Cal Poly Humboldt Appoints New Special Assistant to the President and an Interim Chief of Staff

May 10, 2022

Adrienne Colegrove-Raymond has been appointed Special Assistant to the President for Tribal Relations & Community Engagement. She began her tenure this semester. On May 1, Timothy M. Downs became Interim Chief of Staff in the President’s Office. He steps in for Sherie C. Gordon, who is currently Interim Vice President for Administration & Finance.

Assuming a new position in the Office of the President, Colegrove-Raymond, a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, will support President Tom Jackson, Jr.’s outreach to tribal nations and help develop collaborative partnerships in the community while leading key initiatives. She is also the President’s primary liaison for select campus committees, external partnerships, and collaborations.

Colegrove-Raymond is an alumna of the Journalism department with deep ties with local Native Tribes, Cal Poly Humboldt, and the North Coast. For more than 15 years, she has been dedicated to supporting the success of underrepresented students of all backgrounds through a variety of important roles on campus.

Most recently she was the director of Indian Tribal & Educational Personnel Program (ITEPP) & ELITE Scholars. In this role she designed co-curricular programs that serve students of color.  She also promoted tribal cultural values, recognizing the unique legal and political status of federally recognized tribes and advancing tribal self-determination and prosperity. 

Colegrove-Raymond also served as interim director of the Cultural Centers for Academic Excellence, where she established and developed two new centers that are designed to strengthen the academic resources for students of color—the African American Center for Academic Excellence (currently the Umoja Center for Pan African Student Excellence) and the Latinx Center for Academic Excellence (now El Centro Académico Cultural de Humboldt).  Prior to that, she served as director of Student Academic Services Outreach Program/Talent Search/ELITE Scholars at Cal Poly Humboldt, where she led middle and high school outreach for primarily low-income and first-generation college students. In that role she also helped coordinate the Annual American Indian College Motivation Day, I’ve Been Admitted to College, Latinx High School Empowerment Day, Preview Plus, and various other outreach events that welcome hundreds of high school students to campus.

Colegrove-Raymond’s advocacy work for youth extends well beyond campus. She is a member of the California State University Native Initiatives Executive Committee, which is focused on refining the process of data collection about Native students in a way that recognizes tribal sovereignty. As a member of the Humboldt County Foster Youth Education Executive Advisory Council, she has helped strengthen educational services for area foster youth.  

Downs brings decades of higher education experience as a scholar, educator, and leader, and as an advocate for diversity and equity. Downs is also committed to creating and sustaining learning communities that prepare students for careers and rewarding lives.

His academic career began at Cal State LA, where he was a professor of Communication Studies and served as the assistant vice president for Academic Affairs. He has held the positions of dean for Emporia State University and Gannon University. Later, at Niagara University in New York, he served as provost and chief academic officer until 2016 when he was named president of Northern State University (NSU) in Aberdeen, South Dakota. During his tenure at NSU, the university developed over 20 new programs; increased student retention by 10%; increased graduation rates by 5%; stabilized undergraduate enrollment, and increased graduate enrollments by more than 25%, and improved campus facilities.  

Throughout Downs’ career, he has championed equitable treatment and professional growth of students, faculty, and staff. This perspective is confirmed by his development and support for student success centers and programs at three universities. He has advocated for education leading to professional development and worked diligently to provide career advancement opportunities for employees. As an ardent supporter for the liberal arts, he believes in all students developing outstanding critical thinking skills. As a result, he was the driving force behind NSU joining the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. Downs holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communication Studies from Sacramento State and West Virginia University. He also earned a Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from the University of Oklahoma. 

Downs and his wife, Mary, enjoy being part of university communities and connecting with students, faculty, and staff on a regular basis to appreciate the many facets of campus life. They enjoy the company of their two dogs, Harvey and Stella, and enjoy golfing, sporting events, outdoor activities, cooking, going to movies, traveling, and arts events.


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