Southern New Hampshire University

2500 N River Rd 
Manchester NH 3106 

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Southern New Hampshire University

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Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University seal.svg
Motto Summa Optimaque (Latin)
Motto in English
The Greatest and the Best
Type Private, nonprofit, coeducational, nonsectarian
Established 1932[1]
Academic affiliations
Endowment $16.7 million [2]
President Paul J. LeBlanc[3]
Provost Patricia Lynott[3]
Academic staff
159 (Full-time)[4]
5,142 (Part-time)[4]
Students 73,177 (Total)[4]
4,092 (On campus)[5]
Undergraduates 54,150[4]
Postgraduates 19,027[4]
Location Manchester/Hooksett, New Hampshire, U.S.
43°2'23?N 71°27'14?W? / ?43.03972°N 71.45389°W? / 43.03972; -71.45389Coordinates: 43°2'23?N 71°27'14?W? / ?43.03972°N 71.45389°W? / 43.03972; -71.45389
Campus Suburban 300 acres (1.2 km2)
Colors Blue and Gold[6]
Nickname Penmen
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IINE-10
Mascot Petey Penmen
Southern New Hampshire University logo.svg

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a private, nonprofit, coeducational, and nonsectarian university situated between Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire, in the United States. The university is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, along with national accreditations for some hospitality, health, education and business degrees.[7] SNHU is best known for its online programs, which have made it one of the country's fastest-growing universities.[8]


The university was founded in 1932 by Harry A.B. Shapiro and his wife Gertrude Crockett Shapiro as a for-profit institution focused on teaching business. It was opened under the name the New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science. In 1961, it was incorporated and renamed New Hampshire College of Accounting and Commerce. The state of New Hampshire granted the college its charter in 1963, which gave it degree-granting authority. The first associate degrees were awarded that year, and the first bachelor's degrees were conferred in 1966. The college became a nonprofit institution under a board of trustees in September 1968, and its name was shortened to New Hampshire College in 1969.[1]

The 1970s were a time of growth and change. The college moved from its downtown Manchester site to the now 300-acre (120 ha) campus along the Merrimack River at the northern border of Manchester with the town of Hooksett in 1971. Academic offerings expanded with the introduction of the Master of Business Administration program in 1974,[1] as well as the adoption of the human services programs from Franconia College, which closed in 1978.[9]

In 1981, New Hampshire College received authorization from the New Hampshire legislature to offer Master of Science degrees in business-related subjects, as well as Master of Human Services degrees (all human services programs would eventually be transferred to Springfield College in Massachusetts by the end of the decade).[9] That same year, the college opened its North Campus on the site of the former Mount Saint Mary College, which had shut down three years prior. The North Campus became the home of the culinary arts program, which was established in 1983.[1]

Ultimately, the North Campus was sold,[10] and all its academic programs were reconsolidated onto the main campus. This spurred major expansion of the main campus in the mid-1990s. Construction began on Washington Hall, a residence hall; Webster Hall, home to the School of Business; the Hospitality Center, home to the Quill (a student-run restaurant) and culinary arts programs; and Belknap Hall, now home to the Institute for Language Education, the School of Education, and several university offices. In 1995, New Hampshire College began offering distance learning programs through the Internet. In 1998, academic degrees were expanded to include the Ph.D. in community economic development and the Doctor of Business Administration.[1]

New Hampshire College became Southern New Hampshire University on July 1, 2001. A new residence hall, New Castle Hall, was completed in 2001,[11] while a new academic facility, Robert Frost Hall, containing the McIninch Art Gallery, was completed in 2002.[12] When nearby Notre Dame College closed, three of Notre Dame's graduate education programs and two undergraduate education programs transferred to SNHU.[13]

When president Paul LeBlanc took over in 2003, the early 2000s recession had impacted the school with rising tuition and shrinking enrollment. LeBlanc addressed this in 2009 with an increased focus on the College of Online & Continuing Education. Rapid revenue growth from the division helped save the struggling main campus, where enrollment had slumped. The school focused on increasing graduation rates and adjusting the online college to meet the needs of the working adults that make up most of its student body.[14]

