Highlighting the role sport serves in our communities, Rivier University will honor Red Sox Foundation Executive Director Rebekah Splaine Salwasser as its 2019 honorary degree recipient and Commencement speaker. A strong presence in Greater Boston athletic, academic, and philanthropic communities, Salwasser advocates for sport as a stabilizing factor and means through which youth can realize their greater potential. In her role at the Red Sox Foundation, she works to make a difference in the lives of children, families, veterans, and communities in need by providing them with health, educational, and recreational opportunities.
“Rebekah Salwasser has an important story to tell,” says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Rivier’s President. “Employing the leadership, community-building, and critical thinking skills cultivated as a student and professional athlete, she has pioneered a career dedicated to the betterment of others. Her efforts and achievements exemplify sport as a unifying agent for positive change.”
A Massachusetts native and former professional soccer player with the Boston Breakers, Salwasser has dedicated herself to making a difference through sport. Prior to her role at the Red Sox Foundation, she held several key leadership positions with Scholar Athletes, a non-profit organization whose mission is to support academic achievement through athletics; the Boston Celtics, overseeing community relations and the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation; and the Charlestown Lacrosse & Learning Center, a non-profit in Boston that provides academic & athletic assistance to local youth.
Currently, Salwasser serves on the Board of Directors for Teach for America Greater Boston and the YMCA of Greater Boston. A former Board of Trustees member for Buckingham Browne & Nichols, she continues to serve on their Alumni Council. She is a founding co-chair and Leadership Committee member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston Friend’s Council, and she serves on the National Advisory Board for Dream Big!. In 2018, she was selected to Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” class.
Expanding its own efforts in support of the student-athlete experience, Rivier University has launched a bachelor’s degree in sport management for fall 2019, and construction is underway on a new Athletics Pavilion that will elevate the game-day experience and provide a range of internship opportunities for students.
Rivier’s 84th Commencement ceremony will take place at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts on Saturday, May 11 at 10 a.m. With 2,300 students at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels, and academic programs serving both on-campus and online populations, Rivier University is a Catholic university with a mission of transforming hearts and minds to serve the world.