ARCATA- As Humboldt State University students prepare to graduate on Saturday, President Rollin Richmond prepares for retirement.
On Friday, Richmond made some final changes to his commencement address inside his office where he has spent the last 12 years.
The school year has been filled with events to celebrate the start of the next 100 years of the university. Of all the events, Richmond expects graduation on Saturday to be his favorite. Richmond said he consciously choose to end his tenure during the important year. "It does have some significance for me," said Richmond. "I think this university has done remarkably well over its time."
In 2002, he started as the sixth university President, expecting to only stay five years. Richmond said it is the dedication of the students and the university's mission of social and environmental responsibility that has kept him in the job.
Richmond has overseen the growth of the college, with new buildings built over the years and with record enrollment numbers. Richmond said his main goal has been to achieve more diversity at the college. Serving more African American, Hispanic and Native American students.
"Think that's the thing I'm proudest of now that we're serving a real variety of students who we didn't have before," he said.
But Richmond said he has had his frustrations, the biggest, he said, has been shrinking funding towards higher education. "I find that extremely frustrating and I hope to continue to work on that down the road," he said.
Richmond said he will remain in Humboldt County, and stay a part of the university. He said he will work on projects and stay busy, focusing on the k-12 Decade of Difference initiative and addressing childhood poverty in the community.
"Some people say, 'Rollin, you have trouble sitting still don't you?' and I guess I must admit that there is some truth in that," he said.