President's Corner

What I'm Up To Paul LeBlanc

reading
I'm reading:

A textual analog to Drive-By Truckers by Chris Stapleton in many ways is Tony Horowitz’s 1998 Pulitzer Prize winning Confederates in the Attic. Ostensibly about the Civil War and the South’s ongoing attachment to it, it is prescient and speaks eloquently to the times in which we live (where every southern state but Virginia voted for President Trump). Often hilarious, it too surfaces complexities and nuance that escape a more recent, and widely acclaimed, book like Hillbilly Elegy. As a Civil War fan, it was also astonishing in many instances, especially when it blows apart long-held “truths” about the war, such as the degree to which Sherman burned down the south (he did not). Like D-B Truckers, Horowitz loves the South and the people he encounters, even as he grapples with its myths of victimhood and exceptionalism (and racism, which may be no more than the racism in the north, but of a different kind). Everyone should read this book and I’m embarrassed I’m so late to it.

watching
I'm watching:

David Letterman has a new Netflix show called “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” and we watched the first episode, in which Letterman interviewed Barack Obama. It was extraordinary (if you don’t have Netflix, get it just to watch this show); not only because we were reminded of Obama’s smarts, grace, and humanity (and humor), but because we saw a side of Letterman we didn’t know existed. His personal reflections on Selma were raw and powerful, almost painful. He will do five more episodes with “extraordinary individuals” and if they are anything like the first, this might be the very best work of his career and one of the best things on television.

listening
I'm listening to:

Drive-By Truckers. Chris Stapleton has me on an unusual (for me) country theme and I discovered these guys to my great delight. They’ve been around, with some 11 albums, but the newest one is fascinating. It’s a deep dive into Southern alienation and the white working-class world often associated with our current president. I admire the willingness to lay bare, in kick ass rock songs, the complexities and pain at work among people we too quickly place into overly simple categories. These guys are brave, bold, and thoughtful as hell, while producing songs I didn’t expect to like, but that I keep playing. And they are coming to NH.

tweeting
I'm tweeting at @snhuprez:

People and Places

A Lesson from Argentina on Climate Change

Posted on January 15, 2018

We recently did a family trip to Argentina. In trying to better understand Argentina’s history and ongoing struggles with inflation, corruption, and wealth inequity, I asked our guide about his theory on the source of the issue. He posited that there was an enormous opportunity for Argentina at the end of WWII, when Europe and Asia […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – Jan. 15, 2018

Posted on January 15, 2018

  January 15, 2018   What I’m listening to: Drive-By Truckers. Chris Stapleton has me on an unusual (for me) country theme and I discovered these guys to my great delight. They’ve been around, with some 11 albums, but the newest one is fascinating. It’s a deep dive into Southern alienation and the white working-class […]

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A President's Reflections

Why Travel?

Posted on January 4, 2018

Growing up in a working-class family in Waltham, the only people in the neighborhood who traveled and had been outside the U.S. were the unlucky older brothers and cousins whose draft number had come up and were sent off to Vietnam. The closest thing to a vacation we ever had was a trip back across the […]

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collage

2017: Our Best Year Yet

Posted on December 27, 2017

2017 was an incredible year at SNHU. Maybe our best yet. I am grateful for many things, but as we head into the holiday season, I wanted to take a few minutes to share some highlights from the year.   1. Our Students Always, always, we start with our students. As we say in our Mission […]

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People and Places

Hell’s Nerds, a Week in Arizona by Motorcycle

Posted on November 13, 2017

It has become commonplace for people taking motorcycle trips to make two observations: that riding a motorcycle is like meditation and that meeting “locals” across the country is a reminder that people are mostly good and kind, even when they seem so different than the rider.  Four friends and I just completed a 1400 mile, […]

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A President's Reflections

Picking Good Fights and Playing in the Traffic: My Thoughts on Leadership

Posted on November 3, 2017

I’ve long read Adam Bryant’s “CEO Corner” piece in the NY Times, a weekly interview with CEOs reflecting on leadership and their own practices.  Last week, Bryant wrote the final column, a distillation of his favorite takeaways and reflections.  For those interested in leadership, it’s worth the read. I think about the topic quite often.  […]

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SNHU News

SNHU Welcomes New Board Members

Posted on October 13, 2017

Today, I’m thrilled to welcome three new Trustees to the SNHU community, who join us with diverse backgrounds and skill sets.  We knew we had key gaps to fill, needing an experienced attorney on the Board, someone with government experience, and someone with deep background in finance and investments. Last fall, I also shared with […]

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A President's Reflections

Never Stop Learning: A Memo to the Campus Community

Posted on October 2, 2017

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen our society more politically divided, our national dialogue less civil, or our differences seemingly more stark and less tolerated.   Perhaps driven by the national election and the media on both sides of the political aisle, those tensions have seeped into every aspect of daily life.  Family gatherings have become […]

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Pepper the Robot

Board Meeting update from Palo Alto: A Foray into the Future

Posted on September 28, 2017

TheSNHU Board of Trustees sets aside one of its three annual meetings as a “learning meeting,” traveling somewhere to learn more about some aspect of the work we do. We did D.C. a couple of years ago, doing a deep dive into higher education policy. Earlier this year we met in Palo Alto, making a foray […]

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A President's Reflections

A Moral Duty: Why SNHU is Expanding Refugee Education Across the Globe

Posted on September 28, 2017

  I write this blog while on a flight to Beirut, where I’ll meet our dynamic duo of Chrystina Russell and Nina Weaver, the fearless and passionate leaders of our effort to bring American college education to refugees around the world. We’re meeting with our partner in Lebanon, the American University of Beirut (seen as […]

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