Humboldt State University

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Not to be confused with Humboldt University of Berlin.
Humboldt State University
Former names
Humboldt State Normal College (1913–35)
Humboldt State College (1935–72)
California State University, Humboldt (1972–4)
Motto ΦΩΣ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ (Greek)
Motto in English
Light Truth
Type Public
Established June 16, 1913
Endowment $28.0 million (2015)[1]
President Lisa Rossbacher
Provost Jenny Zorn
Academic staff
Students 8,485 (Fall 2014)[2]
Undergraduates 7,962 (Fall 2014)
Postgraduates 523 (Fall 2014)
Location Arcata, California, U.S.
Campus Rural, 144 acres (58 ha) main campus and nearly 591 acres (239 ha) of additional property[2] Total: 733 acres
Colors Green and gold
Nickname Lumberjacks
Mascot Lucky Logger[5]
Affiliations California State University
HSU logo.png

Humboldt State University (HSU) or Humboldt State,[6] also occasionally referred to as Humboldt, is the northernmost campus of the 23-school California State University (CSU) system, located in Arcata, Humboldt County, California, United States. The main campus, situated hillside at the edge of a coast redwood forest, has commanding views overlooking Arcata, much of Humboldt Bay, and the Pacific Ocean beyond. The college town setting on the California North Coast, 8 miles (13 km) north of Eureka and 279 miles (449 km) north of San Francisco, is notable for its natural beauty.

The university, which is divided into three academic divisions or "colleges," offers 48 types of bachelor's degrees, 12 different master's degrees, over 60 minors, and at least 16 specific types of education related credentials, the majority of which are teaching credential programs.[7][8] HSU does not offer doctoral degrees.

In addition to the main campus, HSU has multiple off-campus facilities and education-related properties, including an ocean-side marine biology research center, a wildlife care facility, a public natural history museum, a public art gallery, a bay-side aquatics facility, a mountain-top astronomy observatory, an ocean-going marine research and teaching vessel, and a demonstration forest.[9]


Humboldt State Normal School was established as a teacher's college on June 16, 1913, by then-California Governor Hiram Johnson and named after the famous German scientist Alexander von Humboldt. The cities of Arcata and Eureka (and to a lesser extent Fortuna[10]) competed with one another to host the new campus. It opened on April 6, 1914 in the former Arcata Grammar School building with 78 students and 5 faculty. The school was put under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Education, renamed Humboldt State Teacher's College and Junior College, and moved to its current location in 1921. In 1924, during the presidency of Ralph Waldo Swetman, the Associated Students and the Alumni Association were organized and The Foghorn, the first student newspaper, was published. Bachelor's degrees began being offered in 1927. The school was renamed Humboldt State College in 1935 and the next year the Lumberjack was adopted as its mascot. In 1937, the students opened a cooperative bookstore and soda fountain, which would exist for the next 40 years as the center of student life.

During World War II, Arcata's city defense council suggested camouflaging Founder's Hall, which is visible from the Pacific Ocean, would not be a target for Japanese submarines. The council made its request in 1942, but Founder's Hall was not painted until the spring of 1944. The building remained camouflage green until 1948.[11]

Graduate programs began being offered in 1947. Under President Siemens in 1952, HSU continued expanding by accepting students from abroad, including some from Yugoslavia, Germany, the Near East as well as US territories such as Samoa, Guam and Hawaii. KHSC, later KHSU, the first state college radio station in California, was established. In 1960, the college joined the newly formed California State College system. The junior college program, terminated at HSU in 1962, was re-established in 1964 at College of the Redwoods (CR) located at the southern edge of Eureka. CR is located only seventeen miles south of HSU, and the two institutions maintain a close working relationship, with many students transferring to HSU following graduation from CR.

Student activism on campus rose through the 1960s and early 1970s, peaking in a protest against the Vietnam War with about 800 students (out of 3,600) participating in demonstrations on October 15, 1969. This was followed by another protest with nearly 3,000 students who planned a strike after the Cambodian Incursion. With similar events across the state, Governor Reagan shut down the CSC system in May 1970 for the rest of the year. The 1970s also saw the rise of feminist, cultural, and LGBT groups, and though the Women's Center would be the only one to survive through the 1980s, most groups would reappear by the mid-1990s. The campus currently hosts a United Students Against Sweatshops group that is active in lobbying for ethical products and services on campus.[11]

David Philips (HSU alum) established the Humboldt Film Festival in 1967. It is now one of the oldest student-run festival in the world.[11] In 1996 the annual Explorations in Afro-Cuban Dance and Drum workshop began being held on the campus every July. The workshop is the largest assemblage of Afro-Cuban folkloric masters in the United States, drawing students from across the country and around the world.

