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The Modern Library:

Learning Reimagined for the Modern Student In this issue…

Hometown Hero Felix Arroyo ’08G Business Leader Heather Staples Lavoie ’96MBA Penmen Standout Neil Stafford ’95

im­­­pact Advancing

Southern New Hampshire University

PROFILES Volume 8 | Winter 2016

President: Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc Vice President: Donald J. Brezinski Managing Editor: Audrey Bourque Contributing Writers: Pamme Boutselis ’15 Rebecca Mahoney ’11MFA Daniel Martel, Class of 2018 Erin McGonagle ’15G Max Nagel Logan Ouellette ’14 Graphic Designer: Karen Mayeu, Grey Cat Design Print Production Manager: Jenn Crossett Join the conversation on social media with #SNHUimpact. /SNHUalumni @SNHUalumni @SNHUalumni Impact: Profiles is published by: Office of Institutional Advancement at Southern New Hampshire University 2500 North River Road Manchester, NH 03106 | 603-645-9799 |


Letter from the President At Southern New Hampshire University, we believe education is about more than a degree. Our students come to us with curiosity and passion and grit, and we provide them with opportunities to develop the skills they need to pursue their dreams. In these pages, SNHU students and alumni share their stories,

Edward S. Wolak Library Learning Commons – renamed this

exploring what made their SNHU experiences so much more

fall for Trustee Ed Wolak ’74 in honor of his generosity and

than a piece of paper at the end of a series of studies. You’ll

leadership – gives SNHU students across the globe access

meet an online student in the Bahamas who organized more

to the tools that can set them apart as students, employees,

than 500 volunteers to plant mangroves on Earth Day, in

and community members.

support of our first-ever Global Days of Service last spring. We’ve profiled Heather Lorenz ’98G, Dean of Students for

With nearly 85,000 students and 77,000 alumni, SNHU

the University College, who helped to open the William S.

continues to reimagine the future of higher education, and

and Joan Green Center for Student Success on campus, a

meet the needs of today’s student. I know that together, we

hub for many of the student support services that make the

transform lives.

SNHU student experience extraordinary. And Jay Carey ’16, a graduate of the College for America Program, has overcome daunting obstacles in his own life to get to a place where he is supporting the academic goals of his employees. Our cover story on the modern library features our new Dean of the Library, Bill Mayer, who works to challenge old-fashioned notions about what a library should be. With resources such as the Innovation Lab and Makerspace,

Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc

the Center for Teaching and Learning, and IT support, the

President, Southern New Hampshire University


Once a Penmen, Always a Penmen Neil Stafford ’95 was a standout on the Men’s Soccer team in the 1990s. Now the Head Women’s Soccer Coach at the University of Cincinnati, Stafford is a proud alumnus of SNHU who lives by the rules he learned as a Penmen: support one another, build your community, and make your mark on the world. Why did you choose Southern New Hampshire University?

pinnacle of being an athlete at SNHU. The person I looked

There was (and continues to be) a rich tradition in soccer

up to the most was Karl Edmonds ’93 ’04G, who graduated

that made the school really attractive for people with a

just before I arrived. I ended up working for Karl at Seacoast

passion for the sport. Another big factor was how the faculty

United and was fortunate to win the club’s first ever National

supported students with learning disabilities. The Learning

Championship under his tutelage.

Center went above and beyond, helping me become a better, more motivated student-athlete. I am the person and

My athletic experience provided me with so many life

professional I am today based upon my interactions with

lessons. Unfortunately, some of them didn’t truly sink in

the students, faculty, staff, and athletes of SNHU.

until well after I left school. It took me a bit longer than most to grow up and understand what was important in life.

Who was the most influential person during your time at SNHU?

The mentality I have as a coach today comes from what I

Certainly Head Coach John Rootes and Assistant Coach Steve

lacked as a player and a young coach in college. I failed a lot

Lucas had played a significant part in my development.

because I lacked confidence due to a very average work-rate.

I will be forever grateful to John for giving me my first start

I know now that your work-rate has to be greater than your

in coaching.

talent to have a significant impact on where you are in life.

