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Rivier University names 2023 Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipients

The University will award degrees to 794 associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral students at Commencement on May 14, 2023.

Commencement on May 14

Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Rivier’s President

Rivier University will honor The Reverend Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM, Ed.D., President of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, as Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient. The 88th Commencement ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 14, at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts at 10 a.m.

As the University celebrates the 90th anniversary of its founding, it will recognize the importance of faith, service, and diversity by awarding three additional honorary degrees to distinguished community leaders. Recognizing their contributions to the region, Rivier will confer 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’s belief in the power of knowledge to improve the human condition aligns directly with Rivier’s mission of transforming hearts and minds to service the world,” says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, President. “He 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.”

 Reverend Holtschneider is a member of the Congregation of the Mission also known as the Vincentians, committed to friendship and service to the poor. Deeply engaged in the work of higher education, his positions include academic leadership at St. John’s University, Executive Vice President at Niagara University, and thirteen years as President of DePaul University, Chicago, serving 23,000 students. He led the development of new facilities and programs with a vision of a global campus focused on academic innovation, partnerships, and diversity.

As a registered nurse, Margaret Gilmour established the first hospice in southern New Hampshire and then led the organization as President and CEO of Home Health and Hospice Care in navigating the challenges of illness and end-of-life care. An active contributor to many organizations, she serves on the Board of Directors for the National Hospice Foundation, Gateways Community Services, Steering Committee for the Hillsborough South Drug Court, and as a member of Rivier’s Nursing Advisory Council.

Under Lucille Jordan’s leadership, Nashua Community College has become a hub of opportunity and a catalyst for economic growth. She has spearheaded initiatives to expand access to education for under-represented populations, created new programs to meet workforce needs, and built partnerships that support the region’s fastest-growing industries in microelectronics, engineering and automotive technology, and cybersecurity. She has served as vice chairman of the National Campus Compact Board leading more than 600 presidents in advancing civic and social responsibility. She is chair of the New England Community College Council and the Greater Nashua United Way Youth Venture Partnership.

Rabbi Jonathan has served as the spiritual leader of Nashua’s Jewish community for fifteen years creating an open and welcoming environment for prayer, ritual, education, and service. Acknowledging the sacredness of every person, he works to foster greater understanding and cooperation among all faith communities as the past president of the Nashua Area Interfaith Council and now as Co-Coordinator of the Greater Nashua Faith Leader group.

The University will award degrees to 794 students at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. The ceremony takes place during the 90th anniversary year and celebrates the canonization of Saint Marie Rivier, the University’s namesake.