Richard Salvatierra, Class of 1939
Journalist, Educator, Army Officer
Richard Salvatierra has had an eclectic and very full career for which he is recognized today by his alma mater. Dick is a native Tucsonan, having grown up in the southside of town and later the vicinity of Roskruge. At Tucson High he became a Badger four year letterman in baseball and basketball. His baseball coach was the legendary Andy Tolson, who later served many years as principal. Another teacher Dick recalls as having a great influence on him is Roland Gridley, who coached football and taught economics. Dick served on the student council and wrote for the Chronicle and if that was not enough covered all sports for the Arizona Daily Star.
With an overall high batting average of over 400, Dick had two offers—an opportunity as a first baseman with the New York Yankees and also a baseball scholarship at the University of Arizona. Although tempted by a career as a professional athlete, Dick opted for the U and in retrospect, he feels the decision to go into higher education was a wise one. He lettered in baseball for two years before he found it necessary to work more or less full time in the evenings at the Star as a general news reporter. His attending the U, the first member of his family to do so, was “in a sense conditioned on my being able, somehow, to help with family finances.”
Dick studied journalism, history and economics and graduated in 1943. From ROTC he went immediately to Officers Candidate School and served two years in the military. Dick and the former Clara Roseboro had married in 1942 and had their first child while he was in service. “Clara went on to greater heights by in subsequent years producing two sets of twins. All five of our children graduated from the University of Arizona and, generally speaking, all are doing well. I believe that at the last count we have 10 grandchildren.” After his military service, Dick’s journalism experience and keen interest in Mexico and Latin America in general served him in good stead as he sought a wider career than was possible in Tucson. His first job was with an agency, Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, based in Washington and headed by Nelson Rockefeller. Dick wrote material for their shortwave broadcasts to Latin America. His Foreign Service career, which was to last almost 30 years, began a year and half later when he became Press Attaché in Panama City.
The assignments that followed, alternating between the United States Information Office and the Department of State, included postings all the way from Lima, Peru to Rome, Italy. During one tour in Washington, DC. Dick served as Deputy Director of Latin American Operations with the USIA under the late Edward R. Murrow as Director. He also wrote for the Voice of America shortwave broadcasts to Europe.
Upon retiring to Tucson in 1972 he embarked into other distinguished careers—including 10 years as editorial writer with the Tucson Citizen where he wrote a weekly column on International Affairs. This column continues today 14 years after his formal employment. During the first three years with the Citizen he “decided to test how practical experience would match with an academic program” and returned to the U of A for a master’s degree. He worked in academia as Special Assistant to U of A President Dr. Henry Koffler throughout his tenure and for one year with Koffler’s successor, Dr. Manuel Pacheco. He has served on the committee that organized and drafted the curriculum for the new Arizona International University.
Dick has contributed much to Tucson Airport Authority, and periodically with other groups. He formed a committee working for the restoration of Santa Cruz Church, “an institution that has influenced the lives of so many Tucsonans for more than 75 years,” and is proud of his success in having the building listed in the National Register of Historic Places. He is a much-sought after speaker. A journalist, diplomat, educator, army officer, athlete, and student. . . Dick is currently “between retirements.”