Fall 2009

From the President

President Richmond

I have four children, all of them college-educated and as happy and successful as this uncertain world allows. But I miss having them in our home, and like many American families today, the grandchildren live far away. It is just one of countless things life does not allow me to control.

I am particularly reminded of this state of affairs each fall, when parents and families drop off a new batch of students at Humboldt. The students tend to be eager to meet new friends and get started in an exciting new phase of their lives. Their fathers, mothers and other relatives mainly try to put on brave faces. I know how they feel.

Those of us who work at Humboldt State try to make things easier. We involve families in summer orientation programs, and faculty members and staff take plenty of time to talk with them individually. It’s their introduction to the Humboldt sense of community.

I talk to parents as someone who has been in their situation many times. Mainly, I encourage them to remain involved with their children, while still allowing them the freedom to shape their interests and establish their own futures. When possible, I also share some of the things I said to my own children when they left for college, as well as things I didn’t say.

I remember encouraging my kids to get the most out of their university experience. I urged them to choose their friends wisely because they would be of help during the college years, and those friendships could last a lifetime. I suggested getting to know the faculty because they would ask the hard questions, challenge their perspectives and enable them to cultivate their own beliefs. I told my children to take classes outside their interests to expand their horizons. And lastly, I urged them to manage their money carefully because those skills make a positive difference in life.

What I didn’t say was that I expected their lives to be transformed by their years at college and that I hoped they would learn to balance what is important in life. I wanted them to succeed and yet have fun in the process. I also didn’t tell them that making mistakes and learning from them is very important and that it would benefit them for the remainder of their lives. I hoped that the choices they made would nurture their confidence.

These are the sorts of things that all parents and families want for their new college students, and I confidently tell them that they made a great choice in Humboldt State. I feel privileged to work at a place with such a strong commitment to fostering students’ inherent potential. Our faculty and staff motivate, inspire and guide students, providing them with a supportive community that brings out their best. At the same time, we have a surrounding community that welcomes our students, and our alumni enthusiastically promote the unique HSU experience, providing philanthropic support and serving as outstanding role models.

It all makes a tremendous difference, which Humboldt State parents and families discover as they become part of our community.

Rollin Richmond