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SPSU president named next president of northern California institution

LAR in library

MARCH 28 – The Board of Trustees of the California State University System on March 26 named SPSU President Lisa A. Rossbacher as the new president of Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif. Dr. Rossbacher, who has been president of SPSU since 1998, will make the transition between institutions this summer.

As she told the SPSU campus during a previously scheduled informal campus event to discuss SPSU’s impending consolidation with Kennesaw State University, “I will carry green [SPSU’s signature color] in my heart.” She also noted that she appreciates the fact that Humboldt State’s colors are green and gold.

Humboldt State is the northernmost campus in the 23-campus Cal State System, with 8,100 students. The university is known for its focus on sustainability and the environment, as well as being a regional center for the arts. Some of its best-known programs include art, wildlife, botany, geology and oceanography, and it has the only oceanographic research vessel for undergraduate research in the country. Humboldt State is also located in a diverse community. It was recently named a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and nine federally recognized Native American tribes are located nearby.

Dr. Rossbacher, who will be Humboldt State’s first female president, will begin work there in early July. She will remain at SPSU at least through the spring commencement on May 10.

“During President Rossbacher’s tenure at SPSU, the university experienced unprecedented enrollment growth,” said Hank Huckaby, chancellor of the University System of Georgia, following the announcement of her appointment. “She established strong ties with business and industry, encouraged development of a diverse student body and has been at the forefront of encouraging women to pursue STEM degrees. She has also proven to be a crucial partner and invaluable resource at the system level. Whether it was acting as interim executive vice chancellor for academic affairs or serving as chair of the online education task force, Dr. Rossbacher has always been ready to serve the University System. I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for her commitment and to wish her every success at Humboldt State University.”

SPSU enrollment increased by 78 percent with Dr. Rossbacher as president and new academic programs in civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering, new media arts and game design were added. During the same period, the diversity of the student population expanded to the point that nearly 50 percent of students are from traditionally under-represented groups.

“We have accomplished some wonderful things together here at SPSU, including our focus on student success, new and renovated facilities, and building a true sense of community,” Dr. Rossbacher said. “I look forward to celebrating these achievements with you in the weeks ahead.”