First Year in Review

President Jackson

During the HSU Presidential Investiture I stated, "I will do my part to lead with honor, integrity, and a genuine commitment to this amazing place." I have now had the privilege of serving as your President at Humboldt State University for one year. It has been an unforgettable experience, and I am deeply grateful for it.

"Humboldt is an amazing place with special people. It is a place filled with pride. It is a place filled with caring and motivated faculty, staff, and students. This special place will always be Humboldt because of this community. Still, I have this picture in my mind…a bold picture that shows us being this insanely amazing college of innovation. A place where ideas are freely shared and embraced. A place of innovation that leads us toward solving our world's challenges. I also see a college of service where all of us freely give of our time to our community. I see a campus where people from all over the planet come to learn because of our sciences, our teacher education and other professional programs, or our arts and music. I see a place where we freely engage with our friends and colleagues in other nations: close and far. Lastly, I see a place that embodies what a sustainable campus is while reinventing higher education for the next generation." President Jackson, Investiture, January 15, 2020

Humboldt truly is an amazing place with special people. Chief among the reasons for me making this statement is the energy of thousands of students pursuing their dreams along with the commitment of the many people who are helping them do so. I learn of inspiring examples nearly every day. There is a spirit, a source of pride bridging time and place, Redwoods and Ocean, people and animals, and nature and sky that inspire each of us daily.

Discovering this Humboldt spirit has been the real highlight of my year. I have gotten to know people on campus and in the community, and found out about Humboldt's innovative and distinctive academic programs. I met alumni and donors who shared endless stories about how their time at Humboldt influenced their lives. Of course, I have also enjoyed exploring the amazing natural environment here along the North Coast. I heard before and now I know it in my heart - Humboldt is about the people and the place.

President meets HSU Faculty

My Humboldt experience began with an impromptu gathering to meet faculty and staff in the Library, just a day after I was formally appointed. It later extended into many very enjoyable months of community and campus events, mixers, farmers' markets, fairs, sporting events, and more. I learned quickly that we didn't need to plan an event to get to know people in the community - there was almost certainly something already happening. I just had to put on a Humboldt State hat, maybe pack up some giveaways, and get out there. This led me to places like Toni's for breakfast, Scotia for a mill tour, Fortuna for a rodeo, Old Town Eureka for multiple Friday markets, the Folklife festival in Blue Lake, the Arcata Plaza for Saturday markets, and Ferndale for a fair and even an unscheduled chat with Guy Fieri. I appreciate everyone who welcomed me into their communities, organizations, and homes.

On campus, especially once the semester was underway, I enjoyed getting to know hundreds of students and faculty. This was informal on the quad and across campus, at organized morning events or small lunches, club events, and more. I attended musical performances, art exhibits, and athletic competitions. Everywhere, I found faculty and students who are enthusiastic about Humboldt and about their specific focus areas. In addition, I met high school students and other younger students throughout our community at events at high schools including Fortuna, Hoopa, Eureka, Crescent City, and others.

I have also discovered the amazing partners and supporters we have in this community and beyond. Specifically, our friends in the K-12 schools who are eager to work with us and to do even more together. At College of the Redwoods, we have a very strong friend and supporter in President Keith Flamer along with the faculty and the staff there. Business and nonprofit leaders see us as a valuable asset and partner for our region. City and county leaders enjoy our close relationship and want to do more with us. I was surprised by, and of course enjoyed, the lighthearted competition among community speakers at the Investiture as each bragged about their different community's connection to the University. I consider all of them my home.

President Jackson and President Flamer

Of course, this was also the year of multiple planned power outages in the fall, which tested the campus in many ways. I was proud of how professionally Humboldt responded and how clearly everyone was focused on ensuring our students were treated well, and the Lumberjack family as a whole was cared for. These outages seemed quite serious at the time. Little did we know that the world would soon be challenged by a pandemic, with Humboldt converting to fully virtual instruction in a matter of weeks and nearly all of our employees working from home.

In addition to everything else, I had a chance to learn about the grit and resilience of Humboldt State and of the broader community. We are strong and caring, and we look out for one another.

This first-year report highlights just a fraction of the good work and accomplishments at our University. I have learned that Humboldt State has a big, inspiring story to tell, and it is made up of countless positive moments. As President, I am committed to making sure that story gets told.

