Fall 2015

[Alumni News]

HSU Honors Outstanding Alumni, Students and Faculty

FOUR ALUMNI OF HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY were recognized with the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award at the annual Honors Dinner in the spring. The recipients were: Lonny Grafman (’04 Physical Science and Mathematics), R.W. Hicks (’83 Political Science), Don Neubacher (’83 Resource Management), and Staci Self (’07 Kinesiology).

Along with being an alumnus with degrees in Physical Science and Mathematics, Lonny Grafman has been an instructor in the HSU Environmental Resources Engineering Department since 2003. He is known as an educator who combines strong values about sustainability with experiential learning. As part of his teaching, Grafman is director of Practivistas Dominicana, a study abroad program. Grafman is also founder and president of Appropedia, a collaborative website focusing on sustainable projects, and the CEO of Propelsion, a technology incubator in Humboldt County.

R.W. Hicks arrived at HSU as a student-athlete in 1971, and brought recognition to the University for his prowess as a center on the football team. He was an NCAA All-American, and eventually played professionally for a short time on teams including the Detroit Lions. He was eventually inducted into the HSU Athletic Hall of Fame. After his time in the NFL, Hicks returned to HSU and completed his degree in Political Science in 1983. A few years later, he became director of the Student Academic Services Outreach Program and the federal Talent Search TRIO Program. Hicks managed the programs for the next 20 years, helping thousands of sixth through 12th-grade students go to college. He also helped HSU increase enrollment of students who were disadvantaged.

Don Neubacher earned his master’s degree in Resource Management from HSU in 1983, and has gone on to a highly successful, three-decade career with the National Park Service. He now holds one of most prestigious positions in the parks, serving as Superintendent of Yosemite National Park, which attracts more than 4 million visitors each year. Neubacher’s first position with the National Parks was at Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. Other roles have included serving as Deputy General Manager and Planning Director for the Presidio of San Francisco transition project. He was appointed Superintendent at Yosemite in 2010. In that role, he provides oversight of 1,100 employees and an $80 million budget.

Staci Self earned her degree in Kinesiology in 2007. She was a star soccer player during her time at HSU, and quickly became an excellent handball player following graduation. She’s now a member of the U.S. national women’s handball team.

After graduating from HSU, Self went on to earn a master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Cal State Long Beach. Soon after, she took a volunteer position for a non-profit organization called Operation Rainbow. Through that group, she travelled to Ecuador to provide children with free orthopedic care, helping some of them walk for the very first time. Today, Self is living and training with her teammates in Auburn, Alabama, and also working as a physical therapist.

THE DISTINGUISHED FACULTY AWARDS have been a campus tradition since 1964, when the University began honoring members of the faculty with the Outstanding Professor Award. This year, three individuals were chosen as recipients of the 2014-15 Distinguished Faculty Award at Humboldt State University. They are: Professor Chris Hopper, Scholar of the Year; Professor Marlon Sherman, Outstanding Service Award; and Lecturer Gayle Olson-Raymer, Excellence in Teaching Award.

Professor Chris Hopper, Scholar of the Year award recipient, has been an effective and dedicated researcher and administrator for more than three decades. His research has focused on improving the health and wellness of children of all ages. To that end, Hopper has published dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles and won over $11 million in grant funding. Through his work locally and with the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Education, Hopper has been able to reach diverse communities with his message of physical fitness.

Professor Marlon Sherman, recipient of the Outstanding Service Award, has made an impact well beyond his department. Faculty and students from a wide range of departments, including Sociology, Psychology, Child Development, Critical Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and English have benefited from Sherman’s support and contributions. Many students credit Sherman for making a defining difference in their lives, and his service to campus can be felt in many ways, including his work supporting Indigenous Peoples Week.

Lecturer Gayle Olson-Raymer, recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award for a Lecturer, has taught in both the History and Education departments for more than 20 years. Olson-Raymer is dedicated to her students, and her work with teachers through HSU’s education and credential programs ensures future students will benefit from her commitment to teaching. Olson-Raymer has worked tirelessly with local teachers, statewide initiatives, and national organizations to advance the teaching of history in all levels of education. Her dedication to education has had a positive impact on the quality of teaching in California.

THIS PAST SPRING, two seniors were recognized as Outstanding Students of the Year for their co-curricular contributions.

With a 3.81 GPA, Alyssa Haggard received A’s (and top scores) in all 21 upper division anthropology courses she took since Fall 2012. She was the only student to become lab coordinator in the Archaeology Research Lab and senior research assistant at the Biological Anthropology Lab at HSU. Haggard also earned the title of lead curator for her work procuring, processing, and curating departmental zooarcheological specimens. She has volunteered as a course assistant for eight classes and has tutored students before exams. Beyond HSU, she has worked on archeological projects in Belize and Poland, and was asked to return to both due to her exceptional work ethic, professionalism, and skill.

Jacob Potter has maintained a 3.8 GPA and was honored as a Presidential Scholar. He was also a member of the HSU cross-country and track and field teams, a volunteer for Youth Educational Services (Y.E.S.)—an organization of student-run community service programs—and worked with the Leadership Educational Adventure Program (L.E.A.P.) to help youth experience outdoor adventures. He eventually became a L.E.A.P. co-director, taking on everything from volunteer recruitment, screening and training to implementing weekly meetings and service events. He also volunteered as a Wilderness Patroller, and became a member of Alternative Spring Break (ASB), which spent last year’s break in San Francisco at various organizations that serve the homeless.