And I must give a special mention to Lori DeConinck, who helped me through some difficult moments in college, both

As an alumnus, how do you continue to be involved in the SNHU community?

in the classroom and personally. She cared about the person

I had the privilege of speaking to current SNHU students

first and then addressed the student second. I coach today

when they came to Cincinnati for an Alternative Break

based upon the way Lori treated her students.

experience. I have made donations to scholarships in the past, and now that SNHU is a national brand, it’s important

What did it mean to you to be a Penmen student-athlete?

to give back to the school that helped me get to where

I loved every minute of representing the Penmen. The

I am today.

relationships between the players and alumni were the


Neil Stafford ’95 Title: Head Women’s Soccer Coach, University of Cincinnati Major: Bachelor of Science, Psychology


Jay Carey ’16 Title: Area Supervisor and General Manager, Caspers Company SNHU Degree: Bachelor of Arts, Communication


Supporting Success in College for America “I made a commitment to myself. I really wanted to try to do something, not only for myself, but to really show the importance of higher education to my children.” Jay Carey has worked for McDonald’s® since he was in 8th

with the CfA community. Carey became a source of support

grade. Hard work and experience allowed him to advance

and inspiration for the other Caspers employees who

at his job. Now 43 years old and the father of two, he is

enrolled in the same program.

celebrating 29 years with Caspers Company as manager and operator of 27 McDonald’s restaurants in Tampa,

“College for America opened my eyes to teamwork and

Florida. “McDonald’s values education, but it’s not a

camaraderie. I really built a lot of skills that helped me both

requirement,” he said. “You can continue to progress

personally and professionally as a result of the program,

without degrees in our organization.” He did just that.

which is why I’m so incredibly passionate about it.”

Carey made it to the executive level of the organization all without a college degree.

Carey completed his degree in time to attend the 2016 SNHU commencement in Manchester, NH. It all came

A higher education never fit into Carey’s life. He was slated

together for Jay when the ceremony began. “To be in the

to attend college right after high school, but his mother was

arena and in the company of all of those other students

diagnosed with cancer and he had to put his education on

made me feel so much more successful, happy, and proud

hold. He enrolled in online courses in 1993, but struggled to

to walk across the stage as a SNHU graduate.”

find the time to fit his coursework into his busy schedule. Carey then started a family, and put off his education once

Since graduating, Carey has continued as a Community

more. When his children grew up, they encouraged him to

Coordinator for CfA, giving virtual open houses to new

take care of himself and to go back to school. “I made a

students. He also continues to be a source of support for

commitment to myself,” he said. “I really wanted to try to

his employees currently enrolled in the program. “I’ve

do something, not only for myself, but to really show the

talked to several people who have since graduated, or are

importance of higher education to my children.”

getting ready to graduate. I’ve told them that if they made the trip to Manchester, I would go and sit in the audience to

Carey enrolled at College for America at Southern New

support them.”

Hampshire University and immediately became involved

By Logan Ouellette ’14


Leading in Business with an MBA In the early 90’s, Heather Staples Lavoie ’96MBA was immersed in the healthcare industry. With an undergraduate degree in education, she knew there was more to learn if she was to move forward in her career, so she began looking into graduate programs. “I was interested in advancing in business and was seeking

In fact, there hasn’t been a single MBA course that she

an aggressive program that would enable me to maintain

hasn’t put to use. Without her MBA credentials, Lavoie said

my position and secure a degree in two years or less,” said

she would not have been afforded the opportunities she has

Lavoie. Southern New Hampshire University fit the bill –

had – nor would she have been prepared to do the work of

and then some.

business planning and execution were it not for the skills she developed and practiced during the graduate program.

“Once I was enrolled, frankly, I was blown away by my professors, not only for their credentials, but also their

Healthcare was not the major focus in the 90’s that it is

passion and accessibility,” she said. The professors inspired

in today’s economy. Given that Lavoie had already been

and engaged her in ways Lavoie hadn’t anticipated. “The

working in this field for seven years during her MBA

material truly came alive, and I was hooked on business

program, she said, “I actually benefited from an evaluation

from that point forward.”

of other industries – their strategies, economic forces, technology implementations and competitive threats. The

From early roles as a project director through her present

multidisciplinary nature of the program actually made me

position as chief strategy officer, her MBA education has

more well-rounded and allowed me to bring new thinking

proved beneficial.

to healthcare, applying more modern techniques and points of view to an industry that has been woefully slow to adapt.”