Tom Jackson, Jr., President

Image of Founders Hall

By the numbers

President Jackson's first year

40+ community organization
dinners and celebrations

65+ meals and meetings
with community members

29 meetings with students

11 visits with
tribal communities

80 campus coffees, lunches,
and other informal gatherings

600 hours of small-group and one-on-one
meetings with campus leaders

1 1 OLLI class (fly-fishing)

2 Crabs games

10 chamber mixers

32 alumni events

19 donor events

countless Zoom meetings


Commencement photos

Last year was marked by two unprecedented disruptions that have shown the resiliency of Humboldt. In the Fall, two planned power outages impacted the campus for multiple days, shutting down all but essential services. In the Spring, the pandemic struck, forcing immediate changes to how we teach, learn, research, support students, and operate the campus.

We handled it all in true and unique Humboldt style.

When the lights went out, faculty and staff rallied to keep classes going and basic services operating. Students living on and off campus went to the J for entertainment, socializing, and charging stations. Thousands of free meals were served, including to employees and their families, in gatherings that turned into important times of bonding.

Just a few months later, we were struck by the much larger crisis of the pandemic. The University transitioned to virtual operations and instructions in just days. All across campus, people worked tirelessly to make difficult changes, even in the face of uncertainty and personal challenges. There were thousands of acts of kindness, as students were assisted with basic needs, technology, advising, and so much more. We can all be grateful for the compassion of our campus community under very difficult circumstances.

Looking ahead, we face an academic year unlike any other, and the preparation this summer has been extraordinary. Our faculty have been building their online teaching skills in workshops all summer, while campus teams have been readying for virtual student support, a limited number of in-person courses, modified on-campus living in the residence halls, and more.

Thank you very much for all your updates during the power outage! They were greatly appreciated in keeping us up to date and providing confirmation (as if ANY is ever needed) that HSU is looking out for our students. I brag about the Humboldt Experience to everyone around me, I couldn't be more impressed with how you handle things and consider myself really fortunate my daughter chose to be a Lumberjack!" Wade Page, Parent

Virtual Commencement 2020

7,500+ viewers tuned in

16 virtual department receptions

2,100+ students earned
degrees & credentials

Pandemic support

1,250 Covid-19 test kits prepared by
HSU Faculty & Alumni

300+ face coverings made/donated by
HSU staff for students

$150,000+ donated for emergency support
to students


Students at Humboldt State enjoy an educational experience marked by close working relationships with their professors and an array of experiential learning opportunities. More than 25 percent of our courses include a lab, activity, field work or similar, which is perhaps the highest in the CSU system. Numerous efforts over the last year enhanced our academic excellence, while accomplishments by students and faculty continue to demonstrate it.

A major effort has been expansion of Learning Community offerings for incoming freshmen, which is fundamentally changing the first-year experience. In the College of Natural Resources & Sciences, the Place-Based Learning Communities are now available for all incoming freshmen. Other Colleges are expanding programs, including Global Humboldt in the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, which is designed for students who are still exploring majors.

We have many opportunities to innovate and lead - partnering with other universities and organizations, working more closely with employers, offering more international experiences for students, leveraging our new capacity with virtual instruction, and more.

Faculty and others from across campus have been engaged in creating a new Academic Master Plan that will guide efforts for years to come. Our new Provost, Dr. Jenn Capps, will provide valuable leadership in completing the plan this year.

Online Learning image

An enormous effort was undertaken to quickly transition to virtual instruction in the Spring, with hundreds of faculty members reworking syllabi, tackling new technologies, and migrating their lectures, labs, and courses online. They were supported by the Center for Teaching & Learning as well as Information Technology Services.

Service Learning image

In service learning courses last year, more than 1,100 students worked with more than 220 community and campus organizations. They provided 76,000 hours of service.

Students preparing taxes

The School of Business once again coordinated the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, with students providing free tax preparation for low-income community members. The students prepared 235 total federal tax returns with total refunds of $218,000. A new Venture Management concentration in the School of Business will complement the popular annual Startup Weekend.

Nursing image

The new RN-BSN program, created with significant financial support from donors, opens with its first cohort this fall. The curriculum is designed to accommodate working nurses.

