Heritage Plaza dedication and blessing of Blessed Anne Marie Rivier sculpture reflect Rivier University’s Catholic heritage

Photo by Jodie Andruskevich

Click here to view Plaza Dedication Ceremony and Sculpture Blessing photo gallery. 

Click here to view Heritage Plaza photo gallery.

Bishop Francis J. Christian presided over the dedication of the Plaza on August 4; the ceremony marked the culmination of Rivier’s Gateway Projects initiative. 

Rivier University celebrated the completion of Heritage Plaza, a place of sacred beauty reflecting the University’s Catholic heritage and the campus’s new focal point. The Plaza is located on South Main Street in the heart of Rivier’s campus. During the ceremony, Bishop Francis J. Christian blessed a bronze sculpture of Blessed Anne Marie Rivier—visionary leader, committed educator, and the University’s namesake.

Rivier University was founded in 1933 by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary and named for their foundress Blessed Anne Marie Rivier. The Plaza dedication ceremony was timed in conjunction with the Sisters’ International Congress of Education, which is being hosted on the Rivier campus this week. Sisters of the Presentation of Mary from 14 countries and their collaborators joined members of the Rivier community at the ceremony.

“The dedication of Heritage Plaza marks a pivotal point in the University’s history and provides a visual statement of purpose,” says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, President. “The Plaza’s design and construction reflects both our Catholic heritage and commitment to continuous improvement and renewal. Blessed Anne Marie Rivier’s sculpture, now standing at the center of campus, will serve as an enduring symbol of faith, hope and Rivier’s service to all seeking higher education.”

Heritage Plaza is comprised of a main gathering space featuring the sculpture; a short walkway to a circular terrace of personalized brick pavers donated by alumni, friends, faculty, and staff; and steps leading down to the Campus Quad. The commissioned bronze statue was created by sculptress Silvia Nicolas of Mont Vernon, New Hampshire. In its entirety, the plaza structure provides a clear path across campus from Madeleine Hall (the Admissions Welcome Center) through to the Campus Quad and Dion Center.

Consistent with the University’s strategic and master plans, the Gateway Projects initiative was launched in 2013 with the goal of revitalizing Rivier’s campus and sacred spaces to reflect the University’s Catholic heritage and history. The campus footprint expanded with the addition of the Learning Commons, a 15,000-square-foot facility providing student services that support teaching and learning. Other major undertakings included renovations to Resurrection Chapel, the campus entrances, the Sunken Garden, Madeleine Hall, and finally, the creation of Heritage Plaza. Along with expansive landscaping to add green spaces, these projects have transformed Rivier’s campus environment.