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Rivier University honors accomplishments of 2021 graduates at 86th Commencement

Rivier University celebrated its 86th Commencement on May 17, awarding 607 degrees to associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree graduates. The event was held outside at Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester.

Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, President addressed graduates. “To the graduating Class of 2021, you are proof positive that the mission of Rivier University—transforming hearts and minds to serve the world—has taken root. Congratulations on your achievement. Congratulations on a day that marks both a formal conclusion and a new beginning,” said Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Rivier’s President.

Student speaker Libby Machakos of New Boston, New Hampshire, earned her B.A. in Sociology, summa cum laude. She spoke with pride of her fellow graduates’ resiliency in the face of adversity. “Earning an undergraduate degree is quite an achievement,” said Machakos. “To get to where you sit today took a significant amount of perseverance, focus, sacrifice, and hard work … Even when it seemed like the world was falling apart, we persisted. As the Class of 2021, we represent the next generation of doctors, nurses, teachers, and entrepreneurs.”

Favour Ayuk Tangban of Nashua, New Hampshire, an international student from Wuse Abuja, Nigeria, received her Master of Education in School Counseling degree and spoke on behalf of graduate students. She addressed the shared mission of service embraced by the University and its graduates. “Rivier is a university that serves its community wholeheartedly. I am proud to be a part of an institution that transforms hearts and minds to serve the world, while generously leading by example. During the global pandemic, Rivier provided support for its students. It also partnered with United Way of Greater Nashua to provide essential supplies for those in need. In such a troubling time, Rivier University showed us that surrendering to service is the most human thing to do.”

Among the graduates, are nine Project Advance scholarship students who entered as licensed practical nurses (LPNs) employed at Catholic Charities New Hampshire rehabilitation and long-term care nursing centers. Through the vision and generosity of an anonymous University donor, these students received full scholarships and earned their Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree and preparation for registered nurse (RN) licensure.

Project Advance students have worked incredibly hard to achieve their dreams, all while caring for patients in skilled nursing facilities during an unprecedented public health crisis,” shares Dr. Paula Williams, Dean of the Division of Nursing and Health Professions. “Their determination and perseverance are an inspiration, and it was our privilege to celebrate their accomplishments during this year’s Commencement ceremony.”

The University had an exceptional academic year, celebrating the opening of its new, 36,000-square-foot Science and Innovation Center in the fall and recently awarded the 2021 Education Business of the Year by Business NH and the NH Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. This award celebrates excellence in New Hampshire’s business community and recognizes Rivier’s position as a leader in higher education, preparing the largest number of nurses in the state and graduating exceptional teachers, educational administrators, and business/community leaders that serve at the forefront of New Hampshire industries and organizations.

Offering an education grounded in the liberal arts and Catholic tradition, the University prepares students for the 21st-century workforce and offers a unique promise of employment to undergraduate students. Rivier’s mission of transforming hearts and minds to serve the world is demonstrated through its academic programs in nursing, biology, public health, business, computer science, education, counseling, psychology, and more.

View photos from the event on the Rivier University Facebook page.