Forestry image

A new concentration in Tribal Forestry will allow students to meet qualifications for federal employment, with a grounding in Native American natural resource perspectives.

Hulahoops in Redwood Bowl

Project Equip helps students concurrently earn a special education teaching credential and master's degree in kinesiology or education.

Professor Claire Till

Chemistry Professor Claire Till received a prestigious Cottrell Scholar Award. Critical Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies Professor Kimberly Berry and Communication Professor Maxwell Schnurer were recognized with the CSU Faculty Leadership and Innovation Award for their leadership on sexualized violence prevention.

Thank you to all my professors, you each taught me great lessons that make me feel ready to take on the world and thank you to my peers and family for the amazing experience! Renata Yanuska Lopez - Botany

Research & Creative Activity

Klamath Connection students

Humboldt State’s faculty and staff attract significantly more grant funding than our size would predict, especially within the CSU system. And this has a big impact on teaching and learning here. Grant-funded projects nearly always include support for students, meaning opportunities for students to carry out research and special projects. They are often able to do work as undergraduates that students at other universities can only do as graduate students.

Looking ahead, we will build upon this legacy. We will strive to do even more, to be bold and innovative. We are positioned to provide ever greater leadership for California and the world toward solving our world’s challenges.

HSU's Sponsored Programs Foundation reported a record breaking year of grant funding last Fall of more than $36 million. This was a $13 million increase over the previous year, and represented 566 active projects.

$36 million+in grants

$13 millionincrease

566 active projects

HSU's Northern California Small Business Development Center, which serves 36 counties, has been a critical resource during the pandemic. It has helped thousands of businesses with services that include advice on federal grant and loan programs. The SBDC received a $7 million federal grant to continue its work.

$7 million federal grants

The Schatz Energy Research Center continues to lead in important areas of renewable energy, including microgrids and clean and affordable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The Center provides experiential learning opportunities for more than 20 students each year.

A team of professors received nearly $500,000 from the Natural Science Foundation to add a High Energy MicroCT scanner system to the Biology/CNRS Core facility, which will expand the types of studies that faculty and students can conduct.

HSU students excelled in this year's statewide CSU research competition, taking home two first-place awards and one second-place award. And hundreds of students showcased their research and project at the University's 7th annual IdeaFest, which was virtual this year.

Social Work Professor Jennifer Maguire was awarded $80,000 to continue groundbreaking research in college student food and housing insecurity.

$80,000 for research

The University received a grant of $2.3 million from the California Social Work Education Center to continue funding the CalSWEC Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Project. These stipend programs provide support for Social Work students in exchange for a commitment to employment in a public or Tribal child welfare setting after graduation.

$2.3 million to support Social Work students

There are many other examples: HSU researchers led by Professor Steve Sillett confirmed the critical role redwood trees play in climate change, while other researchers expanded their efforts monitoring Marine Protected Areas on the North Coast and joined statewide efforts. Faculty and students conducted grant-funded research on wind energy, conifer forests, Tribal foster youth, and more.

Student Life

Student Group HSU face paint KRFH
RISS meeting

We talk about providing our students with a positive, meaningful educational experience, and that refers to the totality of their time at Humboldt State.

Our students often come to us seeking a traditional residential experience. Freshmen typically live on-campus during their first and most students live nearby in a small college town environment. Campus clubs and events are an important focus, as are outdoor adventures in our unique and beautiful natural surroundings. Student learning experience encompasses the classroom, hands-on learning, extracurricular activities, social interactions, and much more.

Marching Lumberjack playing saxophone

We help students connect and succeed through an array of academic and social support services. One example is Retention through Academic Mentoring (RAMP), in which student-mentors help new students navigate student life. Also popular are our Cultural Centers for Academic Excellence. The African American Center for Academic Excellence (AACAE), El Centro Academico Cultural, Indian Tribal & Educational Personnel Program and the Social Justice, Equity & Inclusion Center often become a home away home for students during their time at HSU, providing an array of programs and events.

Given the type of campus we are, it is important for student retention and success that we support vibrant student life activities. With that in mind, the University is working closely with students to expand student life programming. Major changes are underway to improve Dining, revamp various University Center programs, and add new activities.

