Chris Bustamante, Ed. D.
For the past 40 years, Rio Salado College has created innovative ways to meet the needs of non-traditional students who would not otherwise have access to a college education. Early on, Rio Salado challenged the limits of tradition by serving students at a distance in convenient locations close to where they lived; in neighborhood schools, churches, and storefronts across Maricopa County.
The college also led the way in creating customized educational models for adult basic education students, employees in the workplace, high school students, active military, veterans, and incarcerated individuals. Subsequently, Rio has become the largest educational provider in Arizona in many of these sectors.
With the arrival of the Internet, it was a natural evolution for Rio to begin offering classes online as early as 1996, and to emerge as a national leader of online learning. Over the years, Rio has served more than 665,000 students, with more than 270,000 taking classes online.
Our innovative and student-centric culture drives Rio Salado to continually evolve and improve our delivery models and provide a high-quality educational experience for all of our students. Over the past four decades, the college has awarded nearly 100,500 degrees and certificates. I am proud of this accomplishment and the positive impact education has had in the lives of students, their families, and the communities we serve.
In addition, the college serves the community through programming at KJZZ, K-BACH, Sun Sounds of Arizona and SPOT 127. Special interest classes also inform senior citizens at Rio’s Lifelong Learning Center in Surprise.
This year of celebration will highlight Rio’s 40 years of serving the community and recognize the limitless accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff. I hope that you will share your experiences, stories, and photos with us as we honor our past and plan for the future.