Just a Few Steps - Richard Robbins

Richard RobbinsThe saying "Work hard, play hard" resonates for many. For SDSU alumni Richard Robbins, the life motto is "Be kind to others and patient with yourself." It's these standards that have helped Robbins achieve the success he's always dreamt of.

After earning his AB in English from SDSU, Robbins would go on to teach literature and creative writing at Minnesota State University Mankato while also directing the creative writing program. Robbins would also direct the MSU's Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing.

During his tenure of teaching, Robbins has won numerous awards including the Kay Sexton Award for long-standing dedication and outstanding work in fostering books, reading and literary activity in Minnesota. Fellowships from The Loft Literary Center, the McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and many more have also been highlights of Robbins's career. Adding to the vast career achievements, Robbins has also published six books of poems.

This successful career in writing would not have been possible if not for the community of writers that SDSU provided. "My sense of myself as a writer who belonged to a larger community of writers grew substantially…when an astounding number of poets visited SDSU and the greater San Diego community," remembered Robbins. "We were not used to such abundance. It put a fire under us all. And it had a great influence on me when, ten years later, I started directing a reading series of my own."

Robbins' college years were also extremely different in several ways. "You are moving forward but only with enough light from your flashlight to see a few steps ahead," said Robbins. "There are no guarantees as to where you are headed, only the feeling that for now you are headed in the right direction." But a much-needed class, or conversation with a professor provided magical experiences as well. And it was the culmination of these that provided Robbins with the quintessential college experience, something he is forever grateful to have had.

Richard and his wife, Candace Black, have cemented a legacy to SDSU in the form of a planned gift. They are motivated by the reality that higher education is now increasingly expensive but "also by the experience of working with people who saw potential in us and somehow managed to help us see it too," said Robbins.