Q&A: Acting President Rollin Richmond

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Rollin Richmond was president of Humboldt State from 2002 to 2014 is the acting president at Chico State until Paul Zingg completes his recovery following heart surgery. Photo courtesy of the California State University chancellor’s office.

After the departure of President Paul Zingg for his surgery and recovery, Rollin Richmond agreed to step out of retirement and fill in as acting president of Chico State.

With roots that start at San Diego State University and a long-standing position as president at Humboldt State, Richmond gladly took the position after called to do so after Zingg’s surgery on March 15.

The Orion got a chance to sit down with Richmond and discuss his plans for his time at Chico State.

How did you find out about this position? Also, how long do you plan on staying at the university?

A day or two after President Zingg’s surgery, Chancellor White called me up and told me that Chico State needed someone to step in an act as president while he was recovering, and I said that I would come help. (As for how long I plan on staying) It all depends on how quickly President Zingg recovers. Chancellor White told me that he expects him to recover in about two to three months, so I will stay here until he returns.

How was your time as president at Humboldt State?

It was good. The president who was there before me was there for a long time, and when I stepped in there were some changes that needed to be made. As human beings, we struggle to make change, so we had some difficulties in making those changes. I had to recruit some really good people to help me.

What changes were you trying to make at Humboldt State?

Diversity was one of my biggest issues. Humboldt State, in the last couple of years, has become a Hispanic-serving institution. We also worked hard to increase the number of international students on campus.

Is there any difference you see between Chico State and Humboldt State? Would you want to implement something to make Chico State more diverse?

I have talked with my colleagues here to see how we can make Chico State a more Hispanic-serving institution. I understand that you are very close to doing that. There is a group that is working on moving those numbers forward, so that is something that I can help with and would be happy to do so while I am here.

Speaking of changes, do you have any jurisdiction for making changes at Chico State?

Yes. But what I will do, of course, is discuss everything with Dr. Zingg and make sure that it is something he will be happy with.

We are hiring a new police chief for the University Police. Are you planning on working with the new police chief while you are here?

Yes. One of the things that I would like to do is to work with the Chico Police, the city government and the police on campus to try and work together. Especially in a close-knit community such as this, I feel that they should all work together. Plus, I think police who do not work on college campuses need a little more of an introduction to campus life, and the police on the university campus can provide that for them.

We recently had another Chico State student die. How is it having to deal with student deaths on campus?

It is terrible. That bus accident last year, with the students who were coming to visit Humboldt State, was the biggest tragedy in my life. With the student who just passed, I feel very terrible for his family and friends. I hope that it is a lesson to students to be safe.

Madeline Merlic can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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