President’s Message

NOT LONG AGO, I read a comment from a Humboldt State University student about her experience during the pandemic. She wrote: “I have nothing but AMAZING things to say about the professors, staff and my overall experience so far! I’m truly blessed and proud to be a part of HSU! All my professors were great and went above and beyond!”

Her expression of gratitude has stayed with me. It inspires me, and it reminds me of the heart of our HSU community and our commitment to students.

A little more than a year ago, COVID-19 changed the landscape of higher education. HSU and thousands of universities and colleges across the country were forced to transition to virtual operations and remote learning. We faced challenges large and small, just like individuals and organizations around the world.

I know that adapting to a mostly virtual environment has been necessary for the health and safety of everyone on campus and in the surrounding community. At the same time, as someone who believes that community plays a critical role in education, I know that our students have been missing an essential element of college life—spending time and interacting with each other in person.

Even so, Lumberjacks have shown a true spirit of collaboration and care over the last year. You’ll find stories about that within the pages of this Spring issue of Humboldt magazine. You’ll read about the ingenuity of faculty who kept students engaged in a virtual environment and who continued conducting important research, some of which has furthered our understanding of COVID-19. You’ll read about the meticulous planning and preparations by staff who kept our campus operating through difficult times. And you’ll read about students who are still learning and, as always, giving back to the community.

This is the story of Humboldt State, a university rooted in our commitment to accessible education, our unique location, and opportunities for students to apply what they learn in the real world.

As we look ahead, we have a bright and exciting future at Humboldt State. Because of our mission and singular strengths, the California State University has asked us to explore becoming the state’s third polytechnic institution. This designation signals a tremendous opportunity to provide access to high-demand programs while expanding educational experiences that prepare students for a competitive workforce. Many students seek the hands-on learning and prestige associated with a polytechnic designation.

Humboldt State University President Tom Jackson, Jr.

At the same time, as a distinct campus within the CSU, we can make this polytechnic our own. It can be one grounded in our outstanding liberal arts programming, that infuses sustainability and traditional ecological knowledge into our curriculum, that leads in renewable technologies, and that prepares students to model equitable and ethical practices. We will most certainly remain an institution that is strengthened through our connection to the land and people of this region.

Like the student I mentioned earlier, I have nothing but AMAZING things to say about our HSU community and how we have rallied over the past year. I’m thankful for the determination, the generosity, and the compassion that has defined this University community. We have remained focused on providing students a positive, meaningful educational experience, and we continue to dream big together.

More on HSU’s Polytechnic Self-study at and the “Future Forward: 2021-2026 Strategic Plan” at