New president selected for Humboldt State

Freddy Brewster
Mad River Union

HSU – Humboldt State University has hired its first African American president. Tom Jackson Jr. will be the eighth president of HSU and will take over in July after current HSU President Lisa Rossbacher’s term ends. Jackson is currently serving as the president of Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota, where he has been president since 2014. 

Tom Jackson Jr.

“I welcome the opportunity to work with HSU’s talented faculty and staff, alongside community members, to ensure that those life-altering opportunities are expanded for current and future students,” Jackson said in an emailed statement from the California State University’s Office of the Chancellor.

Jackson is following in the footsteps of current HSU President Rossbacher whose term at HSU experiencecd  the death of Josiah Lawson, the closing of the Third Street Art Gallery in Eureka, the dismantling of the football program and the gutting of the KHSU radio station.

Jackson is a veteran and a first-generation college student who earned a doctorate degree of education from the University of La Verne. Jackson has served in administrative positions in other California universities such as the Univeristy of Southern California and California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. 

Below is a press release from HSU: 

The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees has appointed Tom Jackson, Jr., Ed.D., to serve as president of Humboldt State University (HSU). Jackson currently serves as president of Black Hills State University (BHSU) in Spearfish, South Dakota.

“There are few institutions that are as closely tied to the success of their respective communities as HSU. A degree from HSU can lift the life of the person earning it as well as the lives of their family, and those degree holders drive the success of the entire North Coast,” said Jackson. “I welcome the opportunity to work with HSU’s talented faculty and staff, alongside community members, to ensure that those life-altering opportunities are expanded for current and future students.”

Jackson becomes the eighth president of HSU and the first African American to serve in that role. He will join the campus in his new capacity in July. Jackson succeeds Lisa Rossbacher who will be retiring at the end of June 2019 after serving as HSU president since 2014.

“Dr. Jackson has been an inspirational leader who has demonstrable success at the highest levels of university administration,” said CSU Trustee Peter Taylor, chair of the HSU search committee. “Throughout his career, he has been a champion for access, quality and student success, all hallmarks of the HSU mission.”

Jackson has been president of BHSU since 2014. He has held other leadership roles within higher education including vice president for student affairs at both the University of Louisville and Texas A&M University-Kingsville. He has also held administrative positions and served on the faculty at McMurry University, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, the University of Southern California and St. Mary’s University.

Jackson earned an associate’s degree from Highline Community College, a bachelor’s degree in business management/personnel from Southwest State University, a master’s in counseling/student personnel from Shippensburg University and a doctorate of education from the University of La Verne. A first-generation student, Jackson is also a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, Texas State Guard and Indiana Guard Reserve.













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