Guillermo De La Riva


Guillermo De La Riva, a recipient of the 2014 GREAT Award, has a long history of service to both his country and his community. After serving three years as a cavalry scout in the U.S. Army, Guillermo decided to continue his public service as a member of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in 2007. Recognizing the importance of education to his career advancement opportunities, Guillermo decided to enroll in Westwood College’s Criminal Justice program in 2009.

After graduating from Westwood in 2012, Guillermo passed his professional exams to become a certified gang expert. He was transferred into one of LAPD’s gang units, but experienced a setback shortly thereafter after was shot in the face while apprehending a criminal. Despite requiring numerous reconstructive surgeries, Guillermo survived the incident and continues to serve the LAPD on light duty.

“The GREAT Awards recognize graduates who have overcome great odds to achieve success in their field,” said Steve Gunderson, president and chief executive officer of APSCU. “Guillermo’s story exemplifies the spirit of the GREAT Awards. His resilience will undoubtedly benefit him in future academic or professional endeavors.”


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PSCUs open doors to many of the 9 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills. PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.