Below is a list of self help, correspondence and educational courses Wilson has completed during his incarceration, including his Associates and Bachelor's Degree from Calvin University. While looking at Wilson's accomplishments, please know that he has never attended High School and only had a 7th grade education. Although Wilson has never been to High School, he earned his Bachelor's Degree and graduated with a 3.93 GPA. Please keep in mind, he has been able to accomplish everything despite his environment, obstacles he has faced over the years, and even throughout the Pandemic when he                                                       caught COVID-19 and could barely breathe or move without being in pain.                                                   Wilson Rivera is the TRUE definition of accomplishment!


Nearly 30 years, as a 19 year old, Wilson entered prison with a 4th grade equivalence in math and a 6th grade equivalence in vocabulary. Today (May 5th, 2023) Wilson accepted his Bachelor's Degree from Calvin University by way of the Calvin Prison Initiative, with a GPA of 3.93. 

The Calvin Prison Initiative is a five year program that provides a Christian Liberal Arts education to inmates at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility. Part of Calvin University's objective is to help change the prison culture to one that gives inmates, like Wilson, an opportunity to develop their potentials through education and programs, then send these students out to other facilities to help initiate and facilitate such programs. Below you can read about some of Wilson's accomplishments. 

Wilson's Graduation Speech!

Wilson graduated with Honors and Distinction. He was also hand selected to write and give a speech for the graduation ceremony. Please click the link below and listen as he addresses his fellow graduates, Calvin University professors, and MDOC Staff.

Calvin University Bachelor Degree Ceremony

Wilson receiving his Bachelor's degree from Calvin University president, Wiebe Boer. 

Senator Mark Huizenga presenting Wilson with a Letter of Legislative Honor "in recognition of outstanding achievement" for successfully completing his course of study prescribed by Calvin University. 

Calvin University English professor, David Urban, congratulates Wilson as he bestows upon him Calvin University's Collegiate Scholars Medallion, worn by students who have fulfilled the requirements to graduate with distinction. Requirements include community engagement activities and a cumulative GPA of 3.65 or higher.

The maroon and gold cord worn by Wilson are bestowed upon students who have earned the Latin honors designation "magna cum laude," having a minimum GPA 3.8. Wilson graduated with a GPA of 3.93. 

Bachelors Degree

Letter of Legislative Honor

The Dean's List!

Wilson is an 8 time Dean's List recipient (for students who maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher each semester) 


* Calvin University
-- Restorative Justice Club
-- Theology Club

(For more than a year Wilson has volunteered at his current facility (MTU) as the Chaplain's Clerk while still attending Calvin University and completing his correspondence courses)

* Nations University (Correspondence course aiming towards a Master's Degree in Theology);

* TAYBA Foundation (Islamic correspondence course);
* CRIMINON: The Pursuit of Happiness (Correspondence Course - 2019);

* CRIMINON: Personal Integrity (Correspondence Course - Currently);
* The Moorish Islamic Theocratic Institute (Correspondence course - 2019)


* Thinking For a Change (T4C);
* Batterer's Intervention (MiDVP: Mich. Domestic Violence Prevention);
* VERA Institute (President of Student Advisory Council formation team) 


* Calvin University - Bachelor's Degree in Faith and Community Leadership (Class of 2023);                        * Wilson helped establish the Student Voice Council with the help of the VERA Institute for Justice, Calvin Prison Initiative, and the Michigan Department of Correction's Education Department (2022-2023);          *  Interim classes: Jubilee Fellows (2022);                                                                                                      * Herbert Armstrong College - Bible Correspondence course - (1/2/2021);                                                     * Malachi's Dad (Inside-Out Dads) parenting classes (2019 / 2020);                                                          * Interim classes: Theodicy classes (2019);                                                                                                     * Interim classes: College Math classes (2018 / 2019)
* Calvin University Compassion Class (9/4/2018)                                                                                         * Interim classes: Compassion Class (2018);                                                                                                   * Interim classes: Theodicy classes (2018);
* Montcalm Community College: Budgeting Skills (4/19/2016)
* Montcalm Community College: Employment Interviewing Skills (4/21/2016)
* Montcalm Community College: Hygiene Facts and Tips (4/22/2016);
* Montcalm Community College: Communication Team Building (4/27/2016);
* Grand Valley State University: Inside/Out Prison Exchange Program (12/8/2015);
* Prisoner Observation Aid Training (Suicide Prevention) (10/22/2013);
* University of the MST of A: Islamic studies Correspondence course (11/14/2013);
* Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC): Legal Writer Training (9/30/2013);

(Part of Wilson's responsibility as one of the few MDOC bilingual Legal Writers was to ensure that Spanish-only speaking inmates received a fair chance in their appeal process. Additionally, Wilson's clients ranged from inmates who were heavily medicated to others with severe learning disadvantages)

* University of Michigan: PCAP Creative Writing Program (4/29/2013)
* American Bible Academy: The Book of John, Correspondence course (4/12/2011);
* MDOC: CAGE Your Rage (2/22/2010);
* Grand Valley State University: Contemporary Literature (5/1/2009);
* Grand Valley State University: Modern Logic (3/1/2009);
* MDOC: Custodial Maintenance Technology (Vocational Training) (3/6/2007)

(Additionally, because Wilson is bilingual, he took the responsibility of translating all the core lessons into Spanish. He then instructed a class of 12 Spanish-only speaking inmates ensuring their success in obtaining their CMT certificate)