Centennial Convocation Highlights Student Support Goals

Humboldt State University is launching its 100th Anniversary Year with a cluster of new student support programs to build diversity and boost retention and graduation rates.

President Rollin Richmond highlighted the initiatives at the 2013 Fall Convocation Aug. 19 in Van Duzer Theater:

In parallel, the Academic Affairs and Student Affairs Divisions are consolidating student support into a new unit named Retention and Inclusive Student Success. It comprises the Advising and Career Center, the Educational Opportunity Program, the Learning Center, the MultiCultural Center and Native American student support programs, among others.

The new unit also includes multiple Centers for Academic Excellence, to be created this academic year. These new entities will focus on culturally-relevant academic and co-curricular support for students, particularly those from underrepresented populations.

Richmond announced that HSU’s Centennial has received official recognition from U.S. Representative Jared Huffman, 2nd District CA, in the Congressional Record and from the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors.

“There will be more Centennial proclamations from local cities and others in coming weeks and months and it is so gratifying to know there is that kind of support for Humboldt State,” Richmond stated.

The president noted that Humboldt State earned a STARS silver rating in its first year in the program, placing it among the top 200 universities nationwide. This achievement is due in large part to student-led efforts, Richmond said. “It is confirmation of the good sustainability work we have done for many years and, perhaps as importantly, it provides us with the guidance for doing even more going forward.”

Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs Colleen Mullery introduced 26 new tenure-line faculty and librarians at Convocation:

Richmond presented a Presidential Medal to Bob Gearhart, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Resources Engineering, for nearly four decades of service to the improvement of water quality, from local to international. His contributions stretch from Arcata’s wetland treatment system to multiple stateside locations and countries spanning the globe, among them Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia and Mexico.

Gearhart has served with the World Bank, U.S. AID (Agency for International Development), the Asian Development Bank and Humboldt State’s student chapter of Ingénieurs sans Frontières (Engineers without Borders).

A former HSU Scholar of the Year (1989), Gearhart has more than 50 publications and was an author/contributor for the 1999 EPA Constructed Wetland Design Manual and the Bureau of Reclamation Environmental Technology Initiative. He is a member of the International Water Association, the American Water Association and the Society of Wetland Scientists.