The Rivier University Board of Trustees passed a resolution to name Raider Field the “Joanne Merrill Field” in recognition of her 40 years of service as Director of Athletics. This distinction honors Merrill for creating an athletic environment of integrity, service, and leadership for both coaches and student-athletes, while also contributing to the University, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC).
“Joanne Merrill’s distinguished career deserves nothing less than this honor,” says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Rivier’s President. “Her dedication, vision, and enthusiasm for Rivier Athletics have been and continue to be a gift to the University and to the thousands of student-athletes who have competed under her leadership.”
Appointed to the role of Director of Athletics in 1980, Merrill has led the program to more than 25 championships. She is credited with ushering in the era of men’s athletic programs in 1991, when Rivier went co-ed, and served as the first men’s volleyball coach.
In 2009, the Greater Northeast Athletics Conference (GNAC) named Merrill Administrator of the Year with accolades for being a role model and mentor for young administrators. Prior to the NCAA sanctioning Men’s Division-III Volleyball in 2011, the North East Collegiate Volleyball Association named founding member Joanne Merrill to the NECVA Hall of Fame. Also recognized within the local community as an educator, coach, and mentor to countless student-athletes, Merrill was named one of the 25 Extraordinary Women in Greater Nashua by The Telegraph in 2014.
Additionally, Merrill supported the growth of Rivier athletics with contributions to the design and expansion of the Muldoon Fitness Center, the artificial turf field, the softball diamond, and most recently the University’s Athletics Pavilion. With the construction of this new facility underway and the naming of the turfed field, the University seeks to transform the game-day experience for Raider athletes and fans.
The field naming will be commemorated at the Athletics Pavilion dedication in September 2019. The University will launch a fundraising initiative for the naming of the field in Merrill’s honor in early March.
Rivier University is a member of the NCAA-Division III and the Greater Northeast Athletics Conference. Raider Athletics fields thirteen sports teams include: men’s baseball, basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, and volleyball; and women’s basketball, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, and volleyball.
Concurrent with construction of the Athletics Pavilion and recognizing the need for talented and trained management professionals, Rivier is launching a new Bachelor of Science in Sport Management for fall 2019. In additional to the exceptional opportunities for internships in the region, the new Raider facilities will provide experiential opportunities in game day and facility management for Rivier students.
Located in Nashua, New Hampshire, the University offers degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, and doctoral levels with on-campus and online options. For more information, visit www.rivier.edu.