“The value is immeasurable,” said Lavoie. “Understanding the fundamentals of the market, being trained in

As to what being an SNHU graduate means to her, Lavoie

quantitative analysis, securing a comprehensive under-

said, “I am proud of my SNHU MBA program – and ironically,

standing of strategic planning and management, learning

both my CEO and his CEO are graduates as well. Given our


roles and the successes we have had across our respective





law – this background has aided me in every role I have

careers, I would say that it is a very wise investment.”

held, and allowed me to take on the work of building and leading businesses.”


by Pamme Boutselis ’15

Heather Staples Lavoie ’96MBA Title: Chief Strategy Officer, Geneia Holdings LLC SNHU Degree: Master of Business Administration


Arroyo (third from left) with SNHU President Paul LeBlanc at the mini-pitch opening at the Boys and Girls Club in Roxbury, MA.

Felix Arroyo ’08G Title: Chief of Health and Human Services, City of Boston SNHU Degree: Master of Science, Community Economic Development


Hometown Hero: Leading with Community Engagement “It felt great to see the school I went to supporting a part of the city where I live. SNHU’s support is making me do my job better.” Felix G. Arroyo ’08G is a dedicated public servant with roots

“As for Dr. Camayd-Friexas, he always expected more from

that run deep in his hometown of Boston, Mass. Now, as

me and that is something I continue to think about now. I

Chief of Health and Human Services for the City of Boston,

shouldn’t be hard on myself, but good enough is not good

Arroyo understands the obstacles his community faces,

enough - you can do more, you just have to push for it.”

yet he remains undeterred and passionate about its future. Building off his undergraduate work at UMass Boston,

Arroyo has been able to employ the lessons learned at SNHU

Arroyo continued his education through a hybrid master’s

in his current role through a number of initiatives, focused

program in community economic development at Southern

around service delivery. Arroyo believes that the best ways

New Hampshire University, before being twice elected to

to spark development and change are through positive

Boston’s City Council and running as a mayoral candidate

community engagement, working with constituents on a

in 2014.

personal level, and creating an understanding of the existing fundamental issues. These initiatives include working

Prior to attending SNHU and moving into the public

towards eliminating poverty and racial inequality within

sector, Arroyo worked for a union, but wanted to expand

Boston while also engaging veteran populations through

his education to better suit his ambitions in community

service programs such as Operation Thank a Vet. Recently,

development. He was urged by his late mentor, social

Arroyo took part in SNHU’s nationwide joint venture with

activist and SNHU professor Dr. Yoel Camayd-Friexas to

Major League Soccer and Adidas in the opening of a mini-

explore the University’s master’s program in community

pitch soccer field at the Boys and Girls Club in Roxbury, Mass.

economic development. Arroyo was attracted by not only what it entailed, but by its accessibility and flexibility.

“It felt great to see the school I went to supporting a part of the city where I live,” said Arroyo of the Roxbury mini-

“I felt that the professors were very in tune with who we

pitch. “SNHU’s support is making me do my job better. They

were as students. We were mostly adults, living adult lives,

created a safe space where young kids can congregate and

and it didn’t feel condescending in any way.” Arroyo said.

not worry about much, and that’s what is really valuable.”

by Max Nagel


Edward S. Wolak Library Learning Commons The Edward S. Wolak Library Learning Commons empowers SNHU students to learn and grow in our modern, complex, and interconnected world. Built in 2014 and renamed this fall to honor the generosity and leadership of SNHU alumnus and Trustee Ed Wolak ’74, the building sees more than 250,000 visitors annually and supports the academic and research needs of nearly 85,000 current students. Dean Bill Mayer says that the Wolak Library Learning

driven acquisition, a cost-savings system that allows us to

Commons embodies SNHU’s dedication to student success.

provide access to far more information than we could ever

As the University evolves and grows, the library is evolving

dream of, but only pay for what is actually used.”

with it, finding new ways to provide academic services to students wherever and whenever they may need them.

