Paul LeBlanc

Paul LeBlanc

President


Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)

San Diego, CA USA


Super smarts and talent are overrated. There are lots of smart people that fail all the time because they don’t show up. It’s great to be smart, but it’s better to have an incredible work ethic.

Videos

Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Paul LeBlanc

Highlight
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01:13
Paul LeBlanc HighlightInterview Highlight
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07:28
InterviewThe Interview
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01:08
Definition Of SuccessWeb Exclusive
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01:34
Things Gained From CollegeWeb Exclusive
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01:30
Dealing With Being Away From FamilyWeb Exclusive
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02:18
Believing In Yourself Comes From Others Believing In You Web Exclusive
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Be Authentic To YourselfWeb Exclusive
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Discovering What You're Meant To DoInterview Excerpt
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01:02
Find Amazing Teachers To Help Guide YouInterview Excerpt
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01:40
Do Work That Makes A DifferenceInterview Excerpt
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01:20
Have An Incredible Work EthicInterview Excerpt
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01:29
I Didn’t Know Anyone Who Had Gone To CollegeInterview Excerpt
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Milestones

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
Born in Canada, where he grew up speaking French as his first language—immigrated to the United States with his family when he was young.
Grew up in a neighborhood where no one, not even in his own family, had ever gone to college—admits that he thought college was only for the rich and that it wasn’t accessible to him.
After high school, he was planning on joining the military, but while attending a new student orientation visit at a college with his friends, he decided that going to college was a better path.
Spent most of his adolescent and young adult life living in poverty—says that he lived off of food stamps while in college.
Attended Framingham State University as a criminal justice major with the intent of becoming a police officer—was encouraged by a professor to instead pursue his love of books and major in English.
Through a connection at Boston College, he received a fellowship that paid his tuition and enabled him to receive his master’s degree in English; he began teaching shortly afterwards.
He went on to receive his doctorate in rhetoric and composition from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
He is now the president of Southern New Hampshire University, the second-largest online university in the U.S., dedicated to providing affordable educational opportunities.
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
undergrad
Bachelor
English Language and Literature, General
Framingham State University
graduate
Graduate
English Language and Literature, General
Boston College
doctorate
Doctorate
English Language and Literature, General
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Career

Career

President

I lead a university on a mission to bring education to people for whom college is not a guarantee.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Education
Education
Non-Profit Organizations
Non-Profit Organizations
Upholding a Cause and Belief
Upholding a Cause and Belief

Day to Day

A lot of meetings, developing new ideas, touching base with people, and writing/speaking occasions. I've seen this school grow from 2500 students to over 90,000 by pioneering high-quality online education. I am continually seeking to recalibrate my role focusing on talent, driving strategy, being the primary face of SNHU’s external relations, building partnerships, and helping students achieve their goals.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Know the value of hard work. Your work ethic is worth more than your smarts or talent and will get you farther. Have grit and a plan that will help you achieve a better life for yourself. School (college in particular) is an important transformative experience, but it isn't for everyone. Seek out the transformative experiences that will work for you (join the military, start a business, travel, etc.). Have empathy, connect with people and be able to tell a compelling narrative.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Find mentors, teachers, anyone who will support you and believe in you. The power of these individuals believing in you lifts your bar. Building the power to believe in yourself comes from having others that believe in you as well. Be authentic to yourself and don't let others tell you what your calling is.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
English Language and Literature, General
graduate
Graduate
English Language and Literature, General
doctorate
Doctorate
English Language and Literature, General
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Teachers:

"You don't belong in college. Maybe you should consider taking up a trade. "

A professor wrote this in the margins of a paper I wrote for my freshman English class. I could have given up and followed that advice. Instead, this made me mad and want to prove to him and to others that I belonged in college. Being a first-generation college student brought me out of my comfort zone and continually shook my confidence, but it got better.

Challenges I Overcame

First-Generation College Student
First-Generation College Student

No one in my family had ever gone to college and I grew up in a neighborhood where no one had gone to college. It was something we thought only rich kids did and that it was unattainable for us. It took a long time for me to feel like I belonged.

Relocation / Moving
Relocation / Moving

When I decided to go to college, it wasn't that far away from my family, but it was hard leaving. It was hard for me to adjust and it was hard for them to let me go. My family didn't know how to be supportive in this situation.

Learning Issues
Learning Issues

Learning rigorous academic discipline was difficult. I had been the student who did just enough in high school to skate by, but never challenged myself. Getting to college and having teachers challenge me, I just didn't have the state of mind.

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