Welcome to the Gregory J. Grappone ’04 Humanities Institute’s 2021-2022 Big Thought Series: A River Runs Through Us

Whether we are aware of it or not, The Merrimack River—quietly and forcefully-- runs through all of our lives in ways far beyond the water we drink. Join us for a year-long exploration of the geographical, ecological, biological, historical, economic, and cultural relationship we all share with the Merrimack River.

Spring 2022

Date Topic Location

Tuesday,  January 25,         4 p.m.

What is in that Water You Are Drinking from
the Merrimack River?

Biology Professor Brian Penney will lead his Ecology students in presenting fall research findings. Former VP of Pennichuck Water Service Corporation and Saint Anselm alumna Bernie Rousseau will give an accompanying talk.

Melucci Auditorium of the Jean Center

Tuesday, February 15,       7 p.m. 

The Merrimack’s Homeless Populations 

The Anselmian Network for Racial Justice will host a panel discussion on issues facing the homeless population who live by the Merrimack River. Delta Epsilon Sigma will coordinate a necessities drive to go along with the event.

Jean Event Center 


Thursday,    March 3,
7 p.m.

When the River was a Highway

Plymouth State University Professor Emerita Marcia Schmidt Blaine will explore the 18th and 19th century views of the Merrimack when the river served as a highway for European incursion and settlement.

Jean Event Center


Tuesday,     March 22,
4 p.m.

Reflections on Climate Change and the
Merrimack River

Physics Professor Ian Durham and students from his Fall Climate Change class will give a short presentation on the predicted effects of climate change on the Merrimack River and will lead a discussion on possible mitigation policies.

Jean Event Center


Thursday,    March 24,
7 p.m.

Franco-American Immigrants and the
Merrimack River

Robert B. Perreault will discuss French Canadian immigration to Manchester in the 19th and 20thcenturies. Keith Chevalier, Geisel Library, will help facilitate this discussion.

Jean Event Center


Thursday,      April 7,
4 p.m.

The Daoist Vision of Seeing Ourselves in Nature and Nature in Ourselves

Theology Professor Bede Benjamin Bidlack will demonstrate that a river runs through all of us with historical and cultural reflections along with an interactive exercise for participants.

Jean Event Center




Thursday,      April 14,
7 p.m.



A Celebration of Music and Literature from
the Merrimack River

Joe Deleault and Gary Bouchard will lead an evening of music, poetry, and prose inspired by the Merrimack River watershed. A Community Art Exhibit of Merrimack River-inspired art, assembled by the Goffstown Library, will be on display in the Dana Center lobby during the month of April.

Koonz Theater

Program Co-Sponsors 

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, The Goffstown Public Library, Goffstown Public Works, The Millyard Museum in Manchester, The Geisel Library, The Departments of Biology, Criminal Justice, English, History, Physics, Theology at Saint Anselm College.