On Thursday May 1st, 2014, Bakersfield College had the honor of hosting a very special event– a Betty younger sculpture dedication honoring Dr. Jim Young. “Circle of Friends” is an outdoor sculpture located atop a small hill Northeast of the GET Bus terminal on Panorama Drive. The sculpture, which consists of four red upright figures standing together in a circle, was created by Betty Younger to honor her friend JimYoung, who served as Kern Community College District’s chancellor from 1978 to 1999.
The evening started at 4 P.M. with a brief dedication ceremony at the foot of the hill where the sculpture is mounted. Many members of Bakersfield College’s faculty and staff were in attendance, as well as many family members and students of James Young. Betty Younger and her husband, Milt, introduced the sculpture and each spoke on how their friend has impacted their lives and the lives of others. Mrs. Younger shared that the inspiration for “Circle of Friends” was what James Young has done with and for his students, fellow educators, and friends throughout the years. “He is truly a mentor to all he meets”, remarked Mrs. Younger.
The Chancellor Emeritus spoke after them, thanking his friends for recognizing him and his accomplishments and for the honor of having the sculpture dedicated to him. Dr. Young fondly remembered his many years working for the Kern High School District and the Kern Community College District. He proudly spoke of his continued work with students even after retiring, volunteering for Arvin High School’s We The People team amongst other community groups. He pointed out and thanked various people in attendance, including his family, friends, and past/present students. The audience burst into applause and many guests swarmed him with congratulations and thanks.
Following this, guests were invited to a reception in the foyer of the Grace Van Dyke library; thankfully, a few of BC’s awesome cart drivers were on hand to transport guests across the lawns to the reception!
The foyer of the library was nicely decorated for the occasion, thanks to our wonderful staff. Beautiful live piano music filled the room, courtesy of our wonderful Choir Director Dr. Jennifer Garrett. As the foyer slowly filled, guests wandered about socializing with friends and colleagues. In addition to the wine and cheese corner, the Bakersfield College Culinary Arts Department staffed a table filled with Hors d’oeuvres and desserts.
Once all the guests had arrived and settled in, it was time to present two special recognitions. As part of Bakersfield College’s Centennial Celebration, the college chose to recognize 100 alumni, retirees, and community members as part of the “100 Stars” campaign. After a brief testament detailing their many efforts and achievements, I awarded both Milt and Betty a 100 Stars medal for their great impact on the Bakersfield Community. (You can read a detailed list of these at http://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/centennial/100-stars/milt-betty-younger. Also check out the 1:31-minute video honoring Betty Younger at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nJHSy-19DY&feature=youtu.be)
I’d like to thank the Younger family for donating “A Circle of Friends” to the campus, as well as Dr. Jim Young for his past and continued service to the education of Kern County students. I would also like to give special thanks to our various staff and faculty members for organizing this event, and to our student workers & volunteers for assisting in making the day a success. A final thanks for Salvadore Cruz, a fabulous student in Communication who is interning with me this year. You can find his photos at http://imgur.com/a/Rye0s. The afternoon was a wonderful affair, and I am very happy that BC had the honor of hosting it.