Pit Stop #5: Rivier University

The middle stop on ​Day 2​ of the ​NECHE ​road trip was ​in ​Nashua, New Hampshire, home of Rivier University, a four year Catholic institution offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. Rivier was founded in 1933 and ​name​d​ after the Blessed Anne-Marie Rivier, Foundress of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary. Her mission​,​ which very much lives on today at Rivier​,​ was to teach and serve the poor through social change and service to others. 

Today, ​Rivier enrolls over 2​,​000 students.  It was my treat to spend a little time with its President, Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM.

Larry Schall and President of Rivier, Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM meet before the big board of curiosity in the new Science & Innovation Center.

Like a few other presidents on this trip, President Buley and I both received our doctoral degrees from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. We met in Rivier’s brand spanking​-​new science building, a beautifully designed facility which serves a wide swath of Rivier’s hard-working STEM students.

Science & Innovation Ctr.
To God Through Science

Almost 1​,​000 of these students are in one form of nursing program or another, undergraduate and graduate alike. Beginning in 2014, Rivier began enrolling hundreds of students from India, but that all came to a crashing ​halt​ with the new administration in Washington. I think we all hope our country opens up again to students from around the world​,​ as they add so much to both the culture, and of course the finances, of our​ American educational​ institutions. 

Sister Paula and I had a chance to talk about the place of faith in this university setting. Two things she said to me really hit home:

  • The first was that respect for science is a deep, abiding and integral part of the intellectual tradition at Rivier. One can easily see that in Sister Paula’s obvious delight in all the resources and prods to scientific curiosity, evident in the center where we met.
  • Second, and perhaps even more impactful, is the question continually asked at Rivier: Who is my neighbor? When one comes to examine all phenomena through this lens, Sister Paula explained, you develop both a moral and scientific perspective on all the critically important issues of the day — from climate change to income inequality.
A contemplative life

I’m a Sister Paula fan. When you listen to my podcast with her below, I think you’ll join the club.

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