President's Corner

What I'm Up To Paul LeBlanc

reading
I'm reading:

Colson Whitehead's Underground Railroad may be close to a flawless novel. Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer, it chronicles the lives of two runaway slaves, Cora and Caeser, as they try to escape the hell of plantation life in Georgia. It is an often searing novel and Cora is one of the great heroes of American literature. I would make this mandatory reading in every high school in America, especially in light of the absurd revisionist narratives of “happy and well cared for” slaves. This is a genuinely great novel, one of the best I’ve read, the magical realism and conflating of time periods lifts it to another realm of social commentary, relevance, and a blazing indictment of America’s Original Sin, for which we remain unabsolved.

watching
I'm watching:

I thought I knew about The Pentagon Papers, but The Post, a real-life political thriller from Steven Spielberg taught me a lot, features some of our greatest actors, and is so timely given the assault on our democratic institutions and with a presidency out of control. It is a reminder that a free and fearless press is a powerful part of our democracy, always among the first targets of despots everywhere. The story revolves around the legendary Post owner and D.C. doyenne, Katharine Graham. I had the opportunity to see her son, Don Graham, right after he saw the film, and he raved about Meryl Streep’s portrayal of his mother. Liked it a lot more than I expected.

listening
I'm listening to:

I’ve always liked Alicia Keys and admired her social activism, but I am hooked on her last album Here. This feels like an album finally commensurate with her anger, activism, hope, and grit. More R&B and Hip Hop than is typical for her, I think this album moves into an echelon inhabited by a Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On or Beyonce’s Formation. Social activism and outrage rarely make great novels, but they often fuel great popular music. Here is a terrific example.

tweeting
I'm tweeting at @snhuprez:

Pop Picks

Pop Picks – May 24, 2018

Posted on May 24, 2018

May 24, 2018 What I’m listening to: I’ve always liked Alicia Keys and admired her social activism, but I am hooked on her last album Here. This feels like an album finally commensurate with her anger, activism, hope, and grit. More R&B and Hip Hop than is typical for her, I think this album moves into […]

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A President's Reflections

What a Weekend: Commencement Highlights and A Hearty Thank You

Posted on May 23, 2018

Just over a week ago, more than 19,000 students graduated from SNHU and nearly 6,000 walked at four ceremonies over two days in Manchester, New Hampshire. Collectively, our graduates traveled more than 3.8 million miles to attend Commencement and receive their hard-earned diplomas. It was emotional for our students and their families and it was […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – April 27, 2018

Posted on April 27, 2018

April 27, 2018 What I’m listening to: I mentioned John Prine in a recent post and then on the heels of that mention, he has released a new album, The Tree of Forgiveness, his first new album in ten years. Prine is beloved by other singer songwriters and often praised by the inscrutable God that […]

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People and Places

Of Fado, Longing, and National Character

Posted on April 25, 2018

I’m speaking at EUNIS 2018 in Porto, Portugal this week. EUNIS is a meeting of the heads of European universities and John O’Brien, President and CEO of EDUCAUSE, and I will be the Americans in attendance and speaking. Having to be there on Wednesday, we decided to take the first two days of the week […]

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A President's Reflections

Reflections on Receiving the Theodore M. Hesburgh Award

Posted on March 21, 2018

I recently received the TIAA Institute’s Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education (phew, that’s a mouthful), named for the storied president of Notre Dame, Father Ted Hesburgh. In front of a packed ballroom of some 2,000 colleagues from across higher education, I accepted the award (here’s the video) and as I’ve […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – March 18, 2018

Posted on March 18, 2018

March 18, 2018 What I’m listening to: Sitting on a plane for hours (and many more to go; geez, Australia is far away) is a great opportunity to listen to new music and to revisit old favorites. This time, it is Lucy Dacus and her album Historians, the new sophomore release from a 22-year old […]

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A President's Reflections

Pop Picks – March 8, 2018

Posted on March 8, 2018

March 8, 2018 What I’m listening to: We have a family challenge to compile our Top 100 songs. It is painful. Only 100? No more than three songs by one artist? Wait, why is M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” on my list? Should it just be The Clash from whom she samples? Can I admit to guilty […]

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A President's Reflections

Funding the Dream & Living Our Mission

Posted on March 7, 2018

We announced on March 1 a new initiative to educate 1,000 DACA recipients across the country using our affordable, high quality, competency-based degree program, College for America. The initiative came about when Ed Shapiro, a generous supporter of some of our work with refugees, asked what we might do for DREAMers, the name given to […]

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A President's Reflections

Balancing the Polarities: the Challenge of Leading in a Complex World

Posted on February 13, 2018

Back in the 1930s, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” We live in an era where that ability seems to elude many, especially our politicians, who often stake out […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – Feb. 12, 2018

Posted on February 12, 2018

February 12, 2018 What I’m listening to: So, I have a lot of friends of age (I know you’re thinking 40s, but I just turned 60) who are frozen in whatever era of music they enjoyed in college or maybe even in their thirties. There are lots of times when I reach back into the […]

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