Students can also chat with support teams 24/7 to ensure

“You might have the idea that a library is old-fashioned –

they have access to the right material at the right time.

not this one,” says Mayer.

Mayer says that one of his staff members recently worked with a student in Korea for 45 minutes to help render a

The striking building at the heart of the Manchester campus

document correctly and get them what they needed to

houses a variety of resources: the Shapiro Library – the

finish a project. “That’s part of my role here, as well:

University’s library collections, both in print and online,

making sure my staff works in an environment of success,

and the University Archives – the IT help desk, learning

with the tools and resources they need to reach students.”

and faculty centers, silent and group study areas, instructional support, the Zachos Commons Café, the

In addition to serving current students, the library is also

digital and 3D media production suite, and the Learning

open to all SNHU alumni, who enjoy access to selected


databases and resources to continue their research through lifelong learning. “We recognize that learning

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But according to Mayer, patrons of the library are not only

continues even after you get your degree, whether or

visiting in person, and the print collection is not the only

not you’re working on your next degree. SNHU alumni

resource at their fingertips. “We have an incredible array

have the opportunity for lifetime engagement, and we’ll

of electronic resources – more than one million items

be there to connect with them no matter what their

online – accessible through something called patron-

needs,” explains Mayer.

By Audrey Bourque

Mayer says the modern library must also ensure its

view photos from the institution’s first home on Hanover

collection is relevant. “Frankly, we live in a time where

Street in Manchester; they can read undergraduate

information is ubiquitous. So what makes a library useful?

research projects; or they can browse through past

Anything students need for their studies, whenever and

yearbooks. It’s all contained in the University Archives and

wherever they need it, we can get for them. And that’s an

displayed throughout the building, reminders of the SNHU

amazing power, to provide that service.”

community’s past and present.

The Wolak Library Learning Commons also stores some

Mayer says it was a conscious decision to share that pride.

of the most precious moments of the institution. By

“The SNHU community is boundless, and we want to

showcasing the work of alumni authors, artists, and

foster that community. The library is an enabler of success

photographers and archiving the University’s experience,

for our students, alumni, and faculty.”

the building becomes a model of living history. Visitors can

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Bill Mayer Dean of the Wolak Library Learning Commons

This fall, Southern New Hampshire University welcomed Bill Mayer as Dean of the Wolak Library Learning Commons.

By Dan Martel, Class of 2018

Mayer previously worked as the University Librarian at American University in Washington DC. Prior to relocating earlier this year to New England, Mayer was Executive for Research Services at the National Archives – a position where he says “it was a privilege to care for the records of our republic.” Eager to return to higher education, the opportunity at SNHU stood out to him. Mayer has found that the job exceeds his expectations daily: “It’s an incredible environment in which to serve students, and it’s rewarding to see how excited students and faculty are about their work.” Mayer says he feels lucky to be part of the SNHU community. “I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had in the past that have led me here, and I’m grateful for what the future holds for me and the students of SNHU.”

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Alumnus and Trustee Edward Wolak ’74 presented a generous gift to the University this fall to ensure SNHU can continue working to make college more accessible and affordable to all students.

Edward S. Wolak ’74

As a first-generation college student, Wolak paid his way through college by baking for Dunkin’ Donuts. Today, he is a successful entrepreneur and owns more than 95 Dunkin’ Donuts franchises in Maine, New Hampshire, and upstate New York, and is the president and CEO of the Wolak Group. With more than 40 years as a successful developer and operator of Dunkin’ Donuts, Wolak is known for challenging his managers and rewarding them when they succeed. Wolak’s commitment to his alma mater is reflected not only in this gift, but also in his partnership with College for America at Southern New Hampshire University, through which his employees can earn an associate or bachelor’s degree online, building relevant and promotable skills in an employersponsored program. Wolak knows firsthand that a quality education is what moves someone forward, and says his company has made it their mission “to demonstrate to every new recruit that no position in our company is out of reach.”

