November 15, 2022

Paul J. Leblanc Receives AASCU’s 2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award

Kellee Edmonds
(202) 478-4662

Paul LeBlanc and Mildred Garcia
Paul LeBlanc receives the DAA from AASCU’s former president Mildred Garcia.

CARLSBAD, CA, Nov. 15, 2022 – The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) today presented Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) President Paul J. LeBlanc with its 2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award. LeBlanc accepted the award during the AASCU 2022 Annual Conference in Carlsbad, CA.

The first person in his extended family to attend college, LeBlanc is a 1980 graduate of Framingham State University (MA), where he received a bachelor’s degree in English. He went on to earn a master’s degree from Boston College (MA) and a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts.

LeBlanc is internationally recognized as an innovative leader who has dedicated much of his career to expanding opportunity and access to higher education. He previously served as senior policy adviser to then-Undersecretary of Education Ted Mitchell, working on competency-based education and new accreditation pathways. In 2015, Washington Monthly named LeBlanc one of America’s 10 most innovative university presidents.

“Since becoming SNHU president in 2003, Paul LeBlanc has been at the forefront of implementing new and flexible teaching modalities to meet adult learners where they are,” said F. Javier Cevallos, former president of Framingham State University who nominated LeBlanc for the DAA honor and who now serves as President-in-Residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “He has led the institution through rapid growth in the wake of the global pandemic and continues to selflessly demonstrate that serving students is what guides his work.”

In 2018, LeBlanc received the 2018 TIAA Institute Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education. He is the author of Students First: Equity, Access, and Opportunity in Higher Education and Broken: How Our Social Systems Are Failing Us.

“Paul LeBlanc’s journey illustrates the critical impact public regional comprehensive institutions have on diverse students—including first-generation, low-income, adults, and/or students of color—and it is our honor to recognize him as this year’s DAA recipient,” said Mildred García, president of AASCU. “As a proud graduate of an AASCU institution, we know LeBlanc gained the foundation and the preparation needed to become the visionary leader he is today from his years at Framingham State.”

For more than four decades, AASCU’s Distinguished Alumnus Award has recognized individuals who have achieved acclaim in their fields and who have made significant contributions to the public, intellectual, or cultural life of the nation. Through this award, AASCU directs national attention to the value of society’s investment in America’s state colleges and universities. Past honorees include President Lyndon B. Johnson, who was the first to receive the award in 1972, Weather and Feature Anchor on NBC News’ TODAY Al Roker in 2020, and NASA astronaut Richard R. Arnold II in 2021.


The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of nearly 400 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise. Visit us at