President's Corner

What I'm Up To Paul LeBlanc

reading
I'm reading:

I struggled with Christy Lefteri’s The Beekeeper of Aleppo for the first 50 pages, worried that she’d drag out every tired trope of Mid-Eastern society, but I fell for her main characters and their journey as refugees from Syria to England. Parts of this book were hard to read and very dark, because that is the plight of so many refugees and she doesn’t shy away from those realities and the enormous toll they take on displaced people. It’s a hard read, but there is light too – in resilience, in love, in friendships, the small tender gestures of people tossed together in a heartless world. Lefteri volunteered in Greek refugee programs, spent a lot of interviewing people, and the book feels true, and importantly, heartfelt.

watching
I'm watching:

Soap opera meets Shakespeare, deliciously malevolent and operatic, Succession has been our favorite series this season. Loosely based on the Murdochs and their media empire (don’t believe the denials), this was our must watch television on Sunday nights, filling the void left by Game of Thrones. The acting is over-the-top good, the frequent comedy dark, the writing brilliant, and the music superb. We found ourselves quoting lines after every episode. Like the hilarious; “You don't hear much about syphilis these days. Very much the Myspace of STDs.” Watch it so we can talk about that season 2 finale.

listening
I'm listening to:

It drove his critics crazy that Obama was the coolest president we ever had and his summer 2019 playlist on Spotify simply confirms that reality. It has been on repeat for me. From Drake to Lizzo (God I love her) to Steely Dan to Raphael Saadiq to Sinatra (who I skip every time – I’m not buying the nostalgia), his carefully curated list reflects not only his infinite coolness, but the breadth of his interests and generosity of taste. I love the music, but I love even more the image of Michelle and him rocking out somewhere far from Washington’s madness, as much as I miss them both.

tweeting
I'm tweeting at @snhuprez:

Pop Picks

Pop Picks – November 25, 2019

Posted on November 25, 2019

My pop picks are usually a combination of three things: what I am listening to, reading, and watching. But last week I happily combined all three. That is, I went to NYC last week and saw two shows. The first was Cyrano, starring Game of Thrones superstar Peter Dinklage in the title role, with Jasmine Cephas Jones as Roxanne. She […]

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A President's Reflections

In Praise of Mistakes and Humility

Posted on November 18, 2019

Universities are “expert cultures,” where status accrues with each successive degree and being really smart is valued most. In such a culture, mistakes are often treated as failures of intelligence or capacity and asking for help or admitting struggle is seen as weakness. The irony here is that universities, of all organizations, mostly squander the […]

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A President's Reflections

The Power of Hope

Posted on November 1, 2019

I recently spent three days at the Kakuma Refugee Camp, one of the world’s largest with nearly 200,000 displaced people, with my colleagues in the Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowship. Our Global Education Movement (GEM) works to bring full Southern New Hampshire University degree programs to refugee learners in the camp, so our team knows the […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – October 31, 2019

Posted on October 31, 2019

October 31, 2019 What I’m listening to:  It drove his critics crazy that Obama was the coolest president we ever had and his summer 2019 playlist on Spotify simply confirms that reality. It has been on repeat for me. From Drake to Lizzo (God I love her) to Steely Dan to Raphael Saadiq to Sinatra […]

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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 […]

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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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