Rivier University Commencement 2023 graduates largest class in recent years
Rivier University Commencement 2023 recognized the mission of higher education and the importance of faith, service, and diversity.
Rivier University celebrated its 88th Commencement on May 14, awarding 744 degrees to associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree graduates. The University honored Reverend Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM, Ed.D., President of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities as Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient. Rev. Holtschneider addressed graduates on the purpose and mission of higher education.
“The purpose of a liberal arts education at a school with a Catholic heart is for you to look at the world more deeply and truly understand it, to build your skills, and then to commit to act on its behalf,” said Rev. Holtschneider. “That heart hopes for you to become magnificent actors in the world—engaging the world and trying to change the immediacy of individual lives around you or the systems and the social matters that affect all of us.”
As the University celebrates the 90th anniversary of its founding, it recognized the importance of faith, service, and diversity by awarding three additional honorary degrees to distinguished community leaders at Rivier University Commencement 2023. Recognizing their contributions to the region, Rivier conferred honorary degrees on Margaret “Peggy” Gilmour, Founder and former President of Home Health and Hospice Care; Lucille Jordan, President of Nashua Community College; and Rabbi Jonathan Spira-Savett of Temple Beth Abraham.
“Reverend Holtschneider and our Greater Nashua honorees are an inspiration to our graduates on the impact of faith-in-action and education as a catalyst for social change to advance the common good,” says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, President.
Rivier graduates Nikolas Pignone (B.S. Homeland and International Security) and Agnes Vataparthy (M.S. Computer Science) spoke on behalf of undergraduate and graduate students, respectively. Pignone reflected on the undergraduate student experience during the uncertainty of the pandemic and concluded, “We have learned life lessons about adaptability, strength, and perseverance that we can take into the world. All of these experiences have made us better and more grateful people in the end.”
Vataparthy shared her transformational experience as an international graduate student, traveling 7,685 miles from India to Rivier University to pursue a master’s degree in computer science. She acknowledged that each of her fellow graduates has a unique story with different goals, expectations, and cultural backgrounds, yet they all came together to share the Rivier experience.
In addition to celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2022-2023, the University continues to honor the canonization of its namesake, Saint Marie Rivier. The celebration at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome one year ago highlighted the qualities of faith, service, and love of neighbor that animated Saint Marie’s ministry in education and social service to the poor and vulnerable. Her ministry lives on through the works of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary across the world, the Rivier University community, and each graduate.
Offering an education grounded in the liberal arts and Catholic tradition, the University prepares students for the 21st-century workforce with more than 70 programs offered from the associate through doctoral level.