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April 03. 2012 11:28PM

Rivier College set to become a university

NASHUA — With a new president in place and an updated strategic plan being developed, Rivier College officials are attempting to upgrade the school from a college to a university.

“In most countries other than the United States, the word ‘college' means high school,” said Sister Paula Marie Buley, Rivier College president. “So with our international initiative, we want to make sure that we introduce Rivier appropriately.”

It is her hope that by becoming a university, the school will attract more students.

In December, the New Hampshire Higher Education Commission approved the college's proposal to change its status to a university, a move Buley says is supported by Nashua legislators.

Although she must await final approval from the state, she is optimistic.

“But I'm cautious until I get that letter,” she said, adding it is her hope the college will become a university by July 1.

“Rivier is a terrific place, and poised to take this next step. University status make sense for us,” she said.

With about 2,300 students and more than 800 graduate students, along with a doctoral program in educational leadership and a proposed doctoral program in counseling psychology, Buley said the school is moving to attract students from outside of New Hampshire and New England.

“We are really recruiting without any state boundaries,” she said.

The university designation will project the real image of Rivier's comprehensive educational opportunities, according to Buley, who said the school's previous administration worked hard to make the move feasible.

Buley began as the institution's president last August, replacing outgoing president Dr. William Farrell, who retired.

The school also is adding two new bachelor degree programs, in global studies and in transnational security.

To celebrate the anticipated change from a college to a university, the president of Georgetown University, Dr. John J. DeGioia, will serve as the commencement speaker for Rivier's 77th commencement on May 12. DeGioia will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

“Dr. DeGioia will extend an official welcome to the Rivier community from the first Catholic University in the country as we anticipate our status change to the newest American Catholic University,” said Buley.


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