Lisa Rossbacher

Lisa A. Rossbacher began her tenure as the seventh President of Humboldt State University in July 2014. She was previously the President of Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, GA. She has also worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, a geothermal exploration company, and National Public Radio, in addition to serving as a faculty member and administrator at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Whittier College, and Dickinson College. She was the first woman geologist to become a university president in North America.


President Rossbacher graduated from Dickinson College (Geology, summa cum laude), received masters degrees from the State University of New York at Binghamton and Princeton University, and earned her Ph.D. (Geological and Geophysical Sciences) at Princeton University.


Her column has appeared in the magazine Geotimes (renamed EARTH in 2008) since 1988, and she has authored books on geology, science, and the media. Her research interests focus on the role of water and water ice on the planet Mars. In 1984, she was a finalist in NASA’s astronaut selection process. 

President Rossbacher was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as an undergraduate and to the status of Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2001; she was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 2010. She has served on the American Council on Education's Commission on Women, and she is currently on the State Network Executive Board with ACE's Office of Women in Higher Education. She is also a trustee of the Geological Society of America Foundation.