President's Corner

What I'm Up To Paul LeBlanc

I'm reading:

I envy anyone who has not read the Patrick O’Brian series of seafaring novels centered on 19th-century British Navy Captain Jack Aubrey and his surgeon companion, Stephen Maturin. I say “envy,” because I devoured them years ago and while a second reading will be satisfying, it can’t have the thrill and delight of discovering the series for the first time. Oh, I know, nothing sounds more boring to many of you, but I begged Pat to try just one (the first in the series is Master and Commander, which inspired the film by the same name), she put aside her natural skepticism, and within pages, she promptly fell in love with the 20-book series that has as much Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as Forester’s Horatio Hornblower in it. That’s a long sail around the Horn to say that I am devouring David Grann’s The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder. It takes place in the same era as the O’Brian series, is actual history, and reads like a compelling novel. Grann won accolades for his previous bestseller, Killers of the Flower Moon. The man can tell a story.

I'm watching:

Season 2 of The Bear is out and its sophomore season is even better than the compelling first season that got us hooked on a series based in the restaurant world. The cast is terrific and I mean the whole cast. Episode four, set in Copenhagen is Ted Lasso memorable and one of the most beautifully written and shot things I’ve seen on TV in ages. In episode five (Can you tell we are binging?), Tina, played by Liza Colón-Zayas, takes the mic on karaoke night, a scene we’ve seen in hundreds of series, and yet has us both exclaiming “Oh, wow!”. We’ve enjoyed the sci-fi series Silo, but then seeing something like The Bear reminds us that contemporary television can sometimes soar to the heights we associate with film and theater.

I'm listening to:

At the risk of death threats, graffiti on my home, and my car being keyed, I will admit here to long disinterest and maybe even dismissiveness of Taylor Swift. But wait, before you eviscerate me on social media, I have seen the Light. I am saved. I’m shopping for a sequined hoodie. Last week I bought Taylor’s (we Swifties just call her “Taylor”) folklore (2020) and evermore (also 2020). While I recently came to admire her politics, I’ve come to love her recent music. I like to think that The National’s Aaron Dressner, who is doing more co-writing and producing with Taylor, has something to do with it, but there is more substance in her music than I anticipated. Her voice is wonderful — it may not be an accident that “The Alcott,” my favorite single on The National’s new album, includes gorgeous harmonies from Taylor. And she is a good reminder that pop music needs no defense – it’s fun, it speaks to people, can be shared across generations (hard to get a better example than a 65-year-old discovering a love for Taylor Swift), and still makes me happy. If you still like The Monkees' “I’m a Believer” you know what I mean (and you just aged yourself…).

I'm tweeting at @snhuprez:

Current Issues

Response to SCOTUS Decisions this Week

Posted on June 30, 2023

There have been three major Supreme Court decisions this week with profound impacts on higher ed, our community, and our country. Below are the two responses I shared with the SNHU community this week: It has once again been a day of disappointing rulings from the Supreme Court. Today, we saw yet another ruling that […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – June 26, 2023

Posted on June 26, 2023

What I’m reading: I envy anyone who has not read the Patrick O’Brian series of seafaring novels centered on 19th-century British Navy Captain Jack Aubrey and his surgeon companion, Stephen Maturin. I say “envy,” because I devoured them years ago and while a second reading will be satisfying, it can’t have the thrill and delight […]

Read More »
Pop Picks

Pop Picks – June 1, 2023

Posted on June 1, 2023

What I’m reading: Ways of Being, by James Bridle, is one of those books that has me walking through the world in a new way. As we talk about artificial intelligence, Bridle is reframing my sense of intelligence in profound ways. Just note the subtitle: Animals, Plants, Machines: The Search for Planetary Intelligence. Mind-blowing and I find […]

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A President's Reflections

Celebrating the Work of the Heart 

Posted on May 31, 2023

This spring, Southern New Hampshire University proudly welcomed nearly 17,000 graduates to the SNHU alumni community. We marked this incredible achievement through a combination of in-person and virtual commencement ceremonies. With four memorable in-person events held over a single weekend and a subsequent virtual ceremony for those unable to attend in New Hampshire, we took great […]

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A President's Reflections

“How was Antarctica?”

Posted on January 20, 2023

Lots of people are asking about my recent 15-day trip to Antarctica, and the answer is “Amazing!” In short order: One of the best trips I’ve ever done, exceeding my expectations. The animals are abundant and incredible: penguins, whales, seals, a variety of birds. The landscapes are majestic, the weather capricious. It was a rollicking […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – December 26, 2022

Posted on December 26, 2022

What I’m watching: Be warned, if you start watching the Irish dark comedy Bad Sisters, you’re likely to just stay on the couch binge watching all ten episodes of what was the best series on television in 2022. A murder mystery with one of the worst villains/victims in recent history (not a plot spoiler, as you know […]

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A President's Reflections

2022: Celebrating Connection & Community

Posted on December 21, 2022

2022 brought many reasons to celebrate at SNHU. Here are some of my top highlights from the year.

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A President's Reflections

SNHU at its best: Celebrating our 2022 fall graduates

Posted on December 6, 2022

Two weeks ago, we celebrated our Fall 2022 Commencement ceremonies. This fall, more than 17,000 students completed their degrees with SNHU; nearly 4,000 graduates and 20,000 guests attended the ceremonies in Manchester, NH; and this weekend we will celebrate 4,500 in our virtual ceremonies.  Graduations at SNHU are always particularly celebratory, warm, and personal. They […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – November 7, 2022

Posted on November 7, 2022

What I’m watching: I’ve long thought that Jennifer Lawrence’s acting in 2010’s Winter’s Bone was her best work and a tour de force. Then we watched Causeway, the new film released on Apple TV+. After going with blockbuster and conventional Hollywood fare in ways that made me despair for her best self (even if she cleaned up professionally), […]

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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 […]

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