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Former CSU leader takes reins as acting Chico State president

Dylan Dewit

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Rollin Richmond was president of Humboldt State from 2002 to 2014 and will be taking over as acting president at Chico State on Thursday following President Paul Zingg’s heart surgery. Photo courtesy of the CSU chancellor’s office.

Rollin Richmond, the former president of Humboldt State, has been appointed as acting president for Chico State in the wake of President Paul Zingg’s recent heart surgery and necessary recuperation period.

Chancellor Timothy White selected Zingg’s interim replacement and on the California State University public affairs blog wrote, “On behalf of the entire CSU, I wish President Zingg a speedy and full recovery.”

Zingg, 69, underwent successful heart bypass surgery on March 15 at Enloe Medical Center and is expected to make a full recovery.

“Up to this point, President Zingg has been great to work with,” said Taylor Herren, Associated Students president. “He’s someone that I have a really genuine relation with. All professional and A.S. stuff aside, I hope he’s okay.”

Richmond, 70, served as Humboldt State’s president for 12 years and retired in 2014. The chancellor’s decision was announced on March 18.

“Dr. Richmond has extensive experience leading a university and his focus on students, diversity and sustainability parallel the vision and values of CSU Chico,” White said. “I am pleased that he is available to help guide the university in President Zingg’s absence.”

Richmond is a product of the CSU system, having obtained his bachelor’s degree at San Diego State. Preceding his time as Humboldt State’s president, he served as provost and professor at Iowa State University.

“(Richmond’s) long history of leadership in the CSU and at other institutions, familiarity with our region, and past partnerships with CSU, Chico makes him a natural choice to lead us during this interim period,” said Sarah Langford, Chico State’s public affairs coordinator.

Zingg’s absence will be a challenge for the student and university administration, especially considering that three out of five cabinet members are also interim, Herren said. With commencement just six weeks away, she and the rest of A.S. eager to help however they can.

“There are very real challenges in changing leadership,” she said. “I just want to build a good relationship and have a good partnership with the incoming interim president.”

While under Richmond, Humboldt State was able to build three buildings, even when faced with the recession. He was able to improve “town-gown” relationships and worked to enhance and maintain diversity among the student body. In 2014, Humboldt State qualified as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a recognition Chico State has also received.

Overall, representatives from CSU and Chico State alike have conveyed confidence that Richmond is more than cut out for the job at hand.

“I have the utmost confidence in Rollin to work with the faculty, staff, students and community to continue to advance the work of the university while Paul is recuperating,” White said.

Dylan de Wit can be reached at [email protected] or @DylanTdeWit on Twitter.

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Former CSU leader takes reins as acting Chico State president