Three weeks ago we lost a transformational member of our Familia - Jose “Eddie” Rivera. On behalf of the entire SHPE Board, staff, and membership, I offer my deepest condolences to his mother, siblings, and many, many friends.
Jose was involved with SHPE for most of his life, and from 1999 - 2003 he served as National President. He was instrumental in making Region 4 the powerhouse it is today, and in doing so, he touched the lives of thousands of SHPE members. He is deeply missed.
Jose was smart, and he was opinionated. Some might even call him a bit controversial. He and I didn’t always see eye to eye on the more strategic aspects of running SHPE, but it never got personal. We both knew our passion came from the same core belief - that the world needs more Hispanics in STEM. Neither of us ever lost sight of this. And when the long meetings were over and the sparring had ceased, he and I would head out for drinks (me alcoholic, him nonalcoholic, of course) to toast a brighter, more diverse future ahead.
To further illustrate Jose’s influence and legacy here are a few more thoughts on a great man from fellow members of our SHPE Familia:
“Jose’s passion and perfectionism combined to accomplish things many don't. He was the first to hop on a car and drive hours to any SHPE event. He fought for what he believed in - including people. He did work worth doing, and people loved him for it. He was a mentor, an advocate, a protector, and a friend.” - Francesca Escoto
“Jose and I didn't always agree on how to make SHPE a great organization but we always had mutual respect for each other. He loved his community ,and was very passionate about SHPE and us doing the right thing. Jose had a positive influence on many of our young members, and hopefully they are paying it forward." - Diana Gomez
“I first met Jose when he joined the National Board of Directors in the early 1990s as a Regional VP. He was gregarious, possessed a great sense of humor, but beyond that, he was extremely dedicated to SHPE. Over the ensuing years we became close friends. He was the best friend anyone could want - standing by your side during the good times and the bad. Always with that kind smile. Everyone wanted to be where Jose was. He had a magnetic personality. He captivated a room so easily, whether delivering a motivational speech to students or telling one of his outrageously funny stories. His dedication to SHPE knew no bounds. A great friend! A great loss for all of us. And a greater loss for SHPE! Rest in Peace my friend." - Manny Hernandez
“I am sad to know that another beautiful person left our world. I met Jose Rivera in 1999 when he was SHPE National President, and I was assigned by my company to be the executive liaison between IBM and SHPE. Through his hard work and dedication, Jose touched the lives of thousands of young people, many of who are now corporate leaders inspired by him. But Jose was not all work and no play. Jose was a fun loving person who worked hard and played hard and all of those around him, including me, enjoyed his bigger than life attitude in everything he did. He was out to change the world. And he did! I will always remember Jose with love and gratitude. We will all miss him. I love you brother!” - Enrique Gomez
Thank you to those who took the time to share your thoughts and memories, including our guest columnist this week, Iliana Limón, for her special tribute to Jose Rivera.
May you rest in peace, Jose. SHPE will certainly never forget you.
Board Chair and Interim CEO