Hutchins School Alumni

I want to express how extremely satisfied I am with the Hutchins Program here at Sonoma State University. The way that it is structured and the professors who teach have allowed me the flexibility to expand and contract with the demands of life, while being supportive and providing feedback and encouragement with my development and completion of my degree. The depth of knowledge and enthusiasm that my professors display is infectious, and shows me how dedicated and committed they are to teaching and the learning process. One of the things I love most about Hutchins is that the student is in control of the intensity of learning that they wish to experience. There is a downside to that, but for those that are willing to step up to see the challenge, this program has boundless potential for self-directed learning. It is this boundless potential that I was able to harness, and I am very satisfied with my education and eager to keep learning.

--Monicka Darling, former Hutchins student

I was lucky enough to be among the 100 members of the very first Hutchins School class, which began meeting in September 1969 with the five original professors: (provost and founder) Warren Olson, Bob Rueping, Art Bauman, Ira Kalet, and Jerry Tucker. We were a scruffy bunch and many of the students did not complete four years in the program. Professors Bauman and Kalet were gone after the first year and Rueping followed soon after. Anyone interested in the gory detail of those first tumultuous years is welcome to contact me via my website.

Hutchins School was perfect for me. I am a self-motivated learner who loves to read, write, and discuss ideas. My learning experiences at Hutchins set me on an eclectic path that led to and informed my career as a freelance writer and editor. Among other professions chosen by members of the original class include one or more of the following: filmmaker, attorney, engineer, chiropractor, nutritionist, teacher, artist, chef, business executive, actor, journalist, education administrator, and farmer. Many of us have been entrepreneurial to the extent that we have started companies and non-profit organizations, traveled the world and lived for extended periods overseas. On the whole, we turned out well, creating families of many kinds and descriptions. I’m still in touch with many of the Hutchinites I met at age 18 and count them as dear friends.

Physically, the world of Hutchins that we knew no longer exists. We started attending classes in the old library, between Stevenson and Ives halls, before moving into "portable" buildings that sat just south of Stevenson. We studied on a nearly treeless campus that had offered no student housing, no intercollegiate athletics, no public transit, no Internet, no cellphones, and no student body association. Our tuition was less than $70 per semester.

Besides me, here are some of the folks who appear in my photos: George Jackson, Jonathan Baylis, Quincy Charter, Kathy Anderson, Janet Nussbaum, Marcy Page, Eric Shafer, Les Adler, Michael Coleman, Richard Dangerfield, Warren Olson, Warner Yuill-Thornton, Larry Jordan, Dirk Sigler, Ed Cohen, Howie Ortman, Barbie Page, Debbie Granat, Diana Halpenny, Moon Williams, Sue Diridoni, Ron Miller, Ann del Tredici, Lu Mattson, Tony Mountain, Maurice Blaug, Janet Hughes, and Elaine Laingen. Some other names have been lost to memory. Let me know if you can identify them.

Richard "Captain" Mahler

View Richard's photos of Hutchins' early years here!

Do you have Hutchins alumni news, or are you a Hutchins alum with a great story to tell? Please contact Administrative Specialist Billie Johnson at or at (707) 664-2491. We would love to hear from you. Thanks!


Hutchins: Then and Now--a poster of times and seminars past, created by lecturer and former Hutchins student Margaret Anderson.