Christmas

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:

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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.

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

 

Alumni, Art, Special events, Student Artwork

R-I-V….I-E-R

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.
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Painting of Mickey Mouse, for R-Aid Day 1989. Artist: Michele Debatis, B’90.
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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.
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“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

Beginnings

“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.”

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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.
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In 2014, the original arch was relocated to the entrance of our beautiful Sunken Garden
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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:

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

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

Anyone for tea?

“A mother’s love is like a cup of tea; always there to comfort.” — unknown

Yes, Mother’s Day was a few weeks ago.  But this little gem appeared today and it is too sweet not to share.  It’s a program for a Mother -and Daughter tea hosted in 1938 by the Public Speaking class.

From the detail of the delicate teacup-shaped invitation, to the content of the presentation itself, it’s clear that a lot of time and care went into planning this event.   There was poetry, prose, and music–and, not surprisingly, a lovely mixture of both French and English presentations.  If only we had a menu outlining what they served with the tea….

Archival photographs, Sisters of the Presentation of Mary

A Safe Place to Learn

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” — Nelson Mandela

At first glance, this is a simple newsclipping from 1957.  It seems to be an ordinary photo of Sr. St. Ida instructing two students.  But if you read the caption, you will learn that these two students arrived at Rivier not simply to pursue professional goals, but to seek a safe haven from terror.

Far from being nondescript, this snapshot truly exemplifies the Sisters’ mission of “Transforming Hearts and Minds to Serve the World.”

Sister Ida and Hungarian Refugees

Commencement, Past and present

Commencement: Celebrating Endings and Beginnings

“All real education is the architecture of the soul.”  — William Bennett

The campus is fairly quiet this week. Final exams for the Spring semester are over; the dorms are mostly vacant.   Those of us who are still coming to work are pleased at the bounty of parking spaces.   And yet, there’s an air of anticipation and elation here on campus, too:  Rivier University’s 82nd Commencement Ceremony is just a few days away.

Here are just a few things that have changed over the years: Rivier has gone from being a College to a University; from women-only to co-educational.  Commencement exercises were once held on the original campus in Hudson; now they are held at a large arena.   Once upon a time, one could only watch the graduation in person; now, it’s live-streamed for many more to virtually “attend.”

Here is one thing that doesn’t change: The excitement about the possibilities ahead for our graduates.

Here is some memorabilia from Rivier’s Commencements past: from the very first Commencement in 1936, to Archbishop Desmond Tutu being honored in 2000:

 

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Rivier Commencement Program, 1943. Note that the program is in both French and English here.
Comencement Week Activities 1981
Schedule of activites for graduating seniors, 1981
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Sisters and Faculty at commencement, c. 1981
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Program from Baccalaureate Mass, 1994
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Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Honoree, 2000