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Spring 2007 - Softball

Destination Purdue > Spring 2007 - Softball

Former softball player now pitching in to help community

By Ashley Woodward

Five years ago, Diana La Riva began a long journey that took her from her hometown of Tustin, Calif., to Purdue University to pitch for the softball team. While she'll graduate from Purdue in May, the voyage she began so long ago will continue well after she leaves college.

Diana La Riva

Photo provided by Purdue Sports Information

Diana La Riva, an environmental plant studies major and former Boilermaker softball pitcher, says a love of nature helped her pick her major.

When La Riva first arrived at Purdue, she may have known that she wanted to play softball, but she had not picked a major. So her first step was deciding what to study by taking classes in subjects that interested her. "I'm a big nature person and have always liked plants, so I decided to look into the (Department of Botany and Plant Pathology)," said La Riva. "I just went from there by taking a few classes in entomology, forestry and anthropology."

After about a year of classes in different areas, she decided to major in environmental plant studies, offered by Purdue Botany and Plant Pathology. It was a major, she said, that allowed her to combine her love of plants and nature.

La Riva among the best in team history
By Ashley Woodward

Diana La Riva is one of the most accomplished pitchers in Purdue Softball history. Her achievements include:

  • The Purdue single game record for strikeouts: 17 against Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne on March 27, 2004.
  • The Purdue single season record for strikeouts: 196.
  • Second in all-time career strikeouts for Purdue: 507.

Find out more:

Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics
Purdue Botany and Plant Pathology
Purdue Agriculture majors

"Diana loved nature and all that went with it," said Louise La Riva, Diana's mother. That love of nature played a big role in helping La Riva pick her major. But her Purdue journey has been about more than studying or playing softball.

She is a coach and active volunteer for organizations both at Purdue and back home. She has been an active volunteer for Lafayette (Ind.) Urban Ministry, a homeless shelter. She's also participated in the organization's fundraisers. "We raised money by sleeping in a cardboard box for one night," said La Riva. "It was just like camping, but raising money for the homeless in the community."

When she goes home to California each summer, La Riva coaches deaf and hard-of-hearing children at Sertoma Fantasy Baseball Camp in Anaheim. Mother Louise said her daughter is compassionate and that shows itself in her activities. She enjoys helping others and empathizes with what they might be experiencing, Louise La Riva said.

La Riva's journey as a college student may be coming to an end, but the path for her future as a professional softball player and environmentalist stretches ahead. Her enthusiasm for what she does will guide her. "I feel like part of my role in the world is helping other people and the environment," she said. "Those are two things I am very passionate about."