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Pearson CEO John Fallon delivered the commencement address to this year's graduating class of Southern New Hampshire University. In the following excerpt, John highlights the groundbreaking work SNHU is has done in re-defining higher education.
New Century, New Challenges
"The vast majority of colleges are still offering an education designed a long time ago to meet the challenges of the last century. The challenges of this century are different, but most colleges are finding it difficult to respond."
"Many of them are still telling students what they have available, and students have the choice of taking it or leaving it."
"But this university is a pioneer. It doesn’t decide for you what you’re going to get; it asks you what you need. Based on your answers, you and your university are re-designing higher education together."
A New Kind of Excellent Education
"You are keeping the best parts of the old model and experimenting with promising new approaches and technologies. You are finding creative ways to meet the challenges of this century—the challenges that you face in your day-to-day lives."
"You are the ones who said, Wait! I have eyes. I see a way to connect my education to my career path. I can be interested in earning money and in indulging my curiosity, in enriching my knowledge, in learning more about the world around me."
"You are the ones who said, Wait! Why do I have to sit in a specific room in a specific building for a specific amount of time? I have the guts to use new tools to learn in more convenient and dynamic ways—and, by the way, I’ll finish when I’m actually finished, not when the clock runs out."
"You are the ones who said, Wait! I don’t have to go into debt for the rest of my life to get an excellent education. I can afford to take care of my responsibilities now and train my mind for the future."
'A School is Where People Learn'
"I called you pioneers, because what you are doing is daring and new. But it’s more than that. You are not off on an island being different by yourselves. The world is paying attention, and starting to follow your example."
"So you are pioneers—and you are leaders, too. You are leading us to a new future in which a high-quality education is affordable, convenient, and relevant. And in which it is more personal, too ... not every student learns in the same way, and we need to bring learning to people, not people to learning."
"A school, a university, is not a building, it is a place where people learn."