Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer Toggle Navigation Menu

Biography: Dr. Suzanne Rivera

Dr. Suzanne Rivera will join Macalester College this summer as its 17th President.

Dr. Rivera holds a BA in American Civilization from Brown University, a Master of Social Welfare degree from University of California, Berkeley, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas.

An accomplished expert in research ethics, she joins Macalester from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) where she has spent the past nine years. Currently, she serves as Vice President for Research and Technology Management overseeing the university’s $400M research enterprise. Under Rivera’s leadership, CWRU was named a Top Ten Center for Biomedical Excellence by the Hartwell Foundation.

As a member of the CWRU faculty, Dr. Rivera teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in bioethics, including numerous study-abroad courses examining bioethics from a cross-cultural perspective.

Dr. Rivera is active nationally in research policy. She is the Vice President of the Board of Public Responsibility in Medicine & Research (PRIM&R) and serves as a Board member on the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR). Previously, she served as an appointed member of the EPA’s Human Studies Review Board and the U.S. DHHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections.

She also is active in social justice and equity initiatives. She is the Executive Sponsor of CWRU’s affinity group for Hispanic/Latinx faculty and staff, and serves as an advisor for CWRU’s Women in Science and Engineering Roundtable (WISER). Nationally, Rivera is a member of the American Association of Universities’ (AAU) Task Force on Strategies for Reducing Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination. She also is a Fellow of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities’ (HACU) Academia de Liderazgo.

During her time at CWRU, Dr. Rivera has been an engaged volunteer in the local community. She served as First Vice President on the Board of Esperanza, Inc., a non-governmental organization devoted to improving educational outcomes for Cleveland’s Hispanic students. She also serves on the governance committees for Cleveland’s Fund for Our Economic Future (FFEF) and the Cleveland Water Alliance.

Prior to her time at CWRU, Dr. Rivera spent seven years at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center working both in the Office of the Dean and Provost and in research leadership roles. Earlier in her career, Dr. Rivera served in the Office of Research Administration at the University of California, Irvine.

Rivera’s original scholarship on science policy and research ethics has resulted in numerous grants, journal articles, and book chapters on topics such as privacy rights in research, regulatory reform in the sciences, inclusion of underrepresented populations in research, and attitudes about the use of human biospecimens. She also co-edited the book Specimen Science, published by MIT press in 2017.

She is married to Dr. Michael Householder, a scholar of Early-American Literature. They have two grown children, Antonio and Elena.

View Dr. Rivera’s Curriculum Vitae (PDF)