Archival photographs, Past and present

How’s the Air up There?

“Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future.” — Sally Mann

It’s always fascinating to see something familiar from a different angle, and equally interesting to see how a place evolves over time.  We thought it would be fun to share these aerial photographs of Rivier, taken through the years:

Mid – 1950’s
1957, with notations
Detailed photo, 1964
aerial 1971
Archival photographs, Commencement

Commencement: Looking Back and Moving Ahead

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward.  You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” — Steve Jobs

Another academic year has come to a close.  The campus is quiet this week; we trust that this means our students survived Exams and are now off enjoying summer vacation.  And our members of the class of 2018 are looking forward to Rivier’s 83rd Commencement, which will be held this upcoming Sunday.

To our Graduates: As you focus on the bright future before you, we hope you look back fondly at your days here at Rivier.  We are pleased to have been a part of your journey in life, and grateful for the connection we will always share.

To “connect the dots” between our past and present, we’d like to share a few photos of Rivier’s earliest graduates:

Rivier College, Class of 1939
Rivier College, Class of 1940
Commencement program 1936 part 2
From the cover of Rivier’s Commencement Program in 1936. This is the entrance to the original campus in Hudson, New Hampshire. The Presentation of Mary Academy now occupies the site.
Rivier College, Class of 1943. This photo was taken at Rivier’s original campus in Hudson; the site is now Presentation of Mary Academy.



Archival photographs

Don’t Stress. Do your Best. Forget the Rest.

“Trust yourself.  You know more than you think you do.” — Dr. Benjamin Spock

Final Exams are about to begin, and although we do our best to provide “Relaxation Stations” to our students, there is a little bit of tension in the air.   All we can say to our students today is: we wish you success, and we have confidence that you will make it through and reach your goals.  Study hard, take a deep breath, and conquer those tests!

In honor of exam week, we thought we’d share a vintage photo of some Rivier students studying hard, circa 1940.

Rivier students studying for exams, c. 1940




Archival photographs

A Tranquil Place

“Wisdom grows in quiet places.” — Austin O’Malley

This April has been unseasonably cold and icy thus far, even by New Hampshire standards.  But, hopefully, warm spring days will come our way, and we can enjoy some of the lovely outdoor spaces on Rivier’s campus.   Our Sunken Garden, located behind Madeleine Hall, is one such spot.  It has undergone a few changes over the years, yet has always been a lovely, peaceful area:

The Sunken Garden, c. 1955
Sisters praying, c. 1955
Sisters praying, c. 1955
A tranquil scene in the sunken garden, 1989
“Lasting Impressions” bricks, commemorating Rivier’s 75th Anniversary, 2008
The original “Rivier College” Arch was relocated here in 2014; as referenced in our earlier post, Beginnings


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:


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.
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
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

Archival photographs, Lent, Past and present, Resurrection Chapel

Past and Present: Resurrection Chapel

“Create a clean heart in me, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”– Psalm 51.10

Crucifix at the Chapel, c. 1950

Ever since Rivier’s beginning, the chapel has served as a place of worship and prayer for students, sisters, faculty and staff alike. It was renovated twice; for the first time in 1963, and again in 2014.  The Lenten season seems like a perfect time to take a look at the chapel through the years.

Altar in the original chapel, c. 1950
Chapel Exterior, c. 1950, prior to first renovation.
Photo from first Chapel Renovations, c. 1963.  Hayward’s Ice Cream stand is in the background, right.  The barn / house on the left is where the Learning Commons currently stands.
Chapel Exterior, c. 1970
2017 chapel
Resurrection Chapel exterior, 2017


Archival photographs, Past and present, Regina Library

Past and present: The Regina Library



To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often. –Winston Churchill

Rivier University’s library was originally housed in Florence Hall until 1958, when the Regina Library was built.  Beginning in 2007, the library began building a new addition, which opened in June, 2008.


Over the years, the Regina Library has added space, resources and services; changes which have better helped it support the educational mission of Rivier University in its efforts to:

educate the whole person in the context of an academic community that cultivates critical thought, sound judgment and respect for all people. This community supports the intellectual growth of all its members while offering them opportunities for social, cultural, moral and spiritual development.