Tomás Rivera was born in Crystal City, Texas, in 1935 to an immigrant family that followed the labor streams from Texas to the Midwest. Becoming a highly successful university professor, administrator and writer, Rivera quickly ascended the academic ladder. In 1978, he became executive vice president at the University of Texas at El Paso and, a year later, became the youngest and first minority chancellor in the University of California school system. As a scholar, Rivera was instrumental in the creation of Chicano literature as a legitimate academic field. His novel, “Y no se lo trago la tierra” (1971) won the first Quinto Sol National Chicano Literature Award. Passing away in 1984, he remains one of the most influential figures in Chicano literature.