Mike Stockstill (BA, Journalism)

President, Stockstill Communications

Portrait of Mike StockstillI had the honor of being commencement speaker when I was a graduating senior in 1971. Then, as now, I was moved by the Humboldt Spirit.

It's intangible in some ways, but for most graduates, there is a special nature to the college experience at HSU. It comes partly from the virtue of geography: both the rural setting and the exceptional natural beauty encourage you to be reflective. There aren't many places where you can walk off the football field and find yourself in a redwood forest or drive a few miles and see some of the most spectacular beaches and wildlife anywhere on earth. These combine to make Humboldt State and Arcata a special place, where you pick up a genuine sense of community and an appreciation of what lasts in life.

Today's students, for example, voluntarily tax themselves and invest the money in moving the University on a long-term basis toward being energy self-sufficient. I'm particularly impressed with our students' intense dedication to sustainability. Many campus activities and clubs make sustainability come alive in real ways on the Redwood Coast. I can't think of a place where you can be connected more closely to the natural environment, both physically and psychically. When I was at HSU in the early 1970s, the environmental movement was just swinging into action and HSU has been at the forefront of it ever since.

What I call the Humboldt Spirit is as vigorous now as it was in my undergraduate years, and I'm glad to make a personal contribution to its enduring impact.