The UNM School of Public Administration (SPA) is announcing memorial services for a long-time and beloved educator.

Mario A. Rivera died on Dec. 22, 2017, at the age of 70. 

“Professor Rivera’s passing is a loss to the discipline of Public Administration nationally and internationally. He was a respected and admired teacher, researcher and scholar," said SPA Director Bruce Perlman. "I worked with Mario for 25 years. He was my dear friend, colleague and collaborator on many projects. I will miss him every day. It’s a great loss for the School of Public Administration and The University of New Mexico.”

Visitation will be held on Jan. 5 from 5 -7 p.m. at Daniels Family Funeral Services, 7601 Wyoming Blvd. NE Albuquerque NM 87109.

Catholic mass will be held Saturday, Jan. 6, at 10 a.m. at Queen of Heaven Church, 5311 Phoenix Ave. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110, Interment to follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 7999 Wyoming Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109. 

Rivera was widely known for his love of books. In lieu of flowers or donations, the family kindly requests that anyone who wishes to honor his memory do so through continuing this love of reading by enjoying or sharing a book. 

He was a beloved husband, father esteemed professor and lifelong educator. He held a Ph.D. and master's degree in political science and public policy from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. from Harvard College. He was a Regents' Professor of Public Administration at The University of New Mexico, where he worked since 1993. Rivera had recently received the honor of being elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration for sustained and outstanding contribution to the field of public administration through public service and scholarship.

“I am so saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Rivera," said student Anita Bringas. "He had such an impact on me (he) pushed me to be better, inspired me to do more and motivated me. He was not only my teacher and faculty advisor for my graduate research, he was a true mentor to me."

Rivera will forever be remembered by his wife of 30 years, Ana V. Rivera; three daughters, Alyssa, Sara and Gabriella; as well as his mother, Emilia and siblings, Silia, Fernando, Paul and Beatriz. 

He was preceded in death by his father, Mario Rivera; and the family's beloved collie, Blaze. 

Rivera was born in Havana, Cuba on Dec. 8, 1947.