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Rivier honors business and community leaders with Alumni Achievement Awards

The University is proud to announce the Alumni Achievement Award recipients for 2022.

Alumni Achievement Awards

From left to right: Justine DeFronzo ’09 B.S./’13 MBA, Dr. Lauren Marsden ’12 M.Ed./’18 Ed.D., Carol Furlong ’01 MBA, and  Joshua Muench ’16 B.S.

Rivier University has awarded Alumni Achievement Awards to distinguished area graduates. The awards highlight their outstanding leadership and service to their professions, local communities, and the University. Launched in 2016, the annual Alumni Achievement Awards are presented to outstanding alumni who have utilized their Rivier education to make a difference in their profession and have maintained a continued connection with their alma mater.

“The University is pleased to recognize four outstanding alumni who are serving their businesses, organizations, and communities with distinction and pride,” says Karen Cooper, Vice President for University Advancement. “We honor their ongoing commitment to the University’s mission of transforming hearts and minds to serve the world.”

Justine DeFronzo ’09 B.S./’13 MBA received the Outstanding Business Professional/Community Leader Award. DeFronzo has dedicated her career to the care of others. She serves as President of New England Sinai Hospital in Stoughton, Massachusetts, overseeing all clinical, operational, and financial functions to ensure and enhance quality patient care. With more than 20 years of experience at Carney Hospital, Norwood Hospital, Emerson Hospital, Heywood Hospital, and Lowell General Hospital, she now mentors nursing students in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. DeFronzo’s passion for service extends to the local community. She was a member of the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell for nine years and held the Board Chair position for four of those years. She now serves on the Board of Trustees for the Boys and Girls Club.

Dr. Lauren Marsden ’12 M.Ed./’18 Ed.D., a champion for education, received the Outstanding Educator Award. She earned master’s and doctoral degrees at Rivier and focused her research and dissertation on the unique challenges and needs of first-generation college students. Following 10 years as a high school educator, Dr. Marsden now serves as Curriculum Coordinator at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, New Hampshire. Her professional accomplishments include the creation of a peer mentor program between inner-city students and college students, the creation and implementation of a freshman academy, and her appointment as a Fellow of the highly selective Granite State Leadership Academy. Dr. Marsden has received several awards and speaks nationally on student success.

Carol Furlong ’01 MBA received the Outstanding Nurse/Healthcare Professional Award. A guardian and advocate for mental healthcare services, she is driven to help others realize their potential. For more than 40 years, Furlong has helped build and operate programs to end veteran homelessness and to establish substance use treatment services in underserved communities. Furlong was the Vice President of Operations at Harbor Homes in Nashua for 10 years before taking on her role as Director of Substance Use Services at Elliot Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire. As a leader and mentor, Furlong actively supports the next generation of mental healthcare service providers. She was named one of the top 25 Extraordinary Women in Greater Nashua in 2014, in recognition of her dedicated service to New Hampshire’s citizens and communities.

Joshua Muench ’16 B.S. received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Muench is proudly defending our country overseas and at home. Currently serving in the U.S. Army Reserves, he also works as the Alternate Facility Security Officer at BAE Systems in Hudson, New Hampshire. Muench helps to protect the facility and its employees from possible insider threats by handling alarm responses and conducting daily security investigations. His dedicated time in the military has helped him succeed in his career. He has been in the Army Reserves for the past four-and-a-half years as an All-Source Intelligence Analyst. In 2021, he deployed to Qatar where he was heavily involved in intelligence collection and management during the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan. Muench received a challenge coin from a top U.S. Army General in honor of his service and camaraderie.

 Rivier University, located in Nashua, New Hampshire, offers on-campus and online degrees at the undergraduate, professional studies, graduate, and doctoral levels. For more information, visit