Gayle Hutchinson is one of us

Photo credit: Dongyoung Won

Photo credit: Dongyoung Won

When it was announced last fall that the search for Chico State’s next president would be a confidential search, staff members became worried that the community would not be heavily involved.

Well we have got some good news. Chico State has recently appointed a new president to succeed President Paul Zingg. Her name is Gayle Hutchinson, and it looks like she is just what the university was looking for.

Let me start by filling my readers in on who Hutchinson is. Hutchinson has taught at almost every academic level from elementary school to graduate level courses.

Hutchinson started work in 1979 as a physical education and health teacher for a middle school and high school in New Jersey, where she was an adviser for students and coached sports such as hockey and soccer. She then moved on to careers as a graduate assistant for the University of Massachusetts, to project coordinator and project director here at Chico State.

She was also a professor of kinesiology at Chico State for 17 years where she taught undergraduate and graduate level courses.

This should get students on campus very excited. Not only does Hutchinson have extensive experience with students on almost every level, she also has a ton of experience with students from Chico State. It’s refreshing to know that we will be having one of our own come back to lead us.

Besides having a lot of experience with students, Hutchinson also has extended experience as a leader. She used to be the option coordinator for the department of kinesiology at Chico State before she became a senator to represent Chico at Academic Senate meetings.

Around 2007, Hutchinson became the dean of behavioral and social sciences at Chico State. For the last couple years Hutchinson has been provost for Cal State Channel Islands located in Camarillo.

As a student of Chico State, it’s nice to know that someone who is familiar with the community and the university will be our new president. Since Hutchinson has held multiple positions here, she already has a great reputation on campus.

Having someone that not only understands the community, but has actually been a part of the university gives me hope that her vision for the school will be in line with everyone else’s view. I believe she will be true to Chico while also bringing new insight from previous work.

Knowing that she has a lot of experience with students of all sorts also tells us that she has a good idea of what students will be looking for in our new president.

In the history of Chico State’s presidency, which goes all the way back to 1889, there has been a total of 19 presidents, and not one was female. Hutchinson will be Chico State’s 20th president, while also being the first female.

She will have some big shoes to fill. While there are mixed opinions about President Zingg on campus, there’s no denying he has helped the school achieve great progress in areas like sustainability and diversity.

I’m confident that Hutchinson will help Chico continue to progress in these areas along with many others.

I guess what I find so exciting about this announcement is that she is one of us. She knows what the school wants and needs, simply because she has lived it. Any fear that the community would not be involved in deciding the president can be cast aside, because we got someone from the community to lead us. Not just someone from the community, but someone who knows how to lead.

Jeff Guzman can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.