Daniel F. Riva ’81H


By Renée Anduze  04HH






Dan Riva

Daniel F. Riva ’81H passed away following a battle with bone cancer on October 22, 2008. A World War II hero and a continuing-education pioneer, Riva was dean of the Central Florida School of Continuing Education—now the Hamilton Holt School—from 1969 to 1981.

Riva came to the Holt School following an illustrious 28-year career as a pilot, diplomat, and educator in the U.S. Air Force, during which he reached the rank of colonel and earned 32 military decorations, including the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

At the Holt School, Riva enthusiastically instituted new programs, majors, and courses, encouraging the instructors to be innovative in creating exciting curricula for adult learners. Criminal justice was his most successful major, filling the evening campus with police officers eager to grow in their profession. An astute veteran of the Washington scene, Riva secured substantial federal funding for the program, and a master’s degree in criminal justice was added. Riva was cited frequently as a scholar, author, teacher, and administrator as he transformed the young school into an accredited and financially sound component of Rollins College and what Rollins professor Marvin E. Newman called “one of the nation’s first truly quality educational institutions targeted to adults.”

Born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, Riva received a BS from Springfield College, an MA from the  George Washington University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. Upon his retirement, Rollins College awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws and the permanent rank of dean emeritus. “Dr. Daniel Riva made a profound difference in what would later become the Hamilton Holt School,” said Sharon Carrier, current Holt School dean. “He inspired and helped many students to achieve their educational goals.”

In 2007, Riva’s son Kyle ’79MBA, former chair of the Hamilton Holt School Board of Advisors, honored his father’s service to the College by establishing a $100,000 endowed scholarship in his father’s name.

Riva is also survived by his wife, Kimiko; son Richard; daughter Linda ’75; brother Vincent; and sister  Henrietta. His family requests that any donations in his memory be sent to the Daniel F. Riva Endowed Scholarship at Rollins College Hamilton Holt School, 1000 Holt Avenue–2725, Winter Park, FL 32789. Riva will be interred with honors in Arlington National Cemetery.