Cornel West This year's AACAE Black Liberation Month celebration was notable for its two featured speakers: Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, and renowned intellectual Cornel West. After Dr. West's keynote speech, he talked with students late into the evening, just the kind of positive connection that can define a student's college experience.

Photo of Veterans

Humboldt State provides support to veteran students at the VETS Center. We have approximately 700 employees, students, and dependents who are veterans.

YES volunteers

Student volunteers provide thousands of hours of service each year on campus and in the community. They champion important social and environmental causes through various campus organizations like Youth Educational Services and the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology. They help organize large-scale events such as Campus Dialogue on Race and the Social Justice Summit. The campus and community benefit, and students build practical skills they can apply to future careers.

Doug Cherry & Ellen Colegrove

Doug Cherry (Psychology) and Ellen Colegrove (Child Development & Native American Studies) were named outstanding students of the year for their initiative, advocacy, academics, and community building efforts. They and dozens of other students were recognized at the Outstanding Student Awards virtual event.

Students, Faculty, & Staff gathering for Day of Service

At the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service, more than 100 students registered for service at four sites: Oh SNAP! Food Pantry at HSU, Jefferson Community Center in Eureka, Northcoast Regional Land Trust, and Manila Community Park.

Flight Simulator

Students from the PC Gaming Club led HSU efforts to host our first eSport gaming tournament in the spring, with both campus and high school teams competing in League of Legends.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Diversity Forum

Many efforts are underway across campus to increase the diversity of employees and students, enhance equity, and make HSU a more inclusive institution. We seek to understand how to better support and engage our students. We are exploring what it means for HSU to be a Hispanic Serving Institution and a Minority Serving Institution.

Over the last year, students, staff and faculty sponsored and organized numerous events focused on the art, writing, thought and other contributions of people of color. Members of the campus community have participated in important initiatives, including Equity Arcata. And along with the rest of the nation, we have engaged in extensive dialogue and action related to pervasive and systemic racism. We recognize that there have been disparities and, driven by our core values as an institution, we are working to repair, remove, and resolve those historical injustices.

It is vital that we invest time and energy in these efforts, that we take clear actions to achieve progress, and that we continually demonstrate our commitment to our students. To provide additional support, HSU launched a search for a new Campus Diversity Officer to guide and coordinate our efforts.

Interpretation Class BHM Debate Photo of students attending the National First Generation College Celebration

Faculty members serving as Equity Fellows are working on many projects, including strategies for employing data and reducing equity gaps in student success.

The University is continuing with a commitment to support Equity Advocates to serve on search committees.

A new Equity Ratio report provides valuable information to faculty and others about course achievement gaps for various subgroups.

A campus group is developing a platform to provide clear pathways for reporting incidents of bias and other matters on campus. We have also expanded resources and staffing for Title IX investigations.

The HSU Foundation established the Cultural Programming Fund, which will provide $150,000 over the next three years for programming by the Cultural Centers, the Office of the Dean of Students, and other diverse student organizations.

New funding has been provided for a Center for Translation and Interpretation. Students and faculty will undertake many projects, including helping create bilingual outreach materials. Funding was also provided for the student-initiated Males of Color academic support initiative.

Our Center for Teaching & Learning is carrying out numerous efforts, including inclusive teaching communities for faculty and Canvas analytics

Our cultural centers have hosted record programs for the campus and community in order to improve the sense of belonging for students of color.

Alumni and Donor Support

Rowing Coach Robin Meiggs her husband Scott Heller

HSU enjoys a strong connection with our alumni, who collectively embody the most significant impact of our work. They are putting their learning to work in the world, making a difference in their communities and in the world. And they are among the most engaged and proud alumni in the CSU system, as demonstrated through the number who give back to their alma mater and through responses to surveys.

Thousands of alumni and other donors make charitable contributions to the University each year. For many, the clear priority is supporting the student learning experience. The last year saw significant commitments, particularly to scholarships and academic programs.

Looking ahead, Humboldt State is exploring the feasibility of a major fundraising effort and a comprehensive campaign, which would be the first in its history. This effort will build on the shared aspirations of the University and its supporters.

$5 million Donors gave last year to support
HSU students & programs.

