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Rivier University receives $2 million grant to educate the next generation of nurses

A generous grant from the Bedford Falls Foundation will aid scholarship recipients and expand Rivier’s undergraduate nursing program.

Rivier University has been awarded a $2 million grant by the Bedford Falls Foundation to launch the Joanne and William Conway Nursing Scholarship. The largest foundation gift in Rivier’s history, the transformative grant will increase enrollment of full-time undergraduate nursing students over the next five years and support the region’s workforce needs.

Joanne and William Conway Nursing ScholarshipThe Joanne and William Conway Nursing Scholarship will assist academically qualified students with unmet financial need enrolling in Rivier’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Conway Scholars will receive $20,000 over four years of study, significantly lowering or eliminating out-of-pocket costs to earn their bachelor’s degrees. A portion of the grant will be designated for returning Bachelor of Science in Nursing students with unmet financial need.

“The Bedford Falls Foundation’s impact on the education of nurses at universities throughout the east coast has been profound,” says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Rivier’s President. “This transformational gift will change the lives of our students, providing them with a path forward to their nursing career and lessening the financial burden. Rivier is deeply honored to be the recipient of this extraordinarily generous and impactful gift.”

The Bedford Falls Foundation, established by philanthropist and Nashua native Mr. William “Bill” Conway, Jr. and his late wife, Mrs. Joanne Barkett Conway, supports a wide range of charitable and educational causes in the eastern United States. “With a nationwide critical nursing shortage, if you can get a nursing degree, you can get a job, and yet many students struggle to afford the degree,” says Bill Conway. “By reducing the financial burden for nursing students at Rivier, we hope to give these students an opportunity for a rewarding career and also to improve the nursing pipeline.”

Conway Scholars will exercise a unique role of leadership within the Division of Nursing and Health Professions. “Our nursing students will be recognized for their academic diligence, service orientation, and the spirit of teamwork so necessary in the nursing profession” says Dr. Paula Williams, Dean of Nursing and Health Professions.

With nursing programs from the associate to doctoral level, Rivier is home to a cutting-edge Nursing Simulation and Clinical Education Center for hands-on learning and high-tech simulation. Opened in 2022, the state-of-the-art skills and simulation labs offer the newest technology for clinical assessment, community nursing, and telehealth simulation. Rivier has been recognized as the #1 nursing school in New Hampshire by Nursing Schools Almanac since 2022 and in the Top 50 of Private Nursing Schools in the nation.

Prospective nursing students can visit for admissions and scholarship information and contact the Office of Admissions at or (603) 897-8507.