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Rivier University names new Director of Athletics to lead Raiders Division III program

Jonathan Harper returns to the Northeast to take the lead role in Rivier's Athletics program.

Director of AthleticsJonathan Harper has been named Director of Athletics at Rivier University. He will provide leadership for the Department of Athletics and will oversee all aspects of intercollegiate athletics for the University’s 15 NCAA Division III programs.

“Rivier is delighted to welcome Jonathan back to the New England region as he now joins the Raiders community,” says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Rivier’s President.

Harper served most recently as the Director of Athletics at Marymount California University. Prior to this position, he was the Director of Athletics at Newbury College and Assistant Director of Athletics at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. Harper was the Commissioner for the Little East Conference and East Coast Conference, as well as Assistant Commissioner for the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (New Haven, CT) and Northeast-10 Conference (South Easton, MA). In addition to his depth of experience in college athletics, Harper has served as an adjunct faculty member at Newbury College and Post University teaching courses in Sport Management, Business Management, and Communications.

As Director of Athletics, Harper will work collaboratively in further developing the student-athlete experience along with developing strategies for the next iteration of athletic competitiveness.

“I am honored and appreciative to be selected to lead the Rivier University athletics program,” says Harper. “The opportunity to return to New England and Division III is a dream come true.”

Harper will join the University on July 18, 2022, succeeding longtime Athletic Director Joanne Merrill who will stay on as Athletics Project Manager. Harper and his coaching staff will continue recruitment efforts and prepare for incoming and returning student-athletes in the fall.

Harper holds a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with a Concentration in Recreation from Bridgewater State University and a Master of Science in Education with Specialization in Sports Management from Nova Southeastern University.

Students interested in learning more about attending and playing on a Division III athletics team at Rivier University should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at (603) 897-8507. Through Rivier’s Early Acceptance Program, students are able to receive on-the-spot acceptance and $2,500 in incentives when they apply, interview, and tour campus by November 25. Interviews and tour dates can be scheduled online at