$250,000 Scholarship created by
Rowing Coach Robin Meiggs
& her husband Scott Heller

$160,000 raised for scholarships
at Investiture dinner

$250,000 Gift from Dan and Cindy Phillips
to create a scholarship for
Fortuna High School graduates

$150,000+ in funds that provided immediate
support to students during
the pandemic

$2 million+ in donations to
create new nursing program

Students making heart shapes with hands President Jackson with Dan Philips Nursing Students


Students in Lumberjack Arena

This has been a year of important changes for HSU Athletics, as the University works to broaden participation and make both intercollegiate and recreational sports more central to campus life.

HSU's student-athletes regularly excel in the classroom, on the field, and in community service. They are highly visible ambassadors for the University, and for many members of our community, Athletics is a primary way for them to engage with us. This year provided many positive examples.

Athletics also had significant changes in leadership at all levels, most notably with the appointment of Jane Teixeira as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports. Jane brings 25 years of experience in higher education as an administrator, coach, and student-athlete. Her focus is supporting student-athletes, mentoring coaches and athletic staff, and maintaining a sustainable, successful program.

Student-athletes continued to excel in the classroom this Spring,
showing their resiliency in the face of the pandemic

GPA Statistics

3.36 Average

49 ≥ 3.85 Presidential Scholars

47 ≥ 3.50 Dean's List

Womens Softball Team cleaning up beach

Student-athletes are engaged in volunteer work throughout the community. Last year, they finished 21st in the nation in NCAA Division II in community service hours, giving 4,536 hours of community service hours. Women's Soccer, Softball, Rowing, and Volleyball helped lead the way.

Student Athletes

Intercollegiate Athletics is helping lead a campus-wide effort to improve voter turnout among Student-Athletes and HSU students.

New turf College Creek field

Facilities improvements both small and large have been made in support of both intercollegiate and recreational sports. Two of the most noticeable are new artificial turf at the College Creek Soccer Field and a refinished floor at Lumberjack Arena, which includes the new Athletics logo at center court.

Humboldt First

St. Bernards students

What began as a scholarship has grown into something much more. "Humboldt First" is an acknowledgement of our special connection and responsibility to the North Coast, and a commitment to open doors of opportunity to local students. Among our goals is to triple the number of local freshmen who enroll at HSU within the next four years.

The Humboldt First scholarship is guaranteed to every student who graduates from a local high school if they enroll as freshmen at HSU. In addition, students can combine this with the new Housing Scholarship if they choose to live in a residence hall.

We are making sure that local students hear from us early and often. As part of this, we have renewed our focus on local high schools, visiting their students more often and connecting with principals, teachers, and counselors. Efforts to open up our campus for school visits have been expanded.

Finally, our relationship with the College of the Redwoods has never been stronger, with an important champion in CR President Keith Flamer. Last Fall, we signed a broad Memorandum of Understanding, committing our two institutions to work more closely on academics, operations, community outreach, and more. At the CR campus, we have added recruitment events based on interest, along with continuing to have a recruiter based there. We know CR transfers do well - they have the highest graduation rate of all students who attend HSU, at 82 percent.

Students at Scholarship dinner

The Humboldt First Scholarship was created by the HSU Foundation using $250,000 in donations from alumni and others. The scholarship provides students $4,000 over four years, and is guaranteed to graduates from high schools in Humboldt, Del Norte, Mendocino, and Trinity counties who enroll starting in Fall 2020 and maintain satisfactory academic progress.

Humboldt First Students

As of late summer, nearly 800 students had been offered the new Humboldt First Scholarship, and more than 200 were on a path to enrolling.

Top of Cypress

All students living on campus are eligible for the new $1,000 Housing Scholarship, beginning in the Fall 2020 semester. It is designed to attract students and to retain them, as data shows a connection between living on campus and academic success.

Digital Meeting

In May, HSU hosted a special digital Preview Day just for local students who were planning to enroll.


As part of our outreach to students at College of the Redwoods, HSU provided bus service to host more than 200 of them at sporting events, lectures, and other campus activities.

Trio Students

Hundreds of local high school students visited Humboldt classes in small groups as part of the growing College Connect program, which is run by the Humboldt County Office of Education.

