Spring 2014

From the President

President Rollin Richmond

As a University President, I spend a lot of time going over reports filled with statistics, projections and data that tell us how we are doing.

The scientist in me is impressed with the sheer volume of data-gathering we do to measure our progress. But what is really impressive is that, in the end, all this reporting is just for one thing—helping us offer a great learning experience. Yes, even in the bureaucratic details, you find Humboldt’s obvious care and commitment to students.

For me, the most significant “report” of the year is delivered in person each spring at commencement.  On that day, when our student body temporarily shrinks and our alumni family welcomes new members, we see the results of the hard work of both our students and our faculty, parading across the stage one at a time. It is a joy for those of us who work at Humboldt State to be able to share that big day with hundreds of graduates, their families and their friends.

I have had the privilege of overseeing 12 such ceremonies, over a time when 19,055 students have earned degrees or credentials from Humboldt. Assuming this year’s class is keeping up with readings and tests, there should be at least 1,000 more by the end of this semester. That is a lot of individual accomplishment, and I am proud to say these graduating classes have grown both larger and much more diverse in recent years.

Commencement is when the promise of so many of these young people shines most vividly. As we celebrate with them, we also celebrate the future, because we know that their impact will be felt far beyond our little campus for decades to come. Each graduating class gives us more individuals who are prepared to make a positive difference in their communities and the world, and more individuals in a better position to support their families.

This May will be bittersweet for me, as it will be my final commencement ceremony as president. I will be retiring after more than four decades in higher education.

As you might expect, I have a great deal of pride in Humboldt’s many accomplishments, and in the small part I have been able to play in its development. But I am most proud of those newly minted alumni we celebrate at commencement.

I have long held that Humboldt students are decidedly different from students elsewhere. They have a strong desire to bring positive change to the world and are willing to work hard to accomplish it. They have ideas, they want to put them to work, and (as I will share with Humboldt’s next President) they fully expect those of us who work at Humboldt State to have the same sort of passion.

Humboldt’s students have inspired me during my time here. They continue to inspire me as I look toward the future, one that will be bright because of the thousands of Humboldt graduates who will make it so.