Smullin Foundation Gives $400,000 for Business Internships

Over the next five years, Humboldt State University will be able to offer 150 paid internships to business students, thanks to a $400,000 gift from the Patricia D. & William B. Smullin Foundation.

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Kevin Smullin Brown and Carol Anne Smullin Brown shake hands with Lucky Logger outside the College Creek complex.

The gift creates the Smullin Undergraduate Business Internships. It will fund hands-on work experiences in businesses, non-profits, and government in Humboldt, Del Norte, and Trinity Counties. The goal is to provide valuable work experience while also helping the local economy.

“The Smullin Foundation is pleased to be able to make a difference for undergraduate business students and North Coast communities through providing paid internships,” says Carol Anne Smullin Brown, the President and Executive Director of the Foundation. “It is a privilege to support Humboldt State.”

The gift is a major boost in the University’s efforts to expand and reinvigorate its School of Business. It follows closely on the heels of a $500,000 gift to the School, given anonymously last year. The two gifts are the largest ever to HSU’s School of Business.

With this significant donor support and new investment by the University, the School has changed considerably in just the last year.

The School has been able to hire three new faculty members for the current year, and has hired two more for next year. The curriculum is being revised to create a strong core business program with a special focus on entrepreneurship and sustainability. Internship programs and other hands-on learning efforts have been expanded, and there are new initiatives aimed at involving the business community, including this spring’s inaugural “Professor for a Day” program.

The Smullin Foundation has a long history of supporting students at HSU. It also supports The Smullin Scholarship Fund, established in 1987, which now provides scholarships to eight students each year to help cover their university fees.

“We are so appreciative of the Smullin Foundation, for all that it has done for Humboldt State,” says HSU President Rollin Richmond. “This gift will make a tremendous difference for our students, while benefitting our local community as well.”

Carol Anne Smullin Brown and her son Kevin Smullin Brown, who is also on the Board of the Foundation, visited the campus last fall to meet some of the Smullin Scholarship recipients. They also learned more about the School of Business, and were impressed by its plans to grow and to expand hands-on learning opportunities.

John Lee, Dean of HSU’s College of Professional Studies which houses the business program, says the Smullin gift will provide just the type of support and experiences that will help students succeed.

“Creating more academically rigorous and practical hands-on learning experiences is a primary goal of the School of Business, which is why we have recently created a formalized internship program,” Lee says. “This generous gift from the Smullin Foundation will provide significant support for students, especially those who might not be able to afford to enter into an unpaid ‘for credit’ internship.”