There’s so much to be thankful for!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend, November 26th, and as I write this morning I feel so alive and my heart is full and thankful.  How can I describe it?  Life right now is like peanut butter and jelly. Or perhaps let me use the words of Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music:

My heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds
That rise from the lake to the trees
My heart wants to sigh like a chime that flies
From a church on a breeze
To laugh like a brook when it trips and falls over
Stones on its way
To sing through the night like a lark who is learning to pray

It is the best job in the world — being President of Bakersfield College…..great colleagues and friends.


I woke up this morning to find the cover of the Bakersfield Life Magazine featuring the Condors playing at Memorial Stadium on January 7th. How cool is that!  Matt Riley, thank you for being a phenomenal partnership.  Let’s  support Riley and pack the stadium for the Condors Dec 21st through Jan 7th.  I plan on being there.  Will I see you there?

Bakersfield Life Nov  26 2016.jpg


On Thursday, we headed to San Francisco…just a quick overnight trip.  Staying by the waterfront is a treat that always reminds me of growing up close to the beach in Quilon, although of course a much much warmer beach than the one by SFO!  (Even if he didn’t really say it, my favorite quote attributed to Mark Twain is “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”). In the collage below, the picture on the left was taken in May 2013 at the breakwaters in Quilon with a temperature of 80 degrees and the two pictures on the right at San Francisco on Nov 25, 2016, early morning when it was 40 degrees.

Yesterday, Friday, after getting back from San Francisco, I headed to campus to check out the scene since Mary Jo Pasek and Sandi Taylor worked hard to bring back Friday Night Football at Memorial Stadium with the BHS vs Liberty game.  It was wonderful seeing the crowd having a good time.  Thank you Stan Greene for partnering with BC.

And at the Gil Bishop Sports Center the Bakersfield College Men’s Basketball Team won by 51 points to open the 2016 Thanksgiving Tournament.

This is what Francis Mayer had to say:

Shane Christie and Jamar Hammonds led BC in scoring with 19 points each, but were just two of five Renegades who scored in double digits.

Stockdale product Tucker Eenigenburg had the second-highest scoring total with 16 points and was a perfect three for three from beyond the arc, but picked up a double-double by also pulling down 11 rebounds for BC.

The college was relatively quiet during the short Thanksgiving week, although the office was buzzing and churning out work. These women in my office all work so hard, and so smart! At one point I walked around and persuaded them to do selfies with me. Here are the fabulous Tracy Hall, Somaly Boles, June Charles and Tarina Perry. (There should be selfies with Chris and Jennifer but they happened to be out of the office at the moment I got inspired to take photos…)

And here is the wonderful gang from the Outreach Office on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving — Ashley Ward, Debi Anderson, and Rosanne Lewis.  I remember three years ago when we started this department with just the Director Steve Watkin.  And he built what we currently have, a comprehensive outreach program, to our 46 feeder high schools.


And on Tuesday, Sandi Taylor and I spