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Rivier University graduates largest class in its history at Commencement 2024

Commencement 2024 marks a major milestone in Rivier's history.

Rivier celebrated its 89th Commencement on May 12, awarding 912 degrees to associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree graduates—the largest class in the University’s history. The event recognized the importance of diversity, inclusivity, and opportunity in education as catalysts to personal and professional achievement, and the significance of service in advancing the common good. The University honored Judge Talesha L. Saint-Marc, United States Magistrate Judge for the District of New Hampshire and Vice Chair of the Rivier Board of Trustees, as its Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient.

Judge Saint-Marc’s speech challenged students to dream big, to choose courage over comfort, and to be kind as they pursue their life and career goals. Encouraging graduates to forever embrace Rivier’s mission—transforming hearts and minds to serve the world—Judge Saint-Marc offered, “I challenge you to emit kindness and to find ways to create community. Instead of emphasizing the ways we are different, focus on our communal commonality—the desire to improve our current condition and leave the next generation in a better position.”

Rivier University Commencement 2024

Judge Talesha L. Saint-Marc, United States Magistrate Judge for the District of New Hampshire

Judge Saint-Marc made history in 2023 as the first African American judge appointed to serve on the federal bench in New Hampshire. Prior to her appointment as Magistrate Judge, she specialized in labor and employment law with Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, P.A. and became a shareholder in the firm in 2019. A lifelong New Hampshire resident, Judge Saint-March has served on the Boards of several prominent legal and nonprofit organizations in New Hampshire.

“Judge Saint-Marc’s leadership and many accomplishments demonstrate the power of education, perseverance, and service to make a difference in the trajectory of one’s own life and the lives of so many others,” says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, President.

Rivier graduates Ezekiel Haradji (M.A.T. in Middle/Secondary Education) and Renee Merchant (B.A. in English) spoke on behalf of graduate and undergraduate students, respectively. Haradji reflected on the transformational experience of education; specifically, the many experiences and people that influence students’ lives. “By the experiences we gained in this community, we realize that it takes only one professor to transform your heart and mind to serve the world,” shared Haradji. “For many of us, there are multiple people here today who contributed to painting the picture of who we are. We are eternally grateful.”

Merchant reflected on the willingness to embrace change as a key factor in intellectual growth and community advancement. “Class of 2024, as we prepare to embark on our individual journeys, as we step out into the world, let us use our education to be agents for positive change … knowing that it is through change that we can grow and together create a better world.”

The Commencement ceremony took place at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Offering an education grounded in liberal education and Catholic tradition, the University prepares students for the 21st-century workforce with more than 60 programs offered from the associate through doctoral level.