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Steffon Evans, Class of 2017 Title: Education Assistant and Coordinator of the Navigators Program, Bahamas National Trust SNHU Program: Associate of Arts, Liberal Arts

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Community Service and an SNHU Education “You never totally grasp the importance of enriching someone’s life until you are in the moment, doing it.” For a long time, Steffon Evans thought he would have

by SNHU’s first annual Global Days of Service initiative, he

to choose between his education and his passion for

spearheaded a massive volunteer project to plant mangroves

helping others.

in a degraded area of a wetland in a Bahamian national park called Bonefish Pond. The event, which took place on Earth

As an outreach coordinator at the national park service in

Day, included 500 volunteers made up of local residents

the Bahamas, Evans gets to focus on what he loves best:

and students from local schools. Together, they planted

giving back to his community, teaching people about the

mangroves and learned about the importance of these trees

environment, and organizing volunteer projects. It’s a role

to the Bahamas. “It was an awesome day,” Evans said.

he loves, and he didn’t want to give it up in order to attend college classes.

At first, Evans was worried about leading such a major volunteer effort from a distance, but says he quickly found

Thanks to Southern New Hampshire University, he doesn’t

SNHU to be an enthusiastic and supportive partner. “They

have to.

make me feel like I’m part of the family. I’m not even there, but I still feel connected and really appreciated,” he says. “It

Evans is working toward his associate degree in liberal

was the perfect thing to do.”

arts through SNHU’s College of Online and Continuing Education. Though he has a lot on his plate, Evans says the

Evans, who also leads a youth group dedicated to community

flexibility of the program and the support from outstanding

service projects, is already thinking ahead to SNHU’s

advisors means he can make it all work. “Even after a long

next Global Days of Service in April 2017, where alumni,

day, I can still go over my course content and reach out if I

students, faculty, and staff will come together to strengthen

need help. The flexibility literally transforms what I can do

their communities. “I would totally encourage everybody

with my education,” he says.

to get involved with their community,” Evans says. “You never totally grasp the importance of enriching someone’s

Already, Evans has found ways to combine his educational

life until you are in the moment, doing it.”

goals with his mission of helping others. Last spring, inspired

By Rebecca Mahoney ’11MFA

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Solving Problems, Facilitating Change In 1998, Sandrine Kibuey ’06G was working in New Hampshire, worrying about her family’s safety back in the Congo, and wondering if she’d ever achieve her dream of helping vulnerable people. Then she found Southern New Hampshire University.

United States. “Someone has to try to relieve the crisis and attend to the immediate needs and problems that people

First, she went through a bridge program at New Hampshire

have, and that’s what we try to do here.”

College (soon to become Southern New Hampshire University) that helped non-native speakers improve

In a typical day, she might help struggling members of

their grasp of the English language and American culture.

her community find immediate housing, get aid to pay for

The supportive, diverse environment helped Kibuey

heat and fuel, fill out forms for food assistance—or even

develop her skills and her confidence—an experience so

get bus passes so they can go to and from work or school.

positive she later decided to return to SNHU for graduate

“Our hope is really to change lives for the better…to be

school. She earned her master’s degree in international

compassionate and have an impact,” she says.

community economic development primarily through online and hybrid courses.

Every day, she says, she uses the skills and insights she learned at SNHU, especially her coursework in statistics

And that led her to her dream job, the role she has now:

and her one-year internship in project management. “It’s

helping people in crisis. As the Associate Director of

really a place where you can strive and improve and become

Chittenden Community Action at the Champlain Valley

a practitioner who is ready to go out into the field and do

Office of Economic Opportunity in Vermont, she helps

the work,” she says.

immigrants, former inmates, the homeless, refugees, and other vulnerable people make ends meet.

