Donors Give $6.6 Million to Support HSU Students and Programs Students - Humboldt State Now

Donors Give $6.6 Million to Support HSU Students and Programs Students

With an endowment reaching record levels and strong support from donors, it was an impressive year for giving at Humboldt State University.

A $31,684 gift from Emeritus Professor Manny Kaster helped HSU launch the Zagster bikeshare program.

From July 2016 to June 2017, the University’s endowment had a nearly 14 percent return and grew to a record $30.9 million. Funds from the endowment have helped HSU award the most ever scholarships and funding for special programs.

The University also raised $6.6 million in charitable support from donors and alumni for education, community service, and research programs. That includes more than $1.8 million that supported academic mentoring services, food security programs, scholarships, awards, and internships.

“With donor support, we are building a stronger and greener Humboldt State, more capable of delivering transformative experiences for our students that prepare them for an exciting, sustainable future,” says Duncan Robins, the outgoing chair of the HSU Advancement Foundation (HSUAF), which oversees the endowment. The Foundation’s board is made up of volunteers and donors who help raise funds for the University.

Donors gave to a broad variety of scholarships and internships, supporting over 650 HSU students. With a focus on sustainability, HSUAF’s board made strides toward funding internships by raising over $100,000 for the Go Green Fund this year. The fund will support paid student interns working on clean energy projects across campus.

In keeping with its deep commitment to environmental responsibility, HSU established a bikeshare program this year, thanks in part to a $31,684 gift from Emeritus Professor Manny Kaster. Manny’s gift funded the installation of a bike share station on campus, giving HSU students greater access to environmentally friendly transportation.

In another innovative development, HSU started an online crowdfunding program to support several projects, including a successful $20,000 campaign to fund repairs on HSU’s research vessel, the Coral Sea—demonstrating that donors are passionate about providing hands-on learning experiences for students.

Donor funding is also transforming the HSU Library through a significant gift from librarian emerita Joan Berman. Joan worked 42 years in the library, including serving as the Special Collections Librarian for 17 years. Joan’s gift will help facilitate the renovation of the HSU Library’s Special Collections area, which will feature a lab space that combines primary source research and digital technologies such as map and document scanners.

Donors are also enhancing learning by funding a variety of scholarships. One honors Lowell Diller, a former HSU professor and Green Diamond Resource Company wildlife biologist. A beloved teacher, Lowell led research efforts of several wildlife species and collected the largest known dataset on the northern spotted owl. When Lowell passed away this year, his brother, Dave Diller, along with family members, established an HSU scholarship to honor him. Green Diamond joined in with a $50,000 gift to permanently endow the Lowell Diller Wildlife Scholarship to support future generations of HSU scholars.

The future is also bright for students due to record growth in HSU’s planned gift outreach program, which resulted in eight new charitable gift annuities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Charitable Gift Annuities, which enable donors to make contributions and receive lifetime income with tax benefits, can be a great option for donors and the University. Humboldt State also received several bequest commitments, which are gifts made through a donor’s estate plans supporting HSU students and programming.

Prior planned giving efforts resulted in a nearly $700,000 bequest from alumna Alice Whitson (‘53, Education), who established an endowment for HSU’s School of Education through her will. Alice, a lifelong teacher, attributed her success to the high-quality and affordable education she received at Humboldt State.

Donors play a vital role each year in keeping access to quality education alive for students: “Some students don’t have the resources or support systems to help them through college and they are carrying that burden on their own,” says Randy Moory, who established the Geology Department Opportunities Fund with a recurring annual gift of $6,000. “That’s why it’s important for alumni and donors to give them what they need.”

To learn more about giving opportunities and philanthropy at Humboldt State University, call 707.826.5101 or send an email to You can also visit