President's Corner

What I'm Up To Paul LeBlanc

I'm reading:

Continuing my exploration of Antarctica-related travel writing, I am reading Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s The Worst Journey in the World, his account of the doomed Robert Scott 1911 expedition to the South Pole. Cherry-Garrard was the youngest member of that team and recalls a horrendous side-trip during the expedition to go find penguin eggs. In the winter. How bad was it? His teeth actually shattered from chattering in the -60C temperatures. Everything I read about Scott and the rest of that team suggests to me that they were not the sharpest knives in the drawer, but dear Lord they were brave and hearty and tough. Cherry-Garrard was on the team that later found the bodies of Scott and the others, who starved to death just a short distance from their base camp. He never fully recovered either, but he wrote one helluva adventure story.

I'm watching:

Just saw Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis and absolutely loved it. Critics mostly were “meh” and it rated only a 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. I say this as someone who doesn’t love musicals nor biopics in general, but this was so much fun. Mostly because of Luhrmann’s baroque style, visual vocabulary, and strap-yourself-in pacing. He is always over the top, which is why I also loved his Shakespeare’s Romeo and JulietMoulin Rouge, and Great Gatsby -- they stop me in my tracks whenever channel surfing. If subtle, nuance, and Nordic starkness are your thing, Luhrmann is most certainly not your guy. In Elvis, I also deeply appreciated his connecting the dots between Elvis’ chart-busting success and the Black music and culture from which he drew so heavily. The last third of the movie slows a bit, but Austin Butler in the title role is electric for most of the film, I learned a lot, and the music is great. Tom Hanks does a great job making the famous Colonel Tom Parker even more despicable than he already was in the popular imagination.

I'm listening to:

I was tempted to say something about Elvis stealing from Black musicians who never got their fair share of the acclaim or the money, but this episode of the Switched On Pop podcast fascinatingly complicates the story. This is one of my favorite music podcasts and this one takes one Elvis hit, the 1953 Hound Dog, and unpacks the complicated story of how music gets made, then copied, borrowed, sampled, and remade. Hearing Big Mama Thornton do her version is itself worth the listen. Doja Cat takes up the end of the story. Fascinating.


I'm tweeting at @snhuprez:

Pop Picks

Pop Picks – September 7, 2022

Posted on September 7, 2022

What I’m watching: Just saw Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis and absolutely loved it. Critics mostly were “meh” and it rated only a 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. I say this as someone who doesn’t love musicals nor biopics in general, but this was so much fun. Mostly because of Luhrmann’s baroque style, visual vocabulary, and strap-yourself-in pacing. He is […]

Read More »
Pop Picks

Pop Picks – August 10, 2022

Posted on August 10, 2022

What I’m reading: I’m in an Antarctica state of mind and used a 16-hour plane ride and then being laid low by Covid to read two splendid books: Alfred Lansing’s 1959 Endurance, the best book about Ernest Shackleton’s incredible voyage, and Sara Wheeler’s Terra Incognita, her 1996 adventure travel book which is as much about a spiritual […]

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A President's Reflections

A broader view: Why refugee safety and security must include access to education and economic opportunity

Posted on June 30, 2022

By Paul LeBlanc, President of Southern New Hampshire University Last week, we celebrated the strength and courage of refugees on World Refugee Day, at a moment when the refugee crisis has been thrust into focus with millions fleeing the war in Ukraine, creating the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II. Now more […]

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A President's Reflections

Heartbroken and Speechless — Yet Again

Posted on May 25, 2022

I’m not often at a loss for words, but the events in Uvalde, Texas, yesterday have left me heartbroken and speechless. Just last Wednesday, I shared my reflections on the horrific events in Buffalo and Southern California. Here we are just 10 days later, and once again, our country is reeling. We must acknowledge today […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – April 25, 2022

Posted on April 25, 2022

What I’m reading Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet is stunningly good. And searing in parts, as it goes deep into the grief of losing a child in ways that are almost unbearable to read, unimaginable as it is to any parent. It’s also the intimate story of Agnes, Shakespeare’s wife (he is actually a secondary character), their marriage, family, and journey. […]

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Pop Picks – February 28, 2022

Posted on February 28, 2022

What I’m reading Just finished Laura Spinney’s 2017 Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed The World. Reading about a pandemic that killed more than 50 million people may sound like the last thing one wants to do given the last two years, but we need to start making sense of […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – January 10, 2022

Posted on January 10, 2022

What I’m reading: The minute it came out, I bought Colson Whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle and cancelled all plans to read it in almost one sitting. I’d read a catalog if he wrote it. Set in Harlem in the 1960s, it’s the story of Ray Carney, owner of a furniture store trying to achieve the American dream for his family, […]

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A President's Reflections

A Look Back at 2021: Stronger Together

Posted on December 22, 2021

As I look back on 2021 this holiday season, I continue to be amazed by our students, staff, and faculty. Over the pandemic, we have seen first-hand the strength and resilience of the SNHU community. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, remote work and learning, and the ever-changing higher education landscape, our community did not skip […]

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A President's Reflections

Celebrating Commencement & Staff Graduates

Posted on November 15, 2021

This past weekend, we were finally able to celebrate our 2020 and 2021 online graduates across five powerful and inspiring ceremonies. The SNHU Arena was filled with incredible student stories: A 67-year-old grandmother who finished a degree she started in 1972, when I was still in high school. A woman holding her three-week-old infant. A […]

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SNHU Welcomes Three Trustees to the SNHU Community

Posted on October 13, 2021

Today, I’m excited to welcome three new Trustees to the SNHU community, who join us with impressive and diverse backgrounds and skill sets. In keeping with our commitment to increase and maintain diversity on the Board of Trustees, these new members bring experience in investment, finance, and technology leadership.   R. Grady Burnett has been a leader and innovator in technology, philanthropy and sports and has […]

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