List of presidents[1]
Harry A.B. Shapiro 1932–1952
Gertrude C. Shapiro 1952–1972
Edward Shapiro 1972–1987
Richard A. Gustafson 1987–2003
Paul J. LeBlanc 2003–present

Expansion of student housing continued with the opening of Conway and Lincoln Halls in 2004,[15] and Hampton and Windsor Halls in 2006.[16] SNHU became New Hampshire's first carbon-neutral university in 2007, when president LeBlanc signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment[17][18] The Academic Center and the Dining Center were completed by 2009.[16]

A new 152-room residence hall, Tuckerman Hall, was opened in the fall of 2013.[19][20] A 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) Learning Commons was opened in 2014, housing the library, the information technology help desk, a café, and media production services.[21] The former Shapiro Library was reopened as the William S. and Joan Green Center for Student Success, a student center housing conference rooms and meeting space, along with student services for women, learning disabilities, veterans and other groups.[22]

The university purchased naming rights to the downtown Manchester Civic Arena in September 2016, naming it SNHU Arena for at least 10 years in a deal that included internships for students and use of the facility for graduation and athletic events.[23][24]

SNHU absorbed faculty and staff at Daniel Webster College along with the engineering and aviation programs, operating the college's campus in Nashua for the remainder of the 2016 academic year after its parent company, ITT Technical Institute, filed for bankruptcy.[25][26] SNHU purchased the college's aviation facilities (including a flight center, tower building, and hangar) at Nashua Airport, for $410,000 and enrolled up to 30 students in their Aviation Operations and Management bachelor’s degree program.[27][28] An undisclosed Chinese university, which plans to open a satellite campus, outbid SNHU for the former campus.[26] SNHU plans to construct a new engineering building by 2019.[29][30]

Three major construction projects were completed in 2017: the Gustafson Center, a new welcome center named for the former university president Richard A. Gustafson;[31] Penmen Stadium, a 1,500-seat outdoor stadium;[32] and Monadnock Hall, an apartment-style residence hall.[33] In November 2017, the university announced a $100 million project including a 1,700 space parking garage and an additional 500 jobs at its downtown Manchester offices supporting the online college.[34]


Robert Frost Hall is located on the main campus in Manchester, New Hampshire.
SNHU's College of Online & Continuing Education offices, located in the Manchester Millyards near SNHU Arena.

Colleges and schools

Southern New Hampshire University offers undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs through its multiple colleges and schools.[35][36][37][38] The colleges and schools that compose SNHU are:

  • College for America (CfA)
  • College of Engineering, Technology & Aeronautics (CETA)
  • College of Online & Continuing Education (COCE)
  • School of Arts & Sciences
  • School of Business
  • School of Education

Honors program

The three-year Honors Program is a custom-designed, integrated academic experience that is offered over the course of six semesters for business majors. As a result, students earn an undergraduate business degree in three years rather than four. It was started using a challenge grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 1995. SNHU offers similar accelerated programs to undergraduate students majoring in creative writing and justice studies as well.[39]

Regional centers

Southern New Hampshire University's COCE offers programs both online and at its three regional centers. The university's main campus serves as a regional center, in addition to satellite campuses in Salem, New Hampshire and Brunswick, Maine.[40][41]

After Trinity College in Vermont closed in 2001, SNHU established the Vermont Center in Colchester, which houses the field-based graduate program in education.[42]

Online programs

Enrollment in the College of Online & Continuing Education (COCE), based in downtown Manchester,[23] has increased rapidly: from 8,000 students in 2001[1] to 34,000 in 2014,[14] to over 80,000 according to the school.[43] As of 2014, most of the more than 2,700 faculty members were part-time instructors located throughout the country and beyond. However, COCE has increased its hiring of full-time professors as the online program has grown.[44][14] Alumni and educators outside of the school have criticized the university's aggressive recruiting techniques and nationwide advertising campaigns, comparing them to those used by for-profit institutions such as the University of Phoenix and ITT Tech.[45] In response, president LeBlanc says that SNHU has "borrowed the best of operational practices from the for-profits (customer service, data analytics, a sense of urgency and accountability) while eschewing the practices that cast them in such a poor light."[45][46]

