The president of Humboldt State University will retire at the end of the academic year, officials said Wednesday.
Rollin Richmond has served as head of the Arcata campus for nearly 12 years. His retirement was announced at a meeting in Long Beach of the California State University Board of Trustees and in a message to the campus community.
Richmond, 69, is the sixth president to lead Humboldt State, a North Coast campus set amid Redwood forests that serves more than 8,000 students.
“Together we have made substantial improvements in our curricula, shared governance and physical facilities,” Richmond wrote in his campus message. “All of these changes have resulted in better experiences for our students, faculty and staff. Our service to our community is widely recognized as a most important contribution.”
His tenure at Humboldt State had been marked by efforts to expand research opportunities for students and faculty, increase the campus endowment and improve facilities, including new classroom buildings, athletics and student apartments.
Richmond was previously provost at Iowa State University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from San Diego State University and a doctorate in genetics from The Rockefeller University in New York.
A committee was appointed by board chairman A. Robert Linscheid to begin the search for a new president.
The board also was briefed on two pieces of legislation recently signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown that expand the role of student trustees.
Two student trustees are appointed by the governor to serve staggered two-year terms. Previously, only one of the students had full voting power, while the second member was not allowed to vote during the first year of his or her term.
That became problematic in the 2012-13 academic year when the voting member missed three of six meetings due to health problems, leaving the 25-member board with no student vote.
The new law allows the second member to vote if the other is absent due to illness or other emergency.
The second law widens the pool of applicants for the student member to include sophomores and waives tuition fees for appointed trustees.
According to state Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego), who sponsored the law, about 100,000 more students in the 23-campus system will be eligible to serve.
"As a former CSU professor and dean, I know that students add a critical and valuable in-the-trenches perspective to trustee deliberations and their decision-making,” Block said in a statement.
The tuition waiver is already enjoyed by student members of the University of California Board of Regents.
“The role of student trustee does take a lot of time, traveling to board meetings, being a liaison and serving on committees representing 23 campuses,” said Talar Alexanian, 20, a Cal State Northridge student who is the board’s nonvoting student member. “I’m grateful the governor has seen all the work that goes into the position. This will alleviate a lot of pressure.”