President Gayle Hutchinson announces retirement


President Hutchinson in 2017. Photo Courtesy of Chico State.

Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson announced her retirement today after almost seven years as president, concluding her nearly 30-year employment with the university. The news came in an email to students and staff that was accompanied by an attached video.

In the video, Hutchinson sat with her wife Linda Allen between a lit fireplace and a potted orchid. Allen said nothing in the video but occasionally nodded and smiled. 

Hutchinson called the announcement “a moment of personal privilege” and “bittersweet.” Retiring was not an easy decision to make and being an insulin-dependent diabetic influenced her choice. She said there is more she wants to do in life and she wants to be well enough to do it. 

Hutchinson became teary eyed at multiple points in the video. With a quavering voice she expressed her love for Chico State and the students.

“Serving as this University’s president has been the greatest honor of my life, and I plan to spend my remaining tenure here with the same enthusiasm and dedication that have characterized my presidency,” the email wrote. “I look forward to what else we can do together to support student success at the highest level.”

Hutchinson began working at Chico State in 1990 as an assistant professor in the kinesiology department, made history in 2016 when she was inaugurated as the University’s 12th president, and first female president in the institution’s 135-year history. 

In addition to being Chico’s first female president, she is the first openly gay president in the California State University system. 

Throughout her tenure as president, Hutchinson and Chico State have had to overcome numerous obstacles. Whether it was the Camp Fire of 2018 or 2017’s Oroville Dam crisis, Hutchinson helped lead the campus community through hardships. She also oversaw the completion of two new buildings on campus, furthered Chico State’s relationship with the Mechoopda Indian Tribe and secured state funding for the University Farm.

Hutchinson is officially set to retire at the end of this academic school year on June 30, 2023. Nonetheless, there are still numerous projects that Hutchinson plans to work on before her nine remaining months are up. Some of her priorities include finding a new Chief Diversity Officer, furthering progress on the 2020 Climate Action and Resilience Plan, improving University Police policies and more. 

According to Hutchinson, the Chancellor and chair of the CSU Board of Trustees are aware of her decision and will soon begin working with students to find the next president. In the meantime Hutchinson will continue to lead Chico State “with the same amount of enthusiasm, commitment and energy.”

Molly Myers and Noah Herbst can be reached at [email protected].