Your Story

HSU's Centennial offers a great time to read the stories and share the pictures that made up YOUR Humboldt State experience. That's why we asked alumni to share their memories on the Centennial website. Some of the highlights are published here.

From tales of professors who changed lives, to clubs that helped build lifelong friendships, the stories you shared reflect the values that make Humboldt State a special place.

Visit to learn more.

Four Generations

Above: This is my great-great grandmother, Ada Parrott of Fortuna, on the right (with all her children). My great-grandmother, Nell Parrott King, a member of Humboldt State’s third class, is in the middle. My great-aunt, Bertha, on the top left, graduated in the first class at Humboldt State Normal School.

Submitted by Molly Sherman (’07, Education)

Humboldt Connection: I am proud of my Humboldt State University heritage! Four generations of my family have graduated from HSU with degrees in Education. My great-grandmother, Nell Parrott (1), was a member of Humboldt State Normal School’s third graduating class of 1917. Nearly 50 years later, my grandmother, Bernardita Ruiz (2), earned a degree in Elementary Education in 1963, followed by my grandfather, Robert King, in 1964. My parents, Lynda and Michael Mealue (3), graduated in 1976 and 1977, respectively. Following this long-standing tradition, I chose to attend HSU (4). I fell in love with my husband, Eric Sherman, in Harry Griffith Hall during a romantic Calculus 2 course. We both graduated in 2007. Each member of my family (except my husband) also completed HSU’s credential program to become a teacher in the Humboldt/Del Norte County area. My grandparents, parents, as well as my husband and I were married while still attending HSU. The school has made it possible for my family to continue building our lives in this wonderful area. Words cannot express how much our Humboldt State heritage has meant to my family. In addition, I am happy to report that I am pregnant with the fifth generation of a potential HSU graduate, not that there is any pressure about what school she chooses to attend.

Mark Cotright (’76, Art)

Special memory: Reese Bullen. It’s a name on a building to some but for me it’s so much more.

He became my mentor and unknown to me at that time his lessons influenced an ethic in me that holds true to this day. I had no idea that what he taught me would become my full-time profession in life for more than 40 years now.

I started out with ceramics in high school in 1969 in Long Beach, Calif., moved to Humboldt in 1971 and took a year and half of junior college at College of the Redwoods. I transferred as an Art student to Humboldt State in ’73. I met Reese that first quarter in ceramics, as that was my main interest in Art. Over the next decade I got to know him very well. I graduated in early 1976 with a B.A. in Art with as much ceramic work I could absorb and during that time had made friends with Reese and his wife, Dottie.

I did some property work for him as well as house sitting and helped him move from their close-to-campus house to one on the coast, near Trinidad. I ended up buying one of his kilns and he passed on his calligraphy and clay tools to me, as he got older.

He instilled a work ethic in me that is part of my everyday nature now, working through issues with clay or life with a focus and honest approach.

I learned much about glazes and firing and technique ceramics from him, but what I recall most was his great stories about life, love and war (he was on Oahu during the Pearl Harbor attack), and his jokes. I chose to stay in Humboldt after school and have been here ever since making pottery for a living running Liscom Hill Pottery. You may see my ceramic work around the county but what you really are seeing is a student of Reese Bullen who is still working on the knowledge he passed on to me.

Whenever I see his name on the gallery wall at HSU I’m so thankful I got to know him as the great man he was passing on lessons in life that still ring true today for me.

Part of the HSU community project to document your memories from campus included dozens of photos shared by you, HSU's alumni. Here are some highlights. As always, you can share your own and view more shared photos at

Paul Sheppard (’82, Forestry)

Clubs & Activities: Back in my Humboldt days (early 1980s), we had to complete an Emphasis Phase, which was a package of several courses outside your major that amounted to upper level general education, or almost a degree minor. I majored in Forestry, but I discovered choral singing while at Humboldt, so I chose Music as my Emphasis Phase. While singing in various official Humboldt choirs, I was turned on to barbershop harmony and promptly found three other Humboldt guys to form a barbershop quartet.

