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People frequently ask why the University is called "Humboldt." The short answer is that both the University and the County were named for the naturalist, geographer and statesman, Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859). (No, he never set foot in Humboldt County.) A longer answer can be found in the Profile of Baron Alexander von Humboldt, first published in the Humboldt STATEments in 1969 and reprinted in 1978.

There is a painting of the Baron on the first floor of the Library and a copy of the lithograph Alexander von Humboldt in his Library is displayed in the Humboldt Room. HSU was host to the first Alexander von Humboldt Conference in 2001.

The Beginnings: 1913-1938 Staying the Course: 1938-1962

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Reprinted with permission from Humboldt, the Magazine of Humboldt State University