President's Corner

What I'm Up To Paul LeBlanc

reading
I'm reading:

I am almost in despair for the way the pandemic has reduced my reading time, some combination of longer days, lack of plane time, and mental distraction, I think. However, I just finished Marguerite Yourcenar’s magisterial Memoirs of Hadrian, a historical novel, though I hesitate to call it that because A) she would likely reject the term, B) it is so much more, and C) it stands among the towering pieces of mid-century literature for so many. It’s that last point about which I feel so sheepish. As a reasonably well-read person, how did I miss this one? It is a work of stunning achievement (don’t miss her exhaustive bibliography or end notes), highly refined style, and as much philosophy as anything else. It won’t be for everyone and you have to power through the first chapter, but it is a remarkable book. I’m intrigued to use it as a reading on leadership.

watching
I'm watching:

When I can finally turn off the computer screen, I find myself drawn to the television screen for its less demanding passivity. Pat and I absolutely reveled in the ten-minute installments of State of the Union (Sundance Channel), written by Nick Hornby, one of my favorite writers. It is stunningly good – witty, smart, warm, painful, and powered by the chemistry of its two utterly charming leads, Rosamund Pike and Chris O’Dowd. It’s just two people - funny and smart - trying to salvage their marriage and talking, in ten-minute snippets, in a pub and no one writes dialogue like Hornby. We devoured it. If you asked me to watch two people talk about their marriage for 100 minutes, I’d have said “no thanks.” But this was sheer, unequivocal delight. And because all great comedy is closely related to tragedy, there is more substance and depth and complexity here than sheer delight might suggest.

 

I don’t usually do two recommendations in my categories, but we also watched Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods. It is long, flawed, and uneven – but Spike Lee remains one of our most brilliant directors and Delroy Lindo already has my vote for Best Male Actor for his Shakespearian performance as one of the four buddies who go back to Vietnam to reclaim treasure, find the remains of their friend, and address the trauma of the war they fought then and the war fought against them as Black men in America. Even flawed Spike Lee is better than 95% of what makes it onto the screen and while made before George Floyd’s death, it feels so well suited for the time. Powerful.

listening
I'm listening to:

Protest music. Chronological and cleaned up for listening at home (if we could include the f-word, it would be a lot longer (see Nipsey Hussle or Kendrick Lamar), Pat put it together and you can find the playlist here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3z1W5Dbfcn7F9LBFcayTqa?si=u2oxkMTkSFef7_sQy3cNXw

 

tweeting
I'm tweeting at @snhuprez:

Pop Picks

Pop Picks – June 15, 2020

Posted on June 15, 2020

What I’m reading:  I am almost in despair for the way the pandemic has reduced my reading time, some combination of longer days, lack of plane time, and mental distraction, I think. However, I just finished Marguerite Yourcenar’s magisterial Memoirs of Hadrian, a historical novel, though I hesitate to call it that because A) she would likely reject […]

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SNHU News

The Decision to Stay with Remote Study and Work: A Deeper Dive

Posted on June 12, 2020

Our announcement this week that we will not bring students and employees back to campus in September has predictably disappointed a lot of people and I’ve received lots of messages from students and parents. A number of students have asked for a more detailed explanation, something I’m happy to do. While our communications outlined our reasoning, let […]

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A President's Reflections

Steps to Offer Hope and Empowerment: A Message to the SNHU Community

Posted on June 1, 2020

MEMO To: SNHU Community From: Paul LeBlanc Date: June 1, 2020 Subject: Steps to Offer Hope and Empowerment I have written to you after other events that have shocked our collective conscience – white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, the shootings at the Pulse nightclub, the school shootings in Parkland. With each of those terrible incidents, we felt […]

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Current Issues
Pop Picks

Pop Picks – April 1, 2020

Posted on April 1, 2020

What I’m listening to:  Out of nowhere and 8 years since his last recording, Bob Dylan last Thursday dropped a new single, the 17-minute (the longest Dylan song ever) “Murder Most Foul.” It’s ostensibly about the murder of President John F. Kennedy, but it’s bigger, more incisive, and elegiac than that alone. The music is gorgeous, […]

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A President's Reflections

Smart, Curious, and Civil – Let’s Give It A Try

Posted on February 3, 2020

The political season has gone from warm to red hot as we move into the presidential primaries and then the general election. As always, New Hampshire is ground zero for much of the nation’s political drama, at least in the first act, though we share that space with the Iowa caucuses and the impeachment trial […]

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Additional Categories:
Current Issues
Pop Picks

Pop Picks – February 3, 2020

Posted on February 3, 2020

What I’m listening to:  Spending 21 hours on airplanes (Singapore to Tokyo to Boston) provides lots of time for listening and in an airport shop I picked up a Rolling Stones magazine that listed the top ten albums of the last ten years. I’ve been systematically working through them, starting with Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I […]

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A President's Reflections

2019: An Extraordinary Year for SNHU

Posted on January 9, 2020

2019 was an extraordinary year for Southern New Hampshire University. Throughout the year, we celebrated more than 21,000 graduates, gained new friends and colleagues in Tucson, and supported more than 40 organizations across New Hampshire. As the year comes to a close and the SNHU community continues to grow, I wanted to share some of […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – January 2, 2020

Posted on January 2, 2020

What I’m listening to:  I was never really an Amy Winehouse fan and I don’t listen to much jazz or blue-eyed soul. Recently, eight years after she died at only 27, I heard her single Tears Dry On Their Own and I was hooked (the song was on someone’s “ten things I’d want on a deserted island” list). […]

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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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