In 1972, the college was renamed California State University, Humboldt, and was further renamed Humboldt State University two years later. Enrollment first reached 7,500 in 1974, and though it has increased to near 8,000 in years since, the university remains one of the smallest in the CSU system. Through the 1980s, mature students became a large part of Humboldt State's student body, and in 1986 40% of the students were over the age of 25.[12] The number has since decreased to 30%.[13]

In 1987 students and activists founded the optional Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility. The purpose of the Pledge is to encourage graduating students to be mindful of the social and environmental impacts of their employment as they enter the workforce or continue their education. Today over one hundred Universities and colleges worldwide use the Pledge to some extent.[14]


Fall Freshman Statistics[15][16][17][18]
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Applicants 11,912 11,261 9,976 9,417 9,207 9,418
Admits 9,119 8,514 8,050 8,768 7,278 7,135
 % Admitted 76.55 76.06 80.69 93.10 79.04 75.75
Avg GPA 3.20 3.21 3.15 3.13 3.16 3.16

The university is divided into three colleges: the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the College of Natural Resources and Sciences; and the College of Professional Studies. There are 49 undergraduate majors and 73 minors.[19] The two largest majors are Biology and Art, both with over 20 faculty members and extensive facilities on- and off-campus. There are several credential programs and twelve Master's programs, of which Natural Resources and Social Work are the largest. The new Energy, Environment, and Society graduate program is unique to the CSU, and provides graduates with interdisciplinary training in engineering, economics, and climate policy.

The University Library supports students and faculty from all three academic colleges. Beginning in 2015, the Library launched HSU Press to showcase research and scholarship across the campus.[20]

Humboldt State is one of only two universities in California to offer a major in botany, the other is California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Its botany program is the nation’s largest undergraduate program. Humboldt State is the only university in California to offer a degree in rangeland resources and wildland soil science.[21] The Native American Studies major and the Oceanography major are also unique to the California State University system. The university offers unique minors including multicultural queer studies, scientific diving, and appropriate technology.[19]

The university's location on the North Coast provides access to the Pacific Ocean, lagoons, marshes, estuaries, and the Fred Telonicher Marine Laboratory, which provides opportunities for "hands-on" experiences and research for the sciences.

Humboldt State University is one of the few universities in the nation with a state-of-the-art fire lab.[according to whom?] Its fire science program teaches modern techniques for managing wildfire, and an advanced training program is offered for Forest Service employees and similar professionals.[22]

As of 2012, Humboldt State University has an International student population that has quadrupled in the last five years. The International English Language Institute has worked alongside HSU for 22 years to help international students gain academic English language skills to further their academic pursuits and business careers.

The College of eLearning, & Extended Ed (CEEE) is a self-supporting outreach department of Humboldt State University that provides a variety of academic, professional development and personal enrichment opportunities. While the CEEE programs are open to almost everyone, there is an emphasis on providing access to those community members who are not matriculated students at the university. Non-matriculated students may take some regular university courses through the CEEE Open University program. High school students may take regular HSU courses through the CEEE High School Concurrent Enrollment Program. Also, those aged 60 and over may take regular HSU classes through the Over 60 Program. There are also a variety of online degree programs offered through the college. The CEEE also offers a wide range of diverse and eclectic programs. Examples include music and art programs for children, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for those aged 50 and over, foreign language classes, travel-study programs, continuing education for teachers, MFT/LCSW, nurses, and law enforcement.

In 1998 Humboldt State University opened the HSU First Street Gallery in Old Town Eureka, expanding community access to the university’s cultural and fine arts programs. In 2007, the university further expanded its presence in Eureka with the opening of the HSU Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, a $4.5 million aquatic facility on the bay in Old Town Eureka. Future plans include a new HSU Bay and Estuarine Studies Center. This new facility will be closer to the Coral Sea (in 2012 docked at Woodley Island, Eureka), the only vessel in a U.S. educational institution solely dedicated to undergraduate research. The new facility would be considerably larger than the other existing facility, the Fred Telonicher Marine Laboratory in Trinidad, 20 miles (32 km) north.[23]

Humboldt State University Professor Steve Sillett has conducted groundbreaking research on redwood forest canopies and was featured in a 2009 cover story in National Geographic. He holds the Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology, the only endowed chair in the world dedicated to a single tree species.[22]


Fall 2013 Demographics of the student body[2]
African American 3.5%
Asian American 3.2%
White American 50.8%
Hispanic American 25.6%
Native American 1.1%
Pacific Islander 0.2%
Two or more 5.9%
International 1.1%
Unknown 8.6%
  • Average High School GPA: 3.21 (Fall 2013 Freshmen)[24]
  • SAT Middle 50%: 440–560 Reading, 430–550 Math (Fall 2013 Freshmen)[24]
  • ACT Composite Middle 50%: 18–24 (Fall 2013 Freshmen)[24]
  • Average Undergraduate Class Size: 25[13]
  • Average Graduate Class Size: 8[13]
  • Student to Faculty Ratio: 19.3 for the 06–07 Academic Year[13]