She still stays in touch with her mentor from that program and says she found the diversity of her classmates and her

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“I’m doing exactly what I believe I excel at, which is finding

professors particularly inspiring. “I am more than glad to

solutions to problems and facilitating solutions when

have gone through the program,” she says. “It definitely

change needs to come,” Kibuey says, who sought asylum

gave me the attitude, tools, and methods that I need to be

from the Congo in 2001, a few years after she arrived in the

good at what I do.”

by Rebecca Mahoney ’11MFA

Sandrine Kibuey ’06G Title: : Associate Director, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity SNHU Degree: Master of Science, Community Economic Development

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Heather Lorenz ’98G Title: Dean of Students, Southern New Hampshire University SNHU Degree: Master of Science, Business Education

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Empowering Students through Campus Involvement “We’re leading students to understand that involvement helps them become global citizens, which will help them in their next step. This is meaningful work.” Dean of Students Heather Lorenz ’98G has been at Southern

campus. Lorenz has been an integral part in the development

New Hampshire University for nearly 20 years. After leaving

and expansion of the programs housed in the Green Center,

for a year to work in corporate training, it didn’t take long

and she says that having a building dedicated to student

for her to realize that SNHU was home.

success allows her staff to better serve the resident and commuter student populations. “For us, it’s important to

Lorenz came to then-New Hampshire College as a graduate

understand that everybody’s journey and story is different.



I’m always trying to get our staff to do the right thing to

her master’s in business education with a training and

support our students. I’m constantly working with staff to

development certificate. Professor Burt Kaliski opened her

ensure campus is an inclusive, educational, and fun place.”





eyes to an entirely new profession – higher education. “Professor Kaliski helped me realize the path I ultimately

Involvement at SNHU allows students to learn valuable life

wanted to take was making a difference for younger people.

skills that employers seek, including communication skills,

He solidified for me that NHC was where I wanted to be.”

event planning, budgeting, conflict management, and how to run meetings. There’s an educational component and an

Lorenz has worked in many roles at SNHU, including

accountability piece, resulting in the campus community



speaking with inclusive language and embracing diversity.

development, and community standards (discipline). Now





The Student Involvement staff celebrates students when

Dean of Students, she can look back through all of those

they succeed and picks them up when they struggle.

lenses and know that her purpose was, and continues to be, serving students.

“The work we do is intentional. It has a purpose and is educational. We’re leading students to understand that

This year marks 50 years of student involvement at SNHU,

involvement helps them become global citizens, which will

and the opening of the William S. Green Center for Student

help them in their next step. This is meaningful work.”

Success this fall created a hub for student services on

by Erin McGonagle ’15G

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Alumni Engagement Report SNHUcommunity Events

(July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016)

97 11 2,000 events in

Growth in Global Alumni Population


with more than

Join the Conversation – Growth on Social Media




76,349 2016

(November 1, 2015 – November 1, 2016)

Copyright © Free Vector




members in the SNHU Community group

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2,109 /SNHUalumni Total Fans




@SNHUalumni Total Followers

35 virtual job shadows shared on @WorkingPenmen

New Account! Follow Us


Volunteer Hours (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016) Career Coaching & Mentoring

Leadership Role




Hours of Service

Hours of Service

Hours of Service

Event Support






Community Service







Sharing Your Story


alumni featured in publications

Hours of Service




Donations and Grants Received (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016)






government grants



Donations and Grants Received






employees, parents, & Friends



organizations & corporations

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Office of Institutional Advancement

2500 North River Road Manchester, NH 03106-1045 Address Service Requested

Why I Give Back The Class of 1966 celebrated their 50th Reunion at Homecoming this past October. Dan Sullivan ’66 (standing, in blue shirt), president of his class and co-chair of the reunion planning committee, reflected on what it meant to be one of the first graduates of the institution with a four-year degree and why he came back to campus to reunite with classmates, friends, and faculty members. “It’s hard to put into words what it feels like as a graduate from 1966 to see what the university is today. It’s so well known, and it opens doors for so many people. The biggest thing to me is pride—pride of what we accomplished back in ’66, and in each class since. And to see how it’s grown. It’s impressive to see what you all have done, considering where we started.” - Dan Sullivan ’66

Watch the full conversation at

Impact: Profiles  

Impact: Profiles is published by the Office of Institutional Advancement at Southern New Hampshire University.