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Rivier University Breaks Ground on New Science and Innovation Center

The University marked the newest chapter in its history breaking ground on the construction of a 35,000-square-foot Science and Innovation Center.

Susan Barbaro; Dr. Douglas Howard; Sr. Helen Cote, pm; Karen Cooper; Dianne Mercier; Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM; Mayor Jim Donchess; and Dr. John Parker.

Dedicated to expanding teaching and learning in the sciences, the facility will serve as a beacon for the city of Nashua and beyond, providing a community resource for the pursuit of scientific discovery. The Center is a priority in the University’s strategic plan Vision 2020.

Before a standing-room-only audience of students, faculty, staff, and friends, University and community leaders offered insights on Rivier’s contributions to education and workforce development. “All of our dreams and expectations can be joined in the belief that the Science and Innovation Center will provide opportunities to harness one of the great gifts of humanity – the power of curiosity to seek, to discover, to create, and to expand knowledge,” said Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Rivier’s President. “This is no small task in today’s world to seek the truth, to apply evidenced-based theory, to harness science, and solve problems in the service of true human freedom and advancement.”

Representing the city of Nashua, Mayor Jim Donchess spoke in support of Rivier and the Science and Innovation Center project. “This state-of-the-art facility will expand Rivier’s contributions to the life sciences workforce in Nashua and throughout New Hampshire,” said Donchess. “This support of workforce development, which is desperately needed, will add to the significant contributions that Rivier makes every year to our nursing workforce by educating the largest number of nurses throughout New Hampshire.”

The Science and Innovation Center will provide innovative experiences for biology, biotechnology, nursing, and public health majors, while also enhancing the general education of all Rivier students. The facility will feature learning spaces that foster experiential learning, laboratories and equipment designed to solve real-world problems, technology that brings science into the classroom, and collaborative spaces for faculty and student research.

Chair of the Board of Trustees Dianne Mercier provided perspective on the University’s commitment to its students and the community-at-large. “Through Vision 2020 and a commitment to innovation in the sciences, we celebrate a new milestone,” said Mercier. “We are growing our commitment to student and faculty research and hands-on learning to prepare for the 21st century workforce. We are expanding our contributions to the state, the region, and beyond, through workforce development in the life sciences, and we are marking our place as an institution dedicated to innovation and discovery.”

Dr. John Parker, Vice President for Finance and Administration, recognized partners Hutter Construction Corporation and architects Derck and Edson.

Construction of this academic facility follows projects already in progress—a new Athletics Pavilion and updates to Raider Diamond. These initiatives were preceded by the University’s Gateway Projects which transformed the campus landscape from 2014 to 2018. Completion of the Athletics Pavilion is slated for fall 2019, and the Science and Innovation Center will welcome students in fall 2020.

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.




Sky Croswell
Director of Marketing and Communications
Contact: (603) 897-8514 or

Notes to editors:

Founded in 1933 by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, Rivier University is a Catholic institution recognized for distinctive academic programs, offering many of the region’s leading programs at the undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, and doctoral levels. The Rivier experience ensures that students develop leadership skills as well as an awareness and appreciation of diverse cultures in New England and around the world.