Dr. Jacqueline Rivers to Speak at 2018 Convocation | Benedictine College

Opening Convocation Set for August 28

Published: Thursday, August 9, 2018

Jacqueline RiversBenedictine College will celebrate the start of another record-setting academic year on Tuesday, Aug. 28, with a formal All School Mass at 9:30 a.m. in St. Benedict’s Abbey Church, followed by the traditional Opening Convocation in the Ralph Nolan Gymnasium at 11:00 a.m. Benedictine College alumnus Reverend Joseph C. Tatro ’92, from the Diocese of Wichita, will deliver the homily at the Mass. The annual Convocation signals the end of “Beanie Week” at the college and features a keynote speaker. This year, Dr. Jacqueline C. Rivers, Executive Director of the Seymour Institute on Black Church and Policy Studies, will address the gathering.

In addition to her role at the Seymour Institute, Dr. Rivers is also a Doctoral Fellow in the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy of the J. F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard Kennedy School and is a Graduate Research Fellow of the National Science Foundation. 

Born and raised in Jamaica, she earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology & Social Relations from Harvard University, with an emphasis on Cognitive Psychology. She completed her Ph.D. in Sociology and African-American Studies at Harvard in 2014. She was the founder and Executive Director of MathPower, a leading community based non-profit in Boston for mathematics education reform in urban schools. From 2001-2004 she also served as Executive Director for the National TenPoint Leadership Foundation.

She has worked on issues of social justice and Christian activism in the black community for more than 30 years, committing her personal and professional life in service to the inner city youth of Boston. She is currently involved in research that contributes to the understanding and improvement of black academic underachievement, with a focus on culture, family and schools. She lives in Dorchester, Massachusetts, with her husband, Reverend Eugene F. Rivers, III, a noted political advisor on faith-based initiatives and crusader against gang violence. He will address the Benedictine College Black Student Union and Gregorian Fellows on the evening of August 27 and will receive the “Do Something Beautiful for God” Award during the Convocation.

Following the keynote address, the freshman class will be welcomed into the community of Ravens and will remove their beanies. The practice of freshmen wearing beanies dates back generations and Benedictine College may be the only college in America that still observes the tradition. This year, the college is celebrating the largest incoming freshman class in the history of the school, with more than 570 beginning freshmen for Fall 2018.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.