President's Corner

What I'm Up To Paul LeBlanc

reading
I'm reading:

The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin. I am not a reader of fantasy or sci-fi, though I understand they can be powerful vehicles for addressing the very real challenges of the world in which we actually live. I’m not sure I know of a more vivid and gripping illustration of that fact than N. K. Jemisin’s Hugo Award winning novel The Fifth Season, first in her Broken Earth trilogy. It is astounding. It is the fantasy parallel to The Underground Railroad, my favorite recent read, a depiction of subjugation, power, casual violence, and a broken world in which our hero(s) struggle, suffer mightily, and still, somehow, give us hope. It is a tour de force book. How can someone be this good a writer? The first 30 pages pained me (always with this genre, one must learn a new, constructed world, and all of its operating physics and systems of order), and then I could not put it down. I panicked as I neared the end, not wanting to finish the book, and quickly ordered the Obelisk Gate, the second novel in the trilogy, and I can tell you now that I’ll be spending some goodly portion of my weekend in Jemisin’s other world.

watching
I'm watching:

Perhaps the best basketball player of this generation. I’ve come to deeply respect LeBron James as a person, a force for social good, and now as an extraordinary player at the peak of his powers. His superhuman play during the NBA playoffs now ranks with the all-time greats, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, MJ, Kobe, and the demi-god that was Bill Russell. That his Cavs lost in a 4-game sweep is no surprise. It was a mediocre team being carried on the wide shoulders of James (and matched against one of the greatest teams ever, the Warriors, and the Harry Potter of basketball, Steph Curry) and, in some strange way, his greatness is amplified by the contrast with the rest of his team. It was a great run.

listening
I'm listening to:

Like everyone else, I’m listening to Pusha T drop the mic on Drake. Okay, not really, but do I get some points for even knowing that? We all walk around with songs that immediately bring us back to a time or a place. Songs are time machines. We are coming up on Father’s Day. My own dad passed away on Father’s Day back in 1994 and I remembering dutifully getting through the wake and funeral and being strong throughout. Then, sitting alone in our kitchen, Don Henley’s The End of the Innocence came on and I lost it. When you lose a parent for the first time (most of us have two after all) we lose our innocence and in that passage, we suddenly feel adult in a new way (no matter how old we are), a longing for our own childhood, and a need to forgive and be forgiven. Listen to the lyrics and you’ll understand. As Wordsworth reminds us in In Memoriam, there are seasons to our grief and, all these years later, this song no longer hits me in the gut, but does transport me back with loving memories of my father. I’ll play it Father’s Day.

tweeting
I'm tweeting at @snhuprez:

Pop Picks

Pop Picks – June 11, 2018

Posted on June 11, 2018

What I’m listening to: Like everyone else, I’m listening to Pusha T drop the mic on Drake. Okay, not really, but do I get some points for even knowing that? We all walk around with songs that immediately bring us back to a time or a place. Songs are time machines. We are coming up on Father’s Day. My […]

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A President's Reflections

In Praise of Gardens and Fathers

Posted on June 11, 2018

Every year, as we head into Father’s Day weekend, I repost this piece from 2010.  It always seems to resonate with people – I usually get a lot of email response – and this year I have again planted tomatoes. And this year I’ll fall short again of whatever magic my father worked in his […]

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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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