SNHU's College for America (CfA) offers degrees that rely on competency-based learning rather than traditional credit hours, based in part on programs at Western Governors University. In 2013, CfA became the first of its kind to gain federal approval from the U.S. Department of Education. In 2017, it formed a partnership with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, making all federal employees eligible for CfA courses.[47][48]

Accreditation and memberships

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges[49] and is approved by the New Hampshire Department of Education Division of Higher Education—Higher Education Commission.[50] The School of Business is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.[51] Some programs have specialized accreditation, such as the sport management programs, which are recognized by the North American Society for Sport Management,[52] and the hospitality administration program, which is recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration.[53]

Nationally, it is a member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities,[54] the American Council on Education,[55] and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.[56] At the state level, it is a member of the New Hampshire College & University Council (NHCUC), a consortium of higher learning institutions in New Hampshire.[57]

Recognitions and awards

US News & World Report ranked Southern New Hampshire University at #86 in Regional Universities North, and #1 in Most Innovative Schools in 2017.[58] Fast Company has named SNHU the 12th most innovative organization in the world in its World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies edition.[59] Additionally, the university has been repeatedly recognized by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the best colleges for which to work.[60]

The School of Business and the COCE have won multiple "Best of Business" Awards, for Best MBA Program and Best Online Degree Program, respectively. These awards are presented annually by the New Hampshire Business Review.[61] The university's community economic development program received a 2007 New England Higher Education Excellence Award, the Robert J. McKenna award, named for the former Rhode Island state senator and New England Board of Higher Education chair. It is presented each year to an outstanding academic program.[62]

Student activities

Southern New Hampshire University has numerous student organizations on campus, including Radio SNHU (the campus radio station) and The Penmen Press (the student newspaper).[63] SNHU also publishes The Penmen Review, an online creative writing journal for students and alumni.[64]

Honors societies


Greek life


Official athletics logo

Southern New Hampshire University participates in NCAA Division II athletics. The school is a member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference and the Northeast-10 Conference.[65] The teams' nickname, the Penmen, is an homage to the university's history as an accounting school. The university's mascot is named "Petey Penmen".[66]

Lou D'Allesandro was appointed the first athletic director and head coach of the men's basketball team in 1963.[67] Future NBA head coach P.J. Carlesimo coached the men's basketball team during the 1975–1976 season, compiling a 14–13 record and winning the Mayflower Conference championship.[68]

The Stan Spirou Field House is named after longtime men's basketball coach Stan Spirou, whose career spanned from 1985 to 2018.[69][70] He is considered one of the most successful NCAA Division II basketball coaches, compiling a career winning percentage of .652 (522–279), four New England Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year awards (1993, 1994, 1995, 1999), and was named the National Coach of the Year in 1994 by Division II Bulletin. His teams have averaged 22 wins per season and also have 14 NCAA tournament appearances, four NCAA regional titles, and six NECC tournament championships.[71]

In 1989, when it was known as New Hampshire College, the Penmen won their first NCAA Men's Soccer Championship, against UNC Greensboro. In 2002, the men's soccer team returned to the NCAA Division II championship game, but lost to Sonoma State.[72] On December 7, 2013, the Penmen won their second NCAA men's soccer national title, defeating Carson-Newman, 2-1.[73]

SNHU is a recipient of the NCAA Foundation Academic Achievement Award, in recognition of high graduation rates among student athletes. SNHU took home the award for the highest graduation rate among all Division II schools. SNHU also earned the Northeast-10 Conference Academic Achievement Award following the 2001–02 school year.[74]

P.J. Carlesimo was head coach of the men's basketball team throughout the 1975–76 season.

List of teams

Notable alumni

Sources: Google Maps, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers

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