About President Rossbacher

Lisa A. Rossbacher became the seventh President of Humboldt State University in July 2014.

Since she arrived at HSU, President Rossbacher has focused on promoting student success, developing a sustainable budget, aligning programs with the core mission of the University, and implementing the University’s strategic plan.  The 2015-20 strategic plan includes four overriding goals:  (1) supporting student success, (2) developing a welcoming and safe environment for diverse populations, (3) expanding partnerships with local communities, and (4) being a good steward of resources, including fiscal, physical, and intellectual resources.

President Rossbacher has been actively engaged in the Equity Alliance of the North Coast and Equity Arcata, both of which bring together multiple stakeholders to create a community that is welcoming and supportive of diversity and inclusion.  She re-instituted the University’s Native American Advisory Council in 2015, and she has served as the presidential liaison to the CSU’s Native American Initiative since 2018.

President Rossbacher graduated from Dickinson College (Geology, summa cum laude), received master’s degrees from the State University of New York at Binghamton (now Binghamton University) and Princeton University, and earned her Ph.D. (Geological and Geophysical Sciences) at Princeton University.  She has authored books on geology, science, and the media.  Her research interests focus on the role of water and water ice on the planet Mars.  In 1984, she was a finalist in NASA’s astronaut selection process.

President Rossbacher participated in the inaugural class of the Diversity Leadership Academy of Atlanta, and she has been recognized for Outstanding Leadership in Diversity from the Office of Multicultural Affairs (Dickinson College), Leadership in Latino Education by the Atlanta Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, and the Winston M. Strickland Award from Blacks United for Youth-Cobb, Inc.  She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as an undergraduate and to the status of Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2001; she was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 2010.  Along with the other women presidents in the California State University, she was recognized with the 2015 Trailblazer Award by Leadership California.

Dr. Rossbacher is President Emerita of Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, GA.  She has also worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, a geothermal exploration company, and National Public Radio, in addition to serving as a faculty member and administrator at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Whittier College, and Dickinson College.  She was the first woman geologist to become a university president in North America.