President's Corner

What I'm Up To Paul LeBlanc

reading
I'm reading:

Colson Whitehead has done it again. The Nickel Boys, his new novel, is a worthy successor to his masterpiece The Underground Railroad, and because it is closer to our time, based on the real-life horrors of a Florida reform school, and written a time of resurgent White Supremacy, it hits even harder and with more urgency than its predecessor. Maybe because we can read Underground Railroad with a sense of “that was history,” but one can’t read Nickel Boys without the lurking feeling that such horrors persist today and the monsters that perpetrate such horrors walk among us. They often hold press conferences.

watching
I'm watching:

Queer Eye, the Netflix remake of the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy some ten years later, is wondrously entertaining, but it also feels adroitly aligned with our dysfunctional times. Episode three has a conversation with Karamo Brown, one of the fab five, and a Georgia small town cop (and Trump supporter) that feels unscripted and unexpected and reminds us of how little actual conversation seems to be taking place in our divided country. Oh, for more car rides such as the one they take in that moment, when a chasm is bridged, if only for a few minutes. Set in the South, it is often a refreshing and affirming response to what it means to be male at a time of toxic masculinity and the overdue catharsis and pain of the #MeToo movement. Did I mention? It’s really fun.

listening
I'm listening to:

I usually go to music here, but the New York Times new 1619 podcast is just terrific, as is the whole project, which observes the sale of the first enslaved human beings on our shores 400 years ago. The first episode, “The Fight for a True Democracy” is a remarkable overview (in a mere 44 minutes) of the centrality of racism and slavery in the American story over those 400 years. It should be mandatory listening in every high school in the country. I’m eager for the next episodes. Side note: I am addicted to The Daily podcast, which gives more color and detail to the NY Times stories I read in print (yes, print), and reminds me of how smart and thoughtful are those journalists who give us real news. We need them now more than ever.

tweeting
I'm tweeting at @snhuprez:

A President's Reflections

Stepping Up Our Game: Climate Change Urgency Heats Up

Posted on September 4, 2019

SNHU MFA graduate Elizabeth Rush is a Pulitzer finalist for her book Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore. It’s a carefully observed survey of America’s vulnerable coasts and the looming (already here) impact of climate change and sea levels on our coastal eco-systems and, disproportionally, on our most vulnerable communities. It also reads as […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks — August 30, 2019

Posted on August 30, 2019

August 30, 2019 What I’m listening to:  I usually go to music here, but the New York Times new 1619 podcast is just terrific, as is the whole project, which observes the sale of the first enslaved human beings on our shores 400 years ago. The first episode, “The Fight for a True Democracy” is a remarkable overview (in […]

Read More »
Pop Picks

Pop Picks — July 1, 2019

Posted on July 1, 2019

July 1, 2019 What I’m listening to:  The National remains my favorite band and probably 50% of my listening time is a National album or playlist. Their new album I Am Easy To Find feels like a turning point record for the band, going from the moody, outsider introspection and doubt of lead singer Matt Berninger to […]

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A President's Reflections

When Our Students Teach Us So Much – A Report From Our Recent Africa Trip

Posted on June 12, 2019

I’ve just returned from almost three weeks of travel in Africa, covering four countries — Rwanda, South Africa, Malawi, and Namibia. I’ll share my reflections on the first three countries, which were site visits to the camps where we bring SNHU degrees to displaced people. I’ll follow up with a second blog post on our time […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks — May 19, 2019

Posted on May 19, 2019

May 19, 2019 What I’m listening to:  I usually go to music here, but I was really moved by this podcast of a Davis Brooks talk at the Commonwealth Club in Silicon Valley: https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/archive/podcast/david-brooks-quest-moral-life.  While I have long found myself distant from his political stance, he has come through a dark night of the soul and […]

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A President's Reflections
celebrate

Commencement 2019: Hope, Heroes, and Love

Posted on May 19, 2019

Click to expand infographic. I’ve been thinking a lot about our Commencement exercises a week ago. It was a special couple of days, record setting days really. We had this year some 21,000 graduates, many of them coming to Manchester to march and receive their diploma, in four ceremonies over two days. Yes, my hand […]

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A President's Reflections

Pop Picks – March 28, 2019

Posted on March 28, 2019

March 28, 2019 What I’m listening to:  There is a lovely piece played in a scene from A Place Called Home that I tracked down. It’s Erik Satie’s 3 Gymnopédies: Gymnopédie No. 1, played by the wonderful pianist Klára Körmendi. Satie composed this piece in 1888 and it was considered avant-garde and anti-Romantic. It’s minimalism and bit of dissonance sound […]

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A President's Reflections

What Gets Left Out and What Stays In: Reflections on Storytelling

Posted on March 28, 2019

When reporters reach out and tell us they are doing a story about SNHU, we always open our doors, welcome them in, and give them as much accurate information as we can. While not everyone agrees with me that we should do so (call it basic mistrust of the media), I have always felt that […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – February 11, 2019

Posted on February 11, 2019

February 11, 2019 What I’m listening to: Raphael Saadiq has been around for quite a while, as a musician, writer, and producer. He’s new to me and I love his old school R&B sound. Like Leon Bridges, he brings a contemporary freshness to the genre, sounding like a young Stevie Wonder (listen to “You’re The One That I […]

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A President's Reflections

Confronting Racism, Past and Present

Posted on February 11, 2019

Our Board of Trustees meets in mid-winter for what we have called a “learning retreat,” going with my leadership team to a place where we can expand our thinking, to learn from some other area of work or industry, and to engage with thinkers and doers in other fields. One year it was Washington, D.C., […]

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