Successful Communication Professional Giovanna Rivera Receives 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award

Seton Hill University has honored Giovanna Rivera with the Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award for 2020.

A native of Puerto Rico, Giovanna Rivera Genard is a 1994 communication and information arts graduate of Seton Hill who later earned an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in Communication from The Pennsylvania State University. Giovanna launched into a successful career in communication, marketing and public relations upon graduation, first serving in the admissions office at Seton Hill, and in 2016, becoming the first Latinx member of the President’s Cabinet in Old Dominion University’s history when she was appointed Assistant Vice President for Strategic Communication and Marketing, as well as Chief Marketing Officer. In addition to this role, Giovanna is a guest lecturer at Old Dominion, where she teaches and mentors the next generation of communicators. As an inclusive leader, she volunteers to close the equity gap, create a diverse talent pipeline and promote social mobility, helping establish ODU’s national Social Mobility Symposium and global programs such as High-Achieving Latinxs in Engineering & Science (HALES) and Remote Experience for Young Engineers and Scientists (REYES). In 2017, she was invited to join the Forbes Communications Council, a national group of respected leaders and executives who have depth and diversity of experience in the industry, and in 2019, the CIVIC Leadership Institute. Giovanna collaborates regularly with non-profits and Latin American Embassies in the U.S., has been a guest speaker at state and national conferences, serves on the executive board of the Virginia Higher Education Broadcasting Consortium and Board of Directors of the YWCA South Hampton Roads, and served on Seton Hill’s Alumni Advisory Council from 2010 to 2012.

The Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award is one of the highest honors given to a graduate, and since 1987, when the award program was established, more than 200 Setonians have been named distinguished alumni for their leadership in education, business, science and technology, the arts, volunteerism and philanthropy. Find out more at