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Sister Paula Marie Buley, president of Rivier University, speaks at a Thursday event celebrating the school's new university status, as Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, state Sen. Jim Luther and other local officials look on.
Friday, September 14, 2012

For Rivier, changing to university means a more global reach

NASHUA – About two months after Rivier College became Rivier University, the institution celebrated the change Thursday with students, alumni, administrators and city officials.

Nashua state Sens. Jim Luther and Gary Lambert, members of the Rivier board of trustees, alumni and current students crowded the university’s Dion Center to take part in the event.

Mayor Donnalee Lozeau issued a proclamation, honoring Rivier’s university status.

Rivier President Sister Paula Marie Buley, however, was more interested in thanking those who helped the institution along the way.

“This afternoon celebrates you,” she told the crowd. “It celebrates the present and our many partners in Nashua and beyond.”

Board of trustees Chairman Jamison Hoff also addressed the crowd, saying she was looking forward to see what the institution would do for its students and the community in years to come.

“It’s good to have a new university in Nashua, a new university in New Hampshire, and a good university in New England,” she said.

Rivier officially became a university July 1, and hopes the name change will be a game-changer, especially in its global outreach to students in other countries.

While the name change did not mean any real structural change for the school, it had to undergo a lot of physical changes, revamping signs and apparel, websites and even a billboard along the Everett Turnpike.

Going forward, university officials say the change will be focused on the university’s global engagement.

This summer, Rivier hired Mark Meehan as the associate vice president of global engagement.

At Thursday’s celebration, Meehan said he’s enjoyed getting to know Nashua and Rivier and shared plans for future growth with the crowd gathered.

Engaging with cultures and people around the globe, he said, is in the university’s DNA. And for today’s students, who have grown up with computers, Internet and video chats, it no longer seems like a daunting task.

“We have a generation of students who have grown up without boundaries,” Meehan said.

Focusing on not only sending more students to foreign countries, but also bringing international students to Nashua will be one key way the university seeks to engage its students in other cultures.

Locally, the school will partner with organizations that aid refugees and other individuals, and build a Global Teleconference Center on campus, to allow professors and students to research and work with students and educators from around the world.

“The borders are falling away,” Meehan said.

The school also opened two new bachelor’s and master’s degree programs this fall, including bachelor’s degrees in global studies and transnational security, and master’s degrees in special education.

Two doctoral programs will be added in fall 2013, including doctoral degrees in counseling psychology and in school psychology.

Danielle Curtis can be reached at 594-6557 or dcurtis@nashua telegraph.com. Also follow Curtis on Twitter (Telegraph_DC).