Student demographics (for fall 2013)[edit]


University rankings
Forbes[25] 532
  • Best Western Colleges Chosen because it stands out in its region by being the only university in the extended geographic region, HSU is one of the 123 colleges named a Best Western College by The Princeton Review. Other CSU campuses chosen for the list were Cal State Long Beach, Cal State San Bernardino, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Sonoma State.[26]
  • Colleges With a Conscience HSU is one of the colleges profiled in The Princeton Review's book, Colleges with a Conscience: 81 Great Schools with Outstanding Community Involvement. The school was selected because of its record of having excellent service-learning programs and its blending of academics with community work.[26]
  • Universities-Master's (West): Top Schools U.S. News & World Report chose HSU as a 2010 Top Master's Level University in the Western United States.[27]

Student life[edit]

Primary HSU campus entrance on LK Wood Blvd (south side, adjacent to Highway101)

The Humboldt Energy Independence Fund (HEIF) is unique to the CSU, and uses student fee monies to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on campus. HEIF provides a rare opportunity for students, faculty, and plant operations staff to work together collaboratively towards a goal of a lower-carbon and energy-independent future. Compost and recycling bins are more common on campus than trash cans and many events are encouraged to be zero waste, all coordinated through the student-run Waste Reduction and Resource Awareness Program (WRRAP).[28] The Associated Students fund WRRAP, the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology, and the Sustainable Living Arts and Music Festival (SLAM fest).

Humboldt State University built the first building in the CSU system to be LEED-gold certified for its eco-friendly features. The Behavioral and Social Sciences Building has rainwater collection, sustainably harvested wood native-plant landscaping, and more.[22]

The location of HSU affords students the potential for outside activities in local parks and public lands, which include miles of accessible, undeveloped coastline. Rivers and streams, forests, and extraordinary terrain are just outside the classroom door.

There are over 150 clubs on campus that students can join.[29]

Student media[edit]

The Lumberjack is the weekly student-run newspaper of Humboldt State University and is funded through the sales of advertisements supplemented by the Instructionally Related Activities fee. It covers news relevant to the students and faculty of Humboldt State and major news relevant to the residents of Humboldt County. This includes coverage of university issues, protests, rallies, athletics, the local music scene, and sometimes, quirky events from the local police log. Stories of statewide significance, especially those that concern CSU students, are sometimes reported on as well. In 2010, the Lumberjack won second place for Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper at a 4-Year College or University, and second place breaking news photo from the Society of Professional Journalists. To be on the Lumberjack, students must enroll in JMC 327: The Newspaper Lab.

The university also has a monthly student-run newspaper, El Leñador, which is bilingual and produced by students with minority backgrounds. It is a newspaper committed to promoting diversity in local media.[30]

The Osprey is the university's student-run magazine, published twice annually. It has won first-place awards in major regional competitions, including the Society of Professional Journalists' "Mark of Excellence" Awards and the California Intercollegiate Press Association awards.[31]

KRFH 105.1 FM/ is a student-run radio station founded in 1990 by Dr. Gary Melton. KRFH stands for "Radio Free Humboldt" and was originally only received in the Sunset and Redwood Residence Halls but now can be received worldwide on iTunes, RadioFlag or at the website KRFH's purpose is to provide broadcast experience to students while also approximating the structure of a commercial radio station. Students enroll in JMC 155 or JMC 355 in order to become DJs, committing to weekly shows of one to two hours respectively.

Greek life[edit]

Marching Lumberjacks[edit]

The HSU Marching Lumberjacks (sometimes referred to as the "Banned") is the official student-run marching band of the university. It performs in the scatter band style often associated with Ivy League schools, using humorous routines and scripts during its half-time field shows in Redwood Bowl.


The Lumberjacks’ program is affiliated with the NCAA on the Division II level and is a member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association. Humboldt State currently sponsors 12 intercollegiate sports programs — men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball, football (in which it competes in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference), men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s track and field, softball and women’s rowing.

Centers and Institutes[edit]

Centers & Institutes affiliate with an association of individuals, faculty, staff and others, who may wish to encourage or pursue activities, including research and creative activities, that are consistent with the mission of the University. The following policy and procedures provide for the recognition and chartering of such Centers/Institutes.

