SU to a National Championship and went on
to play for the Sounders for two years. After his two year stint as a Sounder Santa
returned to Seattle University to complete his History Degree and graduated in
After his graduation from Seattle University, he went on to
embody the values of his Jesuit education, as a mentor to at-risk middle school
students and youth coach for C Alliance. He’s able to provide encouragement,
educational support and coaching to the next generation of soccer players. Santa
coached the C Alliance team to their first undefeated season in 13 years. He acts
as the spokesperson for Golazo, an all-natural sports drink company that
encourages youth soccer players to pursue their dreams and fulfill their
potential. In his minority outreach role at Redept, Inc., Santa 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.
While nominating Santa
for this award, David Chow , of Seattle University’s College of Arts and Sciences, called him the
voice of hope for the Washington State Latino community.” We are very proud to be able to honor someone
who gives so much of themselves, with an alumni award. If you’d like to join us
in honoring Santa Maria Rivera, and other outstanding Seattle University community
members, we invite you to attend the Alumni Awards
Celebration on April 16th.
Would you like to be
featured in our Young Alumni Spotlight?
Do you know someone we should highlight?
Comment here or send an email to email@example.com.
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