Alumni, Archival photographs, Sisters of the Presentation of Mary

Travel…With a Mission

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” –Confucius

Those of us who are fortunate enough to travel to other parts of the world, do so for many reasons.  In 1996 and 1997, Sr. Jacqueline LeBlanc (then head of Campus Ministry) led Mission trips to Haiti, where she and the group ministered to the poor and the ill.

There are two photo albums in the Archives detailing this trip:  The participants saw unimaginable illness, devastation and poverty….yet they also found love, friendship and beauty at every turn.  Below are just a few photos from these trips:


Blessed Anne-Marie Rivier, Sister Madeleine of Jesus, Sisters of the Presentation of Mary

Heritage Day: Two Women

“I have come to kindle a fire…” –Blessed Anne Marie Rivier

Today, we celebrate the heritage of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, and of Rivier University.    There is much to explore in regards to the Sisters, the University, and the many people who have made it what it is.  Ultimately, though, Rivier’s history comes down to two women, born generations apart, who shared a vision of education, faith, and charity. : Blessed Anne Marie Rivier, the Foundress of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, and Sister Madeleine of Jesus, who founded Rivier.

In honor of Heritage Day, we thought it appropriate to share two artistic renderings of these two great women:

Plaster plaque of Anne Marie Rivier, made by Bernarde and Nieri.


sr madeleine statue
Wooden statue of Sr. Madeleine of Jesus, pm. Sculpted by Elise B. Tougas, ’48 in 1983
Archival photographs, Special events

Star Struck

“Celebrities are just like anyone else….they put their pants on one leg at a time…” …this is certainly true, but even the most self-possessed among us must admit some level of admiration for their talents and experiences.  Have you ever met a celebrity?  What was that experience like?

Back in the 1990s, Rivier hosted or sponsored a number of famous folks for our community.  Here are just a few of those special events.  Enjoy!

Billy Joel provided “An Evening of Questions and Answers….and a Little Music” on May 2, 1996.
George Carlin brought his unique comedy act to Nashua on November 21, 1996.
Ted Williams attended the Tamposi Dinner in 1997.
Rivier sponsored this LL Cool J concert in 1998.
Maya Angelou visited Rivier in 1999 and spoke about her life experiences.

Merry Christmas from the Archives

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” — Hamilton Wright Mabie

Ready or not, the Christmas season has begun.  In the coming weeks, many of us will start purchasing Christmas-themed postage stamps and writing out our Christmas cards (no need to discuss those over-achievers who sent theirs the day after Thanksgiving), thus reconnecting with loved ones near and far.

Of course, we can certainly choose to send electronic Christmas cards. We are busy people, and e-greetings are convenient, economical, and environmentally friendly.  And ultimately, what matters is that we send good cheer to our loved ones; the format of said cheer is far less important.

But we admit: there’s something sweet and exceptionally heartwarming about receiving a paper Christmas card.  A paper card is a special keepsake; it says “I thought of you. I took some time to write to you.”  Old-school Christmas cards are a tradition that cannot be easily deleted.

Here are some lovely examples of Christmas cards sent by Rivier’s administration in past years:


Alumni, Music, Student talent

Perfect Harmony

“There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done / Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.” — The Beatles

The Beatles weren’t the only musical game in town back in the early ‘sixties.

The Expresso 6 was a group of Rivier students, which included: Pat Burns, Jane Comeau, Mary Lyn Devan, Margot Desjardins, Ginny Joyce,  Lea Legasse, and Susan Zata.  These young women performed popular folk tunes on campus; in May 1964, after several years of live performances, they recorded an album of their favorite songs.  We at the Archives are fortunate enough to have an autographed copy.

Front cover of “The Expresso Six” album. Did you recognize Memorial Hall in the background?
Liner notes for “The Expresso Six,” complete with photos taken on the Rivier campus.


Alumni, Art, Special events, Student Artwork


Serendipity (noun):  Finding something good without looking for it.
We did not expect to find Mickey Mouse sitting on a shelf at the Archives last week…but lo, we did.
The black-and-white picture below was painted by a Rivier student, and was showcased at R-Aid Day in 1989.   According to Archivist Sister Lorraine Arsenault and Librarian Elaine Bean, R-Aid Days were an annual event at Rivier years ago.  R-Aid days were held to generate campus spirit, as well as revenue for campus-wide activities.
Raid Day Mickey Mouse
Painting of Mickey Mouse, for R-Aid Day 1989. Artist: Michele Debatis, B’90.

Classic Style

“Style is an accessory to substance.”–unknown

Spend some time in the Archives, and you’re guaranteed to make unexpected discoveries.  While searching for another artifact entirely, we came across these Rivier-themed “fashion extras” from years ago:


Rivier Hats
Assorted Rivier College hats and beanies, c. 1940-1950. Back in the early years of the college, prior to Vatican II, females attending Mass were required to cover their heads.  According to Archivist Sister Lorraine Arsenault, these hats were kept at Resurrection Chapel, for any student who had forgotten her veil.
“Key” pin and matching earrings, with Rivier seal, c. 1956-1960. Purchased from Phillip Morris Store, Main Street, Nashua. Donated by Sandra Axton, class of 1960
Archival photographs, Past and present


“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

Traditionally, a university’s archway serves as a threshold, both literally and metaphorically.  Step through those gates, and you are welcomed on to the physical campus…and you begin whatever journey is meant for you.

We welcomed our students for the Fall 2017 semester last week. We hope that each of them feels comfortable and accepted as they each begin their respective paths in life.

Here is a look at Rivier’s original “welcome sign.”

The Rivier College Arch at its original location, circa 1941. This was taken before the City of Nashua widened the Daniel Webster highway. Resurrection Chapel is on the right hand side, behind the trees; Madeleine Hall is visible behind the car.
In 2014, the original arch was relocated to the entrance of our beautiful Sunken Garden

A Familiar Ring

“All that is gold does not glitter / Not all those who wander are lost / The old that is strong does not wither / Deep roots are not reached by the frost.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

The class ring seems to be one of those things that seniors get excited about, wear for a while, and then put away.  Nonetheless, it’s a unique sort of keepsake. It tells a story about the wearer:  their alma mater,  perhaps their profession, sometimes a favorite quotation….and it signifies the achievement of a college education.

Do you have a class ring?  Find it and take a good look at it.  Maybe it will bring back some fond memories for you, or remind you of a graduation goal you still have to achieve.  If you’re so inclined, go ahead and wear it today…. perhaps you’ll make a new connection with someone who notices and remarks about it.

Below are two examples of Rivier class rings from decades ago:

Rivier College class ring, 1957. Donated to the Archives by Marcelle Chenard, ’57
Rivier College class ring, 1965. Donated to the Archives by Sr. Joan Joyal, ’65

Orientation week

“Life is either a great adventure, or nothing.” –Helen Keller

We’re welcoming our new students for Orientation this week.  Here’s where our incoming students will get to know one another,  meet the faculty,  get familiar with our campus, and get a taste of dorm life before it all begins in earnest this fall.

Judging from the expressions on their faces, these young adults are feeling a mixture of excitement, nervousness, and perhaps fatigue (they’re learning the challenges of getting a good night’s sleep in a dormitory, after all).  Ideally,  they will gain confidence through this experience, and go home for the summer knowing that this is the right place for them for the next four years.

In the spirit of Orientation week, here are some “New Student” relics from our past:

Rivier Student Handbook and Resident Information Guide, 1969
Buttons for incoming Freshman Orientation, c. 1990