Rossbacher, the Princeton University Ph.D. geologist who has headed SPSU since 1998, will become president of Humboldt State University in Northern California as of July 1.
Since her arrival in Cobb Rossbacher has cut quite a swath, invigorating and transforming what some had previously considered a somewhat sleepy technical school seemingly best known for its annual motorized bathtub race. Her tenure has seen a change of names from “The Southern Institute of Technology” and the promotion to college and university status as well.
She added numerous new majors and academic programs in fields such as civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, as well as new media arts and game design. That tenure also included the PC revolution and the dot.com boom and bust, and SPSU has successfully ridden the wave to ensure its academic offerings are such that its graduates are highly desirable in the tech marketplace.
Enrollment also grew during the Rossbacher years by a whopping 78 percent to 6,500 students. And the campus, which at her arrival consisted mostly of aging and in some cases outmoded buildings that dated almost back to the school’s founding, has been transformed with modern — and in some cases modernistic — class buildings and other structures, as befits a school whose majors include architecture and engineering. The past decade or so also saw the construction of student dorms on campus in a big way, allowing it to seem less like a “commuter college.”
SPSU and Rossbacher seem to have “built a better mousetrap,” so to speak. So it was all the more astonishing when the state Board of Regents blindsided her, her students and the wider community with the decision last fall that nearby Kennesaw State University and SPSU would merge into a “new” college bearing the Kennesaw name.
The Regents chose KSU President Dr. Dan Papp to head the new entity, leaving Rossbacher the odd man out, so to speak. She now has landed on her feet — just as one would expect of someone who was among the first females ever selected for NASA astronaut training.
Humboldt State — whether it knows it or not — is about to take off for the next level, thanks to its incoming president.
We wish her the best.