Students arriveing for AIMD

HSU hosts a series of programs that bring large groups of students to campus to get a taste of campus life. They include American Indian College Motivation Day, which last year marked its 45th year, and I've Been Admitted to College Days.

This master's degree is dedicated to all the first-generation Native American college students in higher education. We can do it! Shayna McCullough - Social Work

Community Engagement

Humboldt State is deeply connected to our surrounding communities. This has been true since our founding more than 100 years ago, when local citizens were instrumental in lobbying Sacramento to get the institution established and then donating funds and land. They saw the value of bringing higher education to the North Coast.

Today, the region and University are highly dependent on one another. HSU is a vital asset to the region for educational opportunities, economic impact, and cultural resources. And the region serves as an extension of the University. For many students and alumni, the small towns, redwood forests, and rugged coastline are central to their college experience.

Over the last year, we have focused on strengthening and rebuilding relationships throughout the region. We are particularly focused on expanding our relationships with tribal communities, seeking new ways we can attract their students and support shared goals around economic development, resiliency, and more. Our hometown of Arcata remains a vital partner, and we are working to deepen partnerships with Eureka, Fortuna, Crescent City, and the many other smaller communities along the North Coast.

In coming years, we will be increasing our engagement and visibility throughout the region, extending our "campus" well beyond our formal boundaries.

Numbers from a recent economic impact study of HSU

$567 million+in industry activity

Every $1 state investment in the University
results in $6.86
in regional industry activity.

Supports 6,700 local jobs

Schatz Microgrid photo

Otter Art Exibit

A groundbreaking microgrid, developed with the help of HSU's Schatz Energy Research Center, allowed Blue Lake Rancheria to remain up and running during last year's planned power outages. It was able to provide fuel and other services, including power for medical devices, to organizations and thousands of people.

North Coast Otters is a public arts and science initiative with 100+ otter sculptures, each uniquely decorated by different artists. When it is safe to do so, they will be displayed throughout the North Coast at shops, restaurants, galleries, and visitor centers.

The University made a special effort to participate in more events put on by community organizations last year, creating new connections between the campus and community. As part of this, the HSU Foundation sponsored campus tables at more than 25 dinner events put on by groups like the Sequoia Park Zoo, Humboldt County Farm Bureau, St. Joseph Health, and chambers of commerce.

Campus Facilities

View from Theatre Arts Building

Efforts to enhance and expand campus facilities continue, even as most students and employees have been off campus due to the pandemic. Facilities and other staff have moved forward, with some major work being completed and some important projects just getting underway. So while it has been difficult to spend so much time away from campus, we know that exciting improvements are waiting when we return.

Many individuals were temporarily displaced or had to work in modified spaces during the recent work. We appreciate your patience and can-do spirit.

We are also deeply appreciative of everyone who was involved in mitigating challenges last year that include the asbestos concerns in Gist Hall, the various issues including keeping generators going during the planned power outages, and the complex responses required by the pandemic.

In coming years, we expect many more changes to our physical environment. Some major projects will be dependent on state funding, including the need for approval of a statewide bond. Other changes will be driven by our re-envisioning of our campus and efforts to enhance the student experience.

SBDC Jenkins Hall Trinity Children's Center and Child Development Lab

The major Theatre Arts and Library Seismic retrofit projects will be completed early this Fall semester. The Theatre Arts Project improved the overall structure and replaced roofs and ventilation systems. Similarly, the Library project significantly improved the structure of the building, renovated the lower level, and enhanced many areas around the facility.

HSU's Northern California Small Business Development Center, which provides services across 36 counties, moved to its new headquarters on Third Street in Eureka. The 2,600-square-foot space gives the center space to help its continued growth.

Opportunities for research and projects abound in our new 884-acre Jacoby Creek Forest, just a short drive from the campus. Many individuals and groups were involved in the long process of acquiring this resource for HSU.

A project to completely renovate Jenkins Hall will begin this Fall. It will have four large lecture spaces on the second floor and hands-on makerspaces on the first floor. Work is expected to be complete in Spring 2022.

Design has begun for the Trinity Children's Center and Child Development Lab Project. It will include the entire city block where the Trinity Annex building is located, with the building partially demolished and portions renovated to reflect historic architecture. It is expected to be complete in Fall 2022.