Betty Rivers wears many hats, and one of them involves giving to others.
She has been living in Tallahassee for 46 years, and married to Larry Eugene Rivers for 40 of those years. Rivers was born and raised in Dry Branch, Georgia. She attended Fort Valley State College, an HBCU in Georgia, graduating with a degree in business education in 1973. In 1975, she earned a master’s degree from Florida State University.
After graduating from FVSC, she accepted a secretary position in the president’s office at Florida A&M University. Two years later, she continued her career as a secretary through employment with the City of Tallahassee. In 1986, Rivers began her career at the City of Tallahassee in increasingly higher-level secretarial positions; but quickly moved up the ranks to administrative supervisor, human services administrator and interim director of the Department of Community Improvement.
She also became the business manager for the Tallahassee Regional Airport, now called the Tallahassee International Airport, where she currently volunteers as an airport ambassador.
In 2006, Rivers retired after 30 years of service with the city.
“The primary reason I retired being that my husband, Dr. Larry E. Rivers, accepted the position as president at Fort Valley State University, our beloved alma mater. Although he served as president, we still had our residency in Tallahassee,” she said. “ He served seven years as president until June 2013.”
Destiny Bryant, a third-year social work student from Miami, has volunteered with Rivers for three years.
“I met Mrs. Rivers three years ago when I started volunteering with her at the Delta Kappa Omega Providence Center as a freshman. She is always on the move and finding different ways she can help others,” she said.
As a member of the DKO Foundation, she serves on the grants committee. While volunteering at the center, she assists with the foundation by being a recipient of four grants to support its signature program, “Empowering Youth for the Future.”
The grants help sponsor programs such as homework assistance, special holiday activities, spring and summer camps. Some major activities she contributed to include the Valentine’s Dinner Dance, Black History Month Celebration program, Easter Egg Hunt, Spring Break Camp, and the 4-week Summer Enrichment Camp.
Aliyah Balogun, a first-year doctor of pharmacy candidate from Atlanta, talked about her relationship with Rivers.
“She has always been so kind, generous, and sweet. Ever since I met her, she has always welcomed me with open arms. Mrs. Rivers is a busy woman who is a very hard worker,” she said.
Rivers firmly believes that to whom much is given, much is required. For this reason, she enjoys sharing her skills, time and talent to help individuals in all walks of life to gain access to much-needed resources.
“I feel blessed to be chosen for a purposeful, earthly life. At the end of each week, it’s exciting when I attempt to count the large number of people who have been in my circle and the ways that I have assisted others. It’s simply awesome,” she said.