We called ourselves The Old College Try, and we sang on and around campus practically every day just for fun and to entertain whomever might be walking by us. In addition to various gigs off campus, we provided the banquet entertainment for the 1982 All Western Forestry Clubs Conclave, which was held at Humboldt.

Over 30 years since graduating, my Humboldt experiences remain central to who I am. I still work with trees, my major, and I’m also still singing barbershop. My favorite quartet of all time, The Old College Try, still reunites every now and then to sing again the old songs.

Allison Sadauskas (Pasto) (’00, English)

First Year at Humboldt: As a high school senior from a tiny suburb of San Francisco, I was very much looking forward to leaving my home after graduation and beginning a new chapter of my life. After visiting several colleges in California, I decided on Humboldt State University.

I felt the small town atmosphere of Arcata, its location in the redwoods and the small class sizes would be a perfect fit for me. As I drove up to unload my car the first day at Redwood Hall, I was excited and nervous about all the new people I would meet and the task of making entirely new friends. But nothing could prepare me for the wonderful new people I met that first year at HSU. Not only did I become fast friends with my fellow third floor roommates, I also embraced my classmates and fellow students. Now, nearly 16 years later, I am even closer than ever to that “core” group of friends from my first year of college. We have traveled together, celebrated weddings, babies and many achievements. We would never have even met, let alone become friends, had it not been for HSU. I am eternally grateful to HSU for introducing me to these amazing people in my life.

Christina Castaneda­-Hull (’06, Political Science)

Falling in Love: Steve Hull was the first friend I made at HSU. We started dating our freshman year and even worked together at HOP. He was a math major and I was deep into prepping for law school. We married June 25, 2010, the ninth anniversary of our first day as friends. At our wedding, both my maid of honor and his best man were our closest friends at HSU. Today we live in Oakland, happily married and still close to many of our HSU friends. At HSU, we not only built a solid educational foundation, but also friendships and a marriage for life.

Rick Hoffmann (’68, Forest Management)

Favorite Professor/Classes: Dr. David Lauck and his Forest Entomology class changed my life. I was finishing my B.S. in Forestry and took the dreaded forest entomology class. It was difficult. He was demanding, but a magical teacher. I absolutely fell in love with the science. I went on to get a master’s degree in Biology/Entomology, worked for 17 years in integrated pest management (IPM) on citrus insect pests for UC Berkeley and did some foreign IPM consulting in Morocco and Spain. I married a microbiologist studying viruses of stored product insect pests.

To Dr. Lauck, or his memory, thank you.

Deanna Chew (’93, Marine Biology)

Favorite Professor/Classes: I had two, Dr. Rasmussen, my advisor, and Dr. DeMartini. They both influenced my path toward graduation. Dr. Rasmussen helped me by suggesting I get tested for academic challenges. Thanks to him, I got the assistance I needed for my learning disability. He was also very supportive in encouraging me to never quit on my dream of graduating with a Biology degree. Dr. DeMartini also encouraged me to learn word roots, which was a great skill in biology.

Daniel Mandell (’79, History)

Clubs & Activities: I started studies at HSU in the fall of 1975, after a year of living in Israel. There was no Jewish student group, so I started the Jewish Student Union and, with a small but great and active core, organized a series of activities.

The most amazing was the Passover seder that we organized the first year, in April 1976. We decided to invite any and all who wished to attend, so made it a potluck (no pork or bread, please), bought a large order of matzo and other necessities, and reserved the old Arcata Community Center with the hope that 25 or perhaps a few more might come. We were shocked when over 180 people packed the building. It became a transcendent evening.

JSU members scattered around the various tables so that, as we went through the ritual story of Passover and the symbols, all could (and did) feel involved. I have attended, organized, and run many seders since, but that remains the most meaningful and magical one, and it sealed my connection to the community. My work with the JSU was my first leadership experience, which has been helpful in life after HSU. But more important is the memory of that wonderful loving seder.

