Emeritus and Retired Faculty and Staff Association

William "Steve" Stephens, PhD


College of Natural Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences
Vice President for Academic Affairs

Deceased: 2017

Five years after joining the faculty, Dr. Steve Stephens was elected chairperson of the department of biological sciences. In 1977 he was chosen dean of the College of Natural Sciences where he served for 14 years. In 1991 he was named vice president for academic affairs, a position he held until 1994. He served on dozens of university, system-wide, and community boards and committees. He chaired the Eagle Lake Field Station board of control and oversaw planning and equipping of Holt Hall labs and lecture halls.

Stephens’ teaching at Chico State spanned 30 years with courses in biology, microbiology, and bacteriology. He chaired campus committees examining recruiting and retention of faculty, budget, impact of Pioneer Days, organizational linkages with Student Affairs and Associated Students, and alcohol and drug abuse. His research specialty was bacterial carotenoid pigments.

His impact on Chico State was the result of Stephens always putting students first in his academic and administrative decision-making. As dean, he dedicated the entire science faculty and program to science education.

Since the 1970s the campus had been renowned for its preparation of public school science teachers, and Stephens was principally responsible for this commitment and accomplishment. Few have had such an important and long-lasting impact, and no one had done it with as much grace and good humor as Stephens. 

Portrait of William "Steve" Stephens, PhD