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Theatre & Music

Sad News: A Time for Support

The UIC School of Theatre and Music community is deeply saddened to announce the passing of José Oliver Riojas. The cause of Professor Riojas’ death remains uncertain, however medical experts believe it was due to a health-related issue and more testing needs to be done. We also know that, prior to this event, Professor Riojas had tested negative for the COVID-19 virus.

Assistant Professor Riojas joined the University of Illinois at Chicago faculty in August of 2013 and served as director of bands for seven years. He was an accomplished musician, a gifted teacher, and a highly respected colleague. He was dedicated to his students; and he made the UIC band program an academic home away from home for many. He aimed to change the world through music. One of the ways he did this was by changing the lives of the students he taught at UIC.

Professor Riojas’ family has organized a service in Texas at the end of the month. A college support fund has been set up on behalf of Professor Riojas’ daughter, Nadia. In lieu of flowers, college fund contributions can be sent to a GoFundMe page.

The UIC School of Theatre and Music will host a community memorial from 3:00–4:30 PM on Monday, August 3. STM faculty, students, alumni, staff and colleagues will have an opportunity to gather remotely, reflect, and share.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

If you wish to speak at the memorial, please click here by the end of Friday, July 31st. Additionally, the Zoom chat will be open for attendees to post their memories and stories. This will be archived and shared with the family.

The loss of a member of our school community has an impact on all. We encourage all to give themselves time and self-compassion. We acknowledge that feelings of sadness and grief may be harder for those who feel isolated due to the social distancing required at this moment. Support is available.

A student community support opportunity will be provided virtually at 2PM on Wednesday, July 22. The opportunity will be for students only and will be facilitated by our department liaison in the Counseling Center, Karen Maddi. An invitation/link has been sent to music and band students. Students who would like to talk with a counselor individually can contact the Counseling Center anytime M–F between 9–5, 312-996-3490.

We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the Riojas family.

School of Theatre and Music