SUU welcomes first Chief Diversity Officer


CEDAR CITY (News4Utah) – While students at Southern Utah University have become more diverse in recent years, there were no African Americans in leadership roles at the university–until now.

Southern Utah University held a Martin Luther King Junior March Reenactment Tuesday remembering the 50 year anniversary of The Civil Rights Leader’s assassination.

After the march, Dr. Schvalla Rivera was introduced. It’s her second week at the school. She was hired as SUU’s first Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion. Rivera is the first African American female in a leadership role at SUU. 

“To see the number of people who participated in the march, I was looking ahead of me, but then I kind of looked back and and people were still coming, that’s great. And that made me feel welcomed,” said Dr. Rivera.

SUU is working hard to create a welcoming campus, and diversity a welcomed topic – and Dr. Rivera will be part of that process. 

“Show people who we are and break down boundaries and stereotypes. A lot of people just don’t know, It’s not like: I don’t want to know, it’s just not knowing or having the opportunity to be around diverse people,” said Sunny Sims, a SUU Junior.

“It’s wonderful to see states making the effort to understand that diversity is natural and to diversify their community, and to provide education not only to college campuses, but to their community at large,” said Rivera.

Dr. Rivera comes to Utah from Nebraska and received her Ph.D from Indiana State University. She hopes to see a more diverse student body and well as a more diverse faculty in the coming years.

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