Stepping Up to Support HSU Dance Studies

Professor Emeritus Richard Stepp, who taught physics at HSU for 39 years, enjoys creating solutions to unique challenges. One of the ways he does that is by finding situations he can improve through his charitable giving.

Most recently, he made a $5,000 gift to support the HSU Dance Studies program. His gift allows Dance Studies faculty to decide how the funds are used to best enhance the program.

“As a donor, when I look at HSU, I look for a special situation, a cause I believe in, and a person with the competence and energy who can get the job done. When you find that, you can apply the right amount of funding to leverage a program and add value it might not otherwise have,” says Richard.

He saw that competence and energy in HSU’s Dance Studies program and HSU Dance instructor Jandy Bergmann.

An athlete his entire life, Richard wanted to improve his posture and keep his mobility in order to stay active. He turned to Bergmann, an HSU Dance instructor who taught the movement education system called Feldenkrais.     

While taking private Feldenkrais classes with Jandy, Richard learned that budget cuts in the HSU Dance program might affect one of her most popular courses. He had long known that many students benefited from Jandy’s “Body Works” course at HSU and felt there was tremendous educational value in preserving it.  

Based on high student demand, the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences came through with funds to sustain the course. Hoping to add further value to the Dance Studies program, Richard made a gift to the Dance Trust.

The gift is welcome news throughout the campus community. “Prof. Stepp's gift will provide direct support to students of the Dance Studies program. We are profoundly grateful for his contribution to dance and movement education,” says Lisa Bond-Maupin, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.  

Jandy is equally grateful for Richard’s gift. "Words can hardly express the gratitude that dance faculty and students feel for Prof. Stepp's generous donation! It is rare to receive this kind of acknowledgement and support. His contribution to the HSU Dance program makes our unique learning and creative opportunities available to many more students,” she says.

Dance Studies is one of many programs Richard has supported throughout the years. In 1998 he received an inheritance and began to imagine all the donations he might make in his lifetime.

Richard says it doesn't take much to improve or enhance a situation. “Bottom line is that I love funding special circumstances. Hopefully this gift helps the Body Works program keep going and helps alleviate budget pressures for the Dance Program. It feels good to me. A lot of people are smiling about this. The whole thing makes me smile. That’s what it’s about.”

If you would like to support the Dance Studies program, you can make a gift to the Dance Trust here. If you have questions about giving, or would like to learn about other ways to support HSU students, visit loyalty.humboldt.edu, email the Office of Philanthropy at giving@humboldt.edu, or call 707-826-5200.