Last month Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University, endorsed Senator Michael Bennet for the U.S. presidency.
Bennet is a Democrat from Colorado, though you’d be forgiven for not knowing his background. He currently is polling at about 0 percent in the Iowa caucus and so far has only qualified for two of seven Democratic debates.
“I really appreciated Michael’s thinking about higher education,” LeBlanc said in an interview. “He’s going deeper than simply shouting, ‘Free college.’”
But LeBlanc acknowledged Bennet’s long odds.
“During the primary, that doesn’t matter to me so much,” he said. “I want to vote for somebody who would be really be good in the position.”
The endorsement was rare for a university president. But it comes amid what seems like the rise of a new kind of college leader.
To be sure, public attention is still mainly devoted to the Ivy League, elite research institutions and public flagships. But Southern New Hampshire’s enrollment is now more than 130,000 students, most of them online. It is one of the nation’s three largest universities by enrollment, along with Arizona State University and Western…
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