Tricia Alicante Shafer, a graduate advisor at the College of Business Administration (CBA), passed away after battling a rare form of liver cancer on Oct. 10, her 36th birthday.

Kat Pettengill, an administrative support coordinator and friend, said Alicante Shafer was diagnosed last spring, but the disease progressed quickly.

“Unfortunately, her cancer quickly metastasized… [and] her condition was not treatable,” Pettengill said.

Tricia Alicante Shafer passed away on Oct. 10. (Courtesy of Kat Pettengill)

On Aug. 1, she married her longtime partner Casey Shafer.

Alicante Shafer leaves a son, Liam Shafer, who is 9 weeks old. Her son was born on Aug. 14, almost three months early, but is now home with his father and is doing extremely well.

“Due to the decline in her health, Liam was delivered early, at just 29 weeks, but was healthy and thrived in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit until his release on Oct. 21. Liam is a true miracle baby and his mother is a hero,” Pettengill said.

Alicante Shafer had been working as a graduate advisor for the CBA for 11 years.

“She has impacted the careers of hundreds of graduate students over the years, and helped the CBA be viewed as a compassionate and high-quality institution for graduate work,” said Erik Rolland, the dean of the CBA.

Alicante Shafer obtained her undergraduate degree in women’s studies from the University of California, Riverside, then went on to obtain her master’s degree in sociology from California State University, Fullerton.

“Education was something that was very important to Tricia,” Pettengill said. “She expressed a strong desire for her son to receive a college education someday. This was something we discussed during one of our last visits.”

To honor Alicante Shafer’s wishes, Pettengill started an education savings plan account for Liam and checks made out directly to Liam are deposited into the fund. Any questions or inquiries may be sent to

Funeral services for Alicante Shafer were held Oct. 22. She was laid to rest at Queen of Heaven Cemetery and Mortuary in Rowland Heights.

Casey Shafer, Alicante Shafer’s husband, said she truly loved going to work every day.

“She never left to or came home from work without a smile,” Shafer said. “She enjoyed her students and being able to help them gave her purpose … I’ve always felt that Cal Poly [Pomona] was her home away from home …. This has been an extremely difficult year, but [it] would have been worse without the CPP community.”

Alicante Shafer is greatly missed and will always be remembered “for her kind personality, her warm and welcoming smile and her dedication to help,” Rolland said.

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