Distinguished Alumni Hailed, Honored - Humboldt State Now

Distinguished Alumni Hailed, Honored

The Humboldt State University Alumni Association recognized three exceptional alumni during its 2006-2007 Distinguished Alumni Awards banquet dinner, April 19, on the Humboldt State campus. Some 138 guests were in attendance to celebrate honorees Ken Fisher, Wesley Chesbro, and Michelle Kelly, who have each exemplified the great leadership and contribution to the community and environment that has long been part of the Humboldt Spirit.

The Humboldt State University Alumni Association recognized three exceptional alumni during its 2006-2007 Distinguished Alumni Awards banquet dinner, April 19, on the Humboldt State campus.

Some 138 guests were in attendance to celebrate honorees Ken Fisher, Wesley Chesbro, and Michelle Kelly, who have each exemplified the great leadership and contribution to the community and environment that has long been part of the Humboldt Spirit.

Kenneth L. Fisher earned an Economics degree at Humboldt State in 1972, and is now one of the world’s leading financial advisors. Fisher Investments, his global money management firm, manages more than $35 billion for Fortune 500 companies, prominent institutions and affluent individuals. He has also written four finance books, including the New York Times Business Bestseller, “The Only Three Questions That Count (Investing By Knowing What Others Don’t), released in December, 2006.

In the company of his son, friends, and past professors, Fisher reflected on his experiences as a shy, though forthright, young student who lived in a tree house, sighting one of the greatest things about Humboldt State to be the opportunity to really know and work with the professors – something he would not have traded to attend a much larger, and perhaps more prestigious, economics school. He said it was those professors’ challenging of conventional wisdom and focus on thinking outside the box – “It’s weird. And that’s cool.” – that he credits, in part, to his success.

Wesley Chesbro attended HSU from 1969 to 1973 and majored in Natural Resources. It was here that he began his political career – starting with Associated Students, which his son Alan is involved with currently – and eventually led to an eight-year term as a state senator. Chesbro also chaired the Senate Budget Committee, where he was a champion for environmental protection, higher education, K-12 education, local government and rural health care. But Chesbro, who still makes Humboldt County his home, said the campus fosters leadership in environmental causes, and regularly meets and works with fellow alums involved with statewide and large-scale environmental initiatives.

Michelle D. Kelly earned her degree in Nursing in 1985 and through her chosen vocation as a nurse she has helped civilians affected by war. Her volunteer humanitarian efforts have taken her from the first job as an RN in nearby Hoopa reservation to far-off locations such as Afghanistan, Angola, Iraq, Kashmir, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Kosovo and Uganda. While she’s not off doing humanitarian work, she inspires a new generation of HSU students as a lecturer in the Department of Nursing. But as she was awarded Distinguished Alumni of 2007, she said, “I’m very, very humbled.”

The HSU Alumni Association has been recognizing alumni achievements since 1960, when it launched its annual Who’s Who award. The Alumni Association is already taking nominations for next year’s recipients. To obtain a nomination form, or for more information, contact the Alumni Association at alumni@humboldt.edu or (707) 826-3132.