Rivier University to celebrate technology and the humanities at 81st Commencement

Commencement Week ceremonies schedule and information

Highlighting the visual arts and the intersection of technology, business, and education, Rivier University will honor two outstanding individuals at its 2016 Commencement ceremony. On May 7, the University will present honorary degrees to renowned international artist Sylvia Nicolas and innovative business leader and entrepreneur Frederick H. Kocher, President of Kocher & Co., Inc. and past President of the NH High Technology Council.

"As we celebrate our 81st  Commencement, it is appropriate to honor two individuals who have, through their life's work, exemplified the Rivier spirit of transformation and are role models for careers successfully built on a liberal arts education," says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, President.

Fred_KocherFrederick H. Kocher will serve as the University's Commencement speaker and will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his efforts to facilitate an environment in New Hampshire where the 21st century workforce can flourish. "With an eminent career in government, law, communication, and technology, Mr. Kocher has demonstrated a leadership and entrepreneurial spirit that transcends any one profession," says Sister Paula.

With more than 35 years of executive experience, Kocher has worked to advance the New Hampshire economy through his dedicated leadership as President of the NH High Technology Council. A noted speaker and host of NH's Business on WMUR, he has received numerous awards and recognition including a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' from the NH High Technology Council and 'Business Leader of the Year' by Business NH Magazine. He is the founder of Politics and Eggs and co-founder of NH Forum of the Future and the NH Coalition for Business & Education, organizations that bring together leaders from business, education and government. He has served on the boards of the NH High Technology Council, the NH Small Business Development Center, Granite State College, and Global Relief Technologies; as advisor to the NH Clean Tech Council; and president of AARP-NH.

Sylvia_NicholsIn recognition of her life's work as a humanistic artist, the University will present an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Sylvia Nicolas, creator of the bronze sculpture of Rivier's namesake, which serves as the focal point to Heritage Plaza and reflects the institution's Catholic heritage. "Ms. Nicolas has brought the founding spirit of Blessed Anne Marie Rivier to life through sculpture," says Sister Paula. "Our campus community now knows this visionary leader, apostle, and educator whose legacy forever moves us forward."

A keen observer of human nature, Nicolas's works delve into the passions, psychology, and humor of the human condition, touching people with their universal appeal. Nicolas has received numerous commissions for her stained glass work including the Church of the Annunciation in Washington, DC and St. John's University in New York, and for her sculptures at St. Anselm College, Stonehill College, Providence College, and most recently at Rivier University. A native of the Netherlands, Nicolas studied extensively in Europe, and in the United States with painter Rufino Tamayo and sculptor Ossip Zadkine. She attended the Lycée Français and Dalton School in New York, the German Institute in Rome, Italy, and the Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, both in Paris, France.

The University has experienced remarkable growth in its international graduate student population in recent years, has launched new programs of distinction including a bachelor's degree in biotechnology, and diversified the reach and delivery mode of academic offerings through the creation of Rivier University Online. Through a variety of global engagement opportunities on the campus in Nashua and abroad, the University demonstrates that 'Nashua is our home and the world is our classroom.'

Offering an education grounded in the liberal arts and Catholic tradition featuring the core curriculum, Journeys of Transformation, the University prepares students for the 21st century workforce. An innovative new Employment Promise Program, designed to enhance career preparation and employability of students in all academic disciplines, has received national and international news coverage and highlights the University's confidence in its educational experience marked by distinctive academic programs, committed faculty and active learning. 

The Commencement ceremony will take place at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts on Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m.