Allison Travis ­Bee (’85, Political Science)

Falling in Love: On June 18th, my husband, Allan Bee, and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary. He likes to add the two years prior, dating back to our first burger and beer in the Rathskeller. We initially met in the fall of 1980 as transfer students in the PoliSci pre­semester meeting. He seemed to be very clear about the path he wanted to take in life; I’m afraid I derailed him a bit. Though we both have graduate degrees from another college, our time at Humboldt laid the foundation for our relationship, which has endured all that life throws at two people over three decades and the bounty too, namely Carson and Lauren, our two beautiful kids. We are at the enviable stage of watching our kids go through college and thinking back to lively classroom debates, amazing professors, beautiful beaches, towering redwoods and those damned stairs to Founders Hall.

Happy birthday, HSU! You’re always in our hearts.

Written by Robert W. Harris (brother of James J. Harris, ’38)

Clubs & Activities: Charles “Charley” Erb was the football coach at Humboldt State College during the Depression years. Known as “a master of firing up a team,” he was Humboldt’s first winning coach. In 1935, he learned that there was a group of Oakland and Bay Area high school graduates who had been outstanding football players in high school. Erb learned that the group met on weekends to play football for the love of the sport and arranged to get football scholarships for the team members to attend Humboldt. None of them would have been able to afford college on their own (less than five percent of the country at that time attended college). The scholarships enabled the football players to work part­time at a barrel factory in Samoa to earn their room and board.

With the addition of the new team members, the 1936 team beat San Jose State. They also defeated Chico State. They were remarkable wins as both colleges were much larger than Humboldt. The football team at the time was known as the Humboldt Thunderbolts.

During this era, there were no offensive and defensive teams. All players played on offense and defense, a full 60 minutes per game, if they were able.

During the Depression, segregation was widespread in the United States. The scholarship football players ate their meals as a group in a boarding house. In keeping with the time, the kitchen staff set a separate table for the two black team members. At that time, segregation was considered proper.

At the first meal, all of the white football players walked out of the dining room, in protest to having the black players separated. Thereafter, all of the players ate at the same table. This act was a tribute to the courage of the white players, as well as to Humboldt State College. They broke the color line decades before the rest of the U.S. The last of the Humboldt ’36 team, James J. “Jim” Harris, passed away in 2011 at the age of 95.

Kate Goodenough (’00, Marine Biology)

Favorite Professor/Classes: Dr. Dennis Walker was my general botany professor. He was tough as nails, but I learned more with him as my professor than any other class I took at Humboldt. His passion for plants drew me in and encouraged me to learn more.

Clubs & Activities: Field Biology Club and the Marine Mammal Education and Research Program were the two main groups I was involved with. They were the start to a very long career in field biology and coastal and marine research.

Parker Polluck (’63, ’67, Economics)

Clubs & Activities: I was a member of Delta Sigma Phi, played varsity football for four years and taught first year econ as a graduate student. The fraternity was great fine men and to play on Humboldt’s first undefeated team which amassed a 20-and-0 record over two seasons, albeit we lost by a point in the Holiday Bowl in 1960. The teaching experience convinced me that teaching would be my career, which it was for 42 years.

Roger Bucholtz (’71, Social Sciences)

First week: I was one of the first groups to live in Humboldt Village by the Auto Shop. They put eight students to a trailer and in our first week, we had numerous water fights and got everything wet: ourselves and the inside of the trailer. One water fight on Friday night, we doused a bus full of high school students going to Redwood Bowl for a football game. The trailer complex flooded during the rains until they put in a central drain.

Favorite Professor/Classes: Dr. Raymond Barratt was the Dean of Science and when I petitioned to use my science classes for my Social Science degree he counseled me to get a minor in Botany.

He even tutored me in the late afternoon on Organic Chemistry so I could pass Dr. Lovelace’s Plant Physiology class. Dr. Barratt somehow got me accepted into Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa., for a summer program in horticulture, which included students from the most prestigious schools in horticulture like Cornell, Michigan State and Purdue. In the 20 years they had the program, I was probably the only Social Science major they ever allowed.

Clubs & Activities: I was involved with the Newman Club and the California Native Plant society.