Rivier University to recognize humanitarian Peter Kelleher at Commencement Ceremony on May 6


Commencement Week ceremonies schedule and information

In celebration of Rivier’s 82nd Commencement and its mission to transform the world, Rivier University is honored to award Peter Kelleher, President and CEO of Harbor Homes and the Partnership for Successful Living, an honorary doctor of humane letters at its Commencement Ceremony on May 6.  

“As we celebrate our 82nd Commencement, it is appropriate to honor an individual who has, through his life’s work, exemplified Rivier’s mission,” says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, President. “Mr. Kelleher’s commitment, which recognizes the dignity of the human person, is practically applied through the multiple services offered by Harbor Homes and member agencies.

Mr. Kelleher will serve as the University’s Commencement speaker and will be recognized for his humanitarian work as an advocate for the needs of low-income community members, veterans, and other vulnerable populations. Celebrating 35 years of service, he oversees six non-profit agencies offering more than 80 programs in the state that provide access to housing, healthcare, education, and employment to those challenged by mental illness, substance abuse or homelessness. These non-profit agencies include Harbor Homes, Healthy at Home, Keystone Hall, Milford Regional Counseling Services, Southern NH HIV/AIDS Task Force, and the Training Institute at Welcoming Light.

In addition to recognizing Mr. Kelleher, Rivier will also celebrate the graduation of the first recipients of its Doctor of Psychology program in Counseling and School Psychology. This terminal degree allows graduates to obtain licensure for independent practice and pursue careers as psychologists and school psychologists in a variety of settings. Rivier University was the first institution in New Hampshire to offer a combined doctoral program in counseling and school psychology, and is one of only several similar programs in the country.

Mr. Kelleher serves as a living example of Rivier’s mission to transform hearts and minds to serve the world; a mission that is demonstrated through Rivier’s academic programs in nursing, public health, education, counseling, psychology, and others. Rivier will embark on a new, impactful partnership this fall with St. Joseph Hospital to develop and staff a mobile health clinic providing medical and dental services to those most in need in the Greater Nashua area. Rivier supports its community partnerhips through many service projects conducted throughout the local area and beyond as well as its annual Day of Service.

Honored for his contributions to the community, Mr. Kelleher has received numerous awards including the NH Business Review Excellence in Nonprofit Award and recognition as the 2015 Humanitarian of the Year by The Telegraph. In 2015, he was nominated by Senator Jeanne Shaheen and subsequently appointed as the New England representative to the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans. In this role, he advises the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs on veteran homelessness issues on a federal level. He also serves as board member of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council. Mr. Kelleher holds a master’s in social work from Simmons College School of Social Work and a bachelor’s in psychology from Clark University.

Rivier’s Commencement ceremony will take place at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts on Saturday, May 6 at 10 a.m.