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Rivier University names 2024 Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient

For her unwavering commitment to public service, equality, and enhancing the common good, Judge Talesha Saint-Marc has been named Rivier's 2024 honoree.

Judge Talesha L. Saint-Marc

Judge Talesha L. Saint-Marc

Rivier University will honor Judge Talesha L. Saint-Marc, Esq., United States Magistrate Judge for the District of New Hampshire, as Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient.

Vice Chair of the Rivier University Board of Trustees, Judge Saint-Marc made history in 2023 as the first African American judge appointed to serve on the federal bench in New Hampshire. The University will confer an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of her unwavering commitment to public service, equality and justice. The 89th Commencement ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 12, at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts.

“Judge Saint-Marc’s leadership and broad community engagement are an inspiration to Rivier students,” says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Rivier’s President. “Judge Saint-Marc demonstrates the power of education, perseverance, and a commitment to the common good.”

Judge Saint-Marc completed her undergraduate studies at Franklin Pierce University, summa cum laude, and received her law degree from Northeastern University in 2009. Upon graduation, she served three years as a law clerk in the New Hampshire Supreme and Superior Courts. Judge Saint-Marc went on to specialize in labor and employment law with Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, P.A., in Manchester, New Hampshire, becoming a shareholder in the firm in 2019.

A prominent leader in the legal community, Judge Saint-Marc is an active member of the New Hampshire Bar Association (NHBA). She is a graduate and past chair of the NHBA’s Leadership Academy, as well as past chair of NHBA’s Labor and Employment Section and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She previously served on the Board of the NH Women’s Bar Association as the Hillsborough County Representative and as Networking Director as well as on the Board of New Hampshire Legal Assistance.

Judge Saint-Marc is a lifelong New Hampshire resident and active participant in her local community. In addition to her dedicated service to Rivier University, she supports many organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Nashua, the Bishop Estee and Ida Newman Scholarship Fund, and the American Heart Association. She is president of the board of directors for the Circle Program, a nonprofit organization that provides skills- and confidence-building opportunities to girls from low-income families.

In recognition of her commitment and contributions, Judge Saint-Marc has received numerous awards. In 2018-2023, she was named a Super Lawyer Rising Star and a Super Lawyer. The following year, she was recognized as a member of New Hampshire’s “40 Under Forty” class, honored by the Union Leader. In 2021, she was listed among New Hampshire’s 200 most influential business leaders by the New Hampshire Business Review.

Rivier will award degrees to an estimated 867 students at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. The University is ranked as the #1 Nursing School in New Hampshire and is top-ranked for its online master’s programs. Serving on-campus and online learners, Rivier is a Catholic university with a mission of transforming hearts and minds to serve the world.