Susan Zator, Class of 1966, receives 2016 Sister Madeleine of Jesus Award

Susan Zator '66 receives the Sr. Madeleine of Jesus Award from Sr. Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Rivier's President


For her selfless devotion to others, especially the poor and the powerless, embodying Rivier's mission of transforming hearts and minds to serve the world, the Alumni Association was honored to present the 2016 Sister Madeleine of Jesus Award to Susan Zator, Class of 1966.

Zator earned a bachelor's degree in biology in 1966 and went on to pursue a nursing degree from Columbia University and master's degree in public health/midwifery from Johns Hopkins University. She has made it her life's work to solve the healthcare issues of marginalized populations. Working in remote regions of the United States and the world, she has tended to the needs of rural farming families, migrant workers, American Indians, at-risk women, the elderly, the mentally ill, and the homeless.

Rivier University students have been blessed by her generous heart, as well. With the encouragement of her devoted husband Harry Merritt, the Josephine and Jacob Zator Scholarship was established in honor of Susan's parents, who were proud Rivier supporters. In their memory, scholarships are awarded annually to Rivier students pursing degrees in biology, business, or nursing.


The Sister Madeleine of Jesus Award was established by the Rivier Alumni Association in 1974 to honor Rivier’s foundress. The Award is bestowed on Rivier alumni who have distinguished themselves, in the spirit of the University’s mission, through outstanding service and contributions to their communities, their professions, and to their alma mater.