Fall 2013

From the President

Rollin RichmondThe new semester is well underway at Humboldt State. Students have returned, and the campus is gratifyingly loud and energized once again.

Of course, this Fall is a special one, as Humboldt State has begun celebrating our Centennial Year. It is an important milestone. Humboldt State reaching the century mark is a reminder of California’s long and important commitment to our young people, in the form of public higher education.

Like many others, I have been reflecting often about the people and events that have shaped Humboldt State. One of the most important elements has been the role that students have played in defining our mission as a university educating both students and our community in social and environmental responsibility. You probably played a role during your time at Humboldt.

Certainly much has changed since our days as a teacher training school. We have many more students, with different expectations. We have adjusted and responded to historical forces and to society’s needs. Today, we are a comprehensive university with diverse academic offerings, a campus that many students travel far to attend and one with thousands of alumni spread around the globe.

But something very important has endured. Humboldt is still a place where faculty and staff are passionately committed to changing students’ lives for the better, a place that puts students and their learning ahead of all other concerns. This was true in our earliest years, and it’s a value that has been passed down. It’s a common theme when alumni and current students share their campus experiences.

Today, we are building on that foundation. Students and their success are at the heart of Humboldt State’s agenda as we begin our next century.

We know there is an increasingly strong link between a college education and economic well-being. If a student drops out, that impact is felt for a lifetime. So our challenge is to innovate and evolve, to make sure that even more of our students have a positive experience and are able to graduate. As large and festive as our graduation ceremonies are each spring, we want them to be bigger.

Many new efforts are under way, including a program that matches student mentors with incoming freshmen. We also have a new system in place that alerts faculty and advisors when students are struggling, so they can intervene earlier. We are bringing together student support programs to make them more effective, and creating new Centers of Academic Excellence to provide even more assistance. These are just a few of the latest expressions of Humboldt’s focus on the student experience.

Students are applying to this remarkable institution, and enrolling, in record numbers. They need us to push them to achieve their dreams and to empower them to make a difference in the world. They are counting on us to help them be successful. It’s a privilege to be a part of their success, and I can think of no better way of honoring our history.