Eli Rohl / Monday, May 20 @ 8:47 a.m. / HSU
(Editor’s Note: Eli Rohl is a 2013 Humboldt State University graduate and a DJ on KSLG 94.1. -Andrew)
During KHUM’s Mike Dronkers chat with Humboldt State University spokesman Paul Mann last week, Mann told us that there wouldn’t be a commencement speaker for the university’s centennial graduation. Instead, there would be a presentation that related to the university’s namesake, Alexander von Humboldt.
Mann hinted that the presentation might involve a descendant of Alexander von Humboldt (“perhaps AlexandRA von Humboldt”) or a biographer that had chronicled von Humboldt’s life. He suggested that the suspense and the secrecy would culminate in something well-worth all of the to-do and hush-hushedness.
The top-secret presentation was (insert drumroll here) HSU Geography Professor Stephen Cunha dressed up (and presented) as Alexander von Humboldt. I’m certain that extreme corniness was the aim; cue some of the worst jokes about being dead you’ve ever heard. Cunha, however, carried out his task as gracefully as possible.
To be fair, any other time a commencement keynote speaker couldn’t be found, I think this would’ve been a great way to fill in the ceremony. It was very resourceful and everyone got a few yuks out of it. The presentation wasn’t bungled in its execution; it was fouled in its timing.
I mentioned last night that I found the idea of celebrating von Humboldt alongside HSU’s 100th anniversary to be a little self-defeating. Instead of celebrating the accomplishments of the students, teachers, and university community as a whole over the past hundred years, we were instead given advice by a dead guy telling jokes.
Now I understand — von Humboldt is the university’s namesake. He had a huge influence on the scientific world in the early 19th century. He’s also the namesake of a lot of other things - for instance, our fair county. Also, the fair counties in Nevada and Iowa. Humboldt University in Berlin. A Humboldt Bay was also situated in New Guinea before a name change post-WWII.
The name isn’t what’s unique; the community is. The students, faculty, area, and experience are all unique. They’re what makes Humboldt great, and we’re not going to reflect on that?
My initial fears were that we would be getting a death-by-powerpoint history lesson about von Humboldt; the fact that we didn’t is something I’m thankful for. Cunha’s portrayal of von Humboldt was a good show, but it suffered from being overhyped by HSU’s PR machine. When I saw my program, I thought, “This is it? This is the big centennial secret?”
I guess I expected a bit more for a 100th anniversary. I appreciate the university’s efforts to make it memorable and their trying to drum up excitement, but a reflection on what has made the past hundred years so special would’ve been much more palatable than the ultra-double-secret dress-up words of wisdom.
Above: How Rohl rolls.
Humboldt County Superior Court Calendar: Tomorrow
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Kym Kemp / Saturday, May 18 @ 8:40 p.m. / HSU
This graduating senior’s mortarboard was painted with a variety of what appeared to be goals including “kick butt” and “make men howl.”
Today’s Humboldt State graduation marked nearly 100 years since the University was founded in June of 1913. Students, faculty and even the school itself stepped out of academic seriousness into a lighter mode before the graduates need to face a somewhat grim job market.
Though many in the graduating class wore the traditional cap and gown, some students graduating from the Native American Studies program wore traditional woven caps and long scarves decorated with shells and other regalia.
Other programs similarly wore something to indicate their area of studies. But other students poured on the fun factor. One student wore a clown nose. One wore a moose hood. Some students wore flowers and almost all wore smiles.
To further lighten the mood, the University itself offered long dead Alexander von Humboldt as a commencement speaker.
A few students had evidently had fun with the cards that the announcers used to call out their names. Real names were sandwiched around middle names like “I love my mom,” and “$40,000 education.”
With all the lighthearted moments, the University provided a lovely venue and ceremony for the proud graduates.
HSU President Rollin C. Richmond follows the mace bearer during the recessional.
Students hug during the graduation.
The Lost Coast Outpost sends best wishes to Bob Doran of the North Coast Journal who suffered a medical emergency during the ceremonies. Get well soon, Bob!
Mike Dronkers / Monday, May 13 @ 10:59 a.m. / HSU
No, seriously. You will never guess. Here’s what they want you to think:
“In lieu of a Commencement keynote, there will be a special presentation marking the Centennial.”
HSU spokesman Paul Mann was cryptic with the details, but told KHUM that the presentation “will have to do with our namesake.”
He added that the speaker “could be a descendant of Alexander Von Humboldt. Maybe Alexandra Von Humboldt.”
If you’re thinking what we’re thinking, Mann flatly denied that person’s presence on the podium on Saturday.
So who could it be? And why wouldn’t they say who it is?
See if you can figure out what HSU is hinting at from his KHUM interview.
Just Another Molting Elephant Seal Who Needs Some R&R
“R&R” as in “rest and recuperation,” not “rock’n’roll”! As noted last week, we’ve come round to that time of year when seals and sea lions come ashore to molt. The first elephant seal opted to leave the North Jetty, likely due to all the noise and traffic, but as of yesterday, we have another individual who beached himself in the same location.
Now, this fellow (I use the term with no real clue) might look bad, what with the bald patches and what appears to be an old sharkbite scar, but he just needs some peace and quiet. Please don’t be like the idiot I witnessed last week who let his dog run up to and harass the seal, all while strolling around with a leash dangling from his hand. Advice: When you see cones, tapes and signs cordoning off an area and explaining why, there’s likely a real good reason for it. Keep your dogs away from the elephant seal, give the guy a wide berth and don’t rev your ORV or 4WD up next to him to get a photo. Info and more gentle advice at the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center.
Ocean Night, tonight, 6:30 p.m., Arcata Theatre Lounge
Speaking of idiots… Those of you who have seen Idiocracy will remember The Great Trash Avalanche of 2025 – and those who haven’t should check it out, not just because it’s a rather spot-on satire of our culture’s dumbing down, but because at the rate we’re making trash, Idiocracy is also prophetic.
Hank Sims / Saturday, March 30 @ 2:54 p.m. / HSU
From Humboldt State University:
Jessica Garcia,an 18-year-old freshman at HSU,died this morning shortly after being rushed to the hospital from Redwood Bowl.
Garcia had been jogging with a friend,and then collapsed while sitting in the bleachers. Her friend,other students and HSU coaches nearby attempted to aid her, as did campus police who arrived within minutes.
Garcia was taken to Mad River Hospital, but could not be revived. The hospital has been in contact with her family,and HSU President Rollin Richmond has also called her family to express condolences on behalf of the campus community.
Jessica Garcia was a freshmen from Reseda,California. She was living in the residence halls on campus.
The cause of her death is unknown,but may have been a medical problem. University officials and police are investigating,and are working closely with other local agencies including the County Coroner’s Office.
The University is offering counseling and support to students and others. Campus staff will also reach out to Garcia’s professors and the students in her classes.
Anyone from the campus community needing support is encouraged to contact the Counseling Center at 826-3236.