  • The California Center for Rural Policy at Humboldt State University is a research center to assist policy development. community building community, and promoting the health of rural people and their environments.[33]
  • The mission of the Humboldt Science and Mathematics Center is to enhance science and mathematics education. It was chartered in 2005, and offers programs and professional support for teachers and for studenta preparing for the professionals. The Center is formally affiliated with a number of University programs.[34]
  • The Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR) seeks to improve the economic, social, physical, and environmental health of individuals and communities through the interdisciplinary scientific study of marijuana. HIIMR designs, conducts, analyzes, and disseminates research; provides applied expertise to policy makers, researchers, health professionals, businesses, and the media; and archives and provides access to source materials (raw data, media).[35][36][37]
  • Affiliated with the Department of Geography and its Kosmos Lab for teaching cartography, the Institute for Cartographic Design provides cartography students with an opportunity to engage in applied map design before graduation, provides a centralized cartographic design service on campus, in all formats from paper to web to animation.[38]
  • The Institute of Health and Human Performance supports the local community in activities for health promotion. It supports research and training for faculty and students in health, human performance, disease prevention, physical activity and nutrition.[39]
  • The Institute for Entrepreneurship Education is designed to reach other academic departments on campus as well as the Redwood Coast business community. It is oriented around interdisciplinary study, with a focus on social entrepreneurship and an ethic of social responsibility.[40]
  • The Humboldt State University Institute for Spatial analysis (ISA) is devoted to the expansion of spatial analysis methodologies in multiple disciplines and the real world issues. It works with both public and private sector entities.[41]
  • The Schatz Energy Research Center (SERC) works to establish clean energy technology. It specializes in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and hydrogen energy systems, especially increasing the efficiency of fuel cells. Its work involves research and development, technology demonstration, project development, energy systems analysis, and education and training.[42]

Notable people[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2015. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2014 to FY 2015" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Fast Facts". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  3. ^ "University Colors". Retrieved 2008-04-04. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Humboldt State University Athletics - Sports Information/Media". Retrieved 2013-03-06. 
  5. ^ "HSU Library - Special Collections – Humboldt State Chronology". Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  6. ^ "Campus Names". California State University. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "California State University Credentials Programs : 2013-2014" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  8. ^ "Search CSU Degrees". Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  9. ^ "Arcata Stay | Humboldt State University is located in the city of Arcata, California". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  10. ^ Van Kirk, Susie (January 1979). Reflections of Arcata's History: eighty years of architecture. Bug Press. 
  11. ^ a b c Tanner, William (1993). A View from the Hill. Humboldt State University, Arcata, California: University Graphic Services. 
  12. ^ Tanner, 135–144
  13. ^ a b c d "Analytic Studies: University Statistical Profile". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  14. ^ "History | Graduation Pledge Alliance". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  15. ^ "Applicants reports". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  16. ^ "General Information" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  17. ^ "Fall Applications for Admission Submitted via CSU Mentor" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  18. ^ "Data Center". Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  19. ^ a b "Majors & Programs | Humboldt State University". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  20. ^ "HSU Launches University Press - Humboldt State Now". Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  21. ^ "Department of Forestry & Wildland Resources—Humboldt State University". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  22. ^ a b c "Humboldt State University | The Impact of the California State University". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  23. ^ "On the Cover - North Coast Journal - April 21, 2005 - Out with the tide? As administrators mull a move for Telonicher, Humboldt State faculty protect their Trinidad turf". North Coast Journal. 2005-04-21. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  24. ^ a b c "General Information" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  25. ^ "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  26. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  27. ^ "Humboldt State University | Humboldt | Best College | US News". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  28. ^ "Waste-Reduction & Resource Awareness Program (WRRAP) | Humboldt State University". Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  29. ^ "HSU Clubs & Activities • Club Directory". Retrieved 2015-10-07. 
  30. ^ "El Leñador". Retrieved 2015-12-10. 
  31. ^ "Society of Professional Journalists | Mark of Excellence Awards". Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  32. ^ "Kappa Sigma - Humboldt State". Facebook. Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  33. ^ "CCRP". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  34. ^ "Humboldt Science and Mathematics Center". 2011-09-09. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  35. ^ Schmidt, Peter (2013-06-03). "Legalize It and They Will Analyze It - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  36. ^ "Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR) Charter | HSU Forms". 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  37. ^ "HiiMR". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  38. ^ "Kosmos Cartography". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  39. ^ "The Institute of Health and Human Performance | Humboldt State University Department Kinesiology & Recreation Administration". Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  40. ^ "Current Centers & Institutes | Office of Research, Economic & Community Developement". Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  41. ^ "Institute for Spatial Analysis - Humboldt State University". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  42. ^ "Schatz Energy Research Center". Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  43. ^ a b c [2] Archived May 29, 2010 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°52′33″N 124°04′43″W / 40.875781°N 124.078560°W / 40.875781; -124.078560