Originally published, Sept 6, 2019
Albert Rivera, who has helped steer Princeton University’s international community through years of tumultuous federal immigration policy changes, has been named director of the Davis International Center, effective Oct. 1. The announcement comes after an extensive national search. He will be reporting to Aly Kassam-Remtulla, vice provost for international affairs and operations (acting).
The position oversees strategic planning and operations for a center that supports more than 3,100 students and scholars. The Davis IC provides immigration advising and processing services, cultural adjustment and social enrichment programs, and assistance with practical matters related to living in the United States. Rivera is currently the center’s deputy director.
“As an institution dedicated to research, teaching and service, Princeton University actively seeks and welcomes talented people from around the world, and the Davis International Center provides those international students, faculty members, staff, as well as DACA students with critical services and programs,” Kassam-Remtulla said. “Albert knows Princeton well, and he brings a great wealth of experience, expertise and passion to the goal of supporting our international students and scholars. I am delighted that he will be serving as director of the Davis International Center to lead this essential work.”
In 2018, Rivera received the President’s Achievement Award, Princeton University’s highest honor for staff. He was recognized for his leadership during the rollout of the federal travel ban in 2017, and offered expertise to Haitian staff members during rollbacks to a provision known as Temporary Protected Status. Rivera has helped shape University policy on key immigration issues, advancing Princeton’s role as a leader among academic institutions on access and support for international students and scholars.
“Our international population enriches the campus in so many ways—bringing fresh ideas and diverse values,” Rivera said. “I look forward to working hand-in-hand with all of our campus partners to serve this community.”
The Davis IC also coordinates host families and volunteers, known as Friends of the Davis International Center, who help international visitors adjust to life in Princeton.
“I want people to know that Princeton is a welcoming place,” Rivera said.
He will succeed Jackie Leighton, who has served as the director of the Davis International Center since 2009. Leighton will retire on Sept. 30.
Rivera was among the first generation in his family to attend college. Prior to his service at Princeton, he spent over 10 years in human resources, working in roles of increasing responsibility at Mount Sinai Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He is a graduate of Thomas Edison State University and served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He grew up in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City and attended high school in Vieques, Puerto Rico.