New Exhibition Celebrates Life and Work of Past UC Riverside Chancellor Tomás Rivera

Highlights of the late chancellor’s contributions to literature, civic life and education are displayed in the UCR Library

UCR Library presents “Tomás Rivera: UCR and Higher Education Retrospective/Una Retrospectiva Sobre UCR y Educación Superior.”

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( – The University of California, Riverside Library has unveiled its newest exhibition, “Tomás Rivera: UCR and Higher Education Retrospective/Una Retrospectiva Sobre UCR y Educación Superior.” The exhibition is located in Special Collections & University Archives on the fourth floor of Rivera Library.

The exhibition showcases the life and work of author, poet, teacher, activist, and past UCR Chancellor Tomás Rivera. Rivera worked tirelessly to make higher education accessible to students from underrepresented communities. He also took an active role in supporting Chicano/a youth groups and anti-violence programs in local high schools. He died at the age of 48, but his work as an advocate for social change and advancement through education still resonates today. His name and legacy are kept alive in many ways, including through the renaming of UCR’s first library in his memory, shortly after his passing in 1984.

“Chancellor Rivera’s name and legacy are kept alive through events such as the annual Rivera Conference at UCR and the Tomás Rivera Lecture series, but we felt it was important to have an exhibition on display showcasing the impactful work he did for the community,” said Steven Mandeville-Gamble, university librarian at UCR.

The exhibition highlights some of Rivera’s contributions to literature, civic life, and higher education. It also includes written contributions to the Latino Renaissance, photos of Rivera with those he worked with as well as those he worked to help, and original objects like awards, a first edition of “…y no se lo tragó la tierra,” a novel by Rivera, as well as a hand-written chapter from the celebrated work.

The exhibition was curated by Stephanie Milner and Melissa Cardenas-Dow, and implemented by the members of the Library’s Exhibits Committee in coordination with contracted designer Ann Marshall, who also designed “The Legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen” and “The History of the LGBT Civil Rights Movement” exhibitions at UCR.

The exhibition is open to the public during Special Collections & University Archives’ regular hours, which are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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