A first-generation college student will be Humboldt State University's first African-American president.
Tom Jackson Jr. will succeed Lisa Rossbacher who will retire at the end of June after serving in the position since 2014, according to a university news release. Jackson, who is currently the president of Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota, will assume his new position at HSU in July.
"There are few institutions that are as closely tied to the success of their respective communities as HSU," Jackson said in a written statement. "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. 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 has been Black Hills State University's president since 2014 and has held other leadership roles at the University of Louisville and Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Jackson 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 Laverne.
He is also a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, the Army National Guard, Texas State Guard and Indiana Guard Reserve, according to HSU's news release.