Lorenzo Rios, a decorated veteran of both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, now serves as the chief executive officer for the Clovis Veterans Memorial District after concluding a distinguished 23-year active duty military career. A naturalized United States citizen born in Tecoman, Colima, Mexico; Rios was a migrant farmworker who first enlisted in the Marine Corps before later joining the Army through the ROTC program at Gonzaga University. There he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1995 and a master’s degree in organizational leadership in 1999 and was selected as a Distinguished Military Graduate for ROTC by ranking in the top 20% nationally.
In 2006, Rios earned a master’s degree in political science at Arizona State University and also completed all of his doctoral work in International Relations. He was an assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and the Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas. Rios served in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan, and was awarded two bronze stars. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army in August 2015. Rios’ last assignment was as professor and department chair of the Military Science and Leadership Department at Fresno State.