A 2008 SU graduate with a history degree, Santa Maria Rivera is a voice of hope for the Washington state Latino community. As a first-generation Mexican American living in Yakima, he had few college-educated role models. He started his college career at Wenatchee Community College where he caught the attention of Redhawk soccer coach Pete Fewing. Soon after, Rivera joined the Seattle U soccer team where he led the Redhawks to a National Championship his junior season.
In 2006, Rivera took two years off to play for the Seattle Sounders. After returning to SU to finish his final quarter, he dedicated himself to changing the lives of others in the community. Rivera helps at-risk students by giving them the educational support that he did not have growing up. He currently acts as spokesperson for Golazo, an all-natural sports drink company that encourages young soccer players to pursue their dreams and fulfill their potential, and works at Redept, Inc. where he develops and administers a program to give young Latinos access to athletic programs and higher education helping them to develop leadership abilities and strong decision making skills. Rivera embodies Seattle University’s vision by being a leader for a just and humane world.