Rivier University is named in honor of Blessed Anne Marie Rivier, foundress of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary. Established in 1933 as Rivier College in Hudson, New Hampshire, the College was incorporated in 1935 under the laws of the State of New Hampshire, and through two separate charters it was invested with the power to confer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Originally founded as an all-women's college to educate the daughters of mill workers, Rivier moved to the present campus site in Nashua in 1941 and became a co-educational institution in 1991. The College officially became Rivier University on July 1, 2012, offering associate through doctoral level degrees.
Continuously accredited since 1948, Rivier enrolls more than 2,500 students in two schools: the School of Undergraduate Studies (which includes the Professional Studies Division) and the School of Graduate Studies. For the purpose of institutional cooperation, Rivier University is a member of the New Hampshire College and University Council, a consortium of institutions of higher learning; students of member institutions are permitted to register for transfer credit at any of the member institutions except Dartmouth College.
In 1995, in anticipation of the 1996 bicentennial of the founding of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, the University formally recommitted to Anne Marie Rivier's mission of teaching and serving the poor by making social justice and service to others a special focus of its work.
As the oldest institution of higher learning in Nashua, Rivier is recognized for the development of programs which serve the needs of both traditional and nontraditional age individuals and remains faithful to its original mission: the education of the whole person.