Fall 2010

From the President

President Richmond

He told me about being on the HSU team that took the top prize, for a micro-hydroelectric system in Bhutan, at the National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, D.C. He also told me about his plans for a new business on the North Coast. (I’m sworn to secrecy on the concept.)

Not long after, I was at an event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a local community fund. A woman introduced herself to me and told me how much her HSU degree has meant to her life.

As president, of course, I never get tired of hearing these stories. They are reminders that we are doing our job. And I hear plenty of them, given that so many of our area’s entrepreneurs and professionals have ties to Humboldt State.

The stories are also reminders of just how important higher education is to the economy. That is especially clear on the North Coast, where HSU is quite a large institution when you consider the area’s small population. There are few portions of the local economy that have not been impacted by HSU – and we are constantly working to do even more through efforts like our Small Business Development Center, which has helped spur the growth of many local businesses.

A new statewide study for the California State University system, conducted by ICF International, describes just how significant the impact is.

The report shows that the overall economic impact of HSU and the other 22 CSU campuses amounts to $17 billion annually in California. That is $5.43 for every $1 invested by the state. Humboldt State alone supports about 2,300 jobs on the North Coast, and has an economic impact in our area of $190 million annually.

We often hear politicians talking about the “costs” of public higher education, but the reality is different. Higher education is a smart investment in our state’s economy and in social stability, and one that has always paid big dividends.

I hope you will remind your local representatives of the need to support education in our state. Our children and grandchildren are counting on us.

The full study on the impact of the CSU system is at www.calstate.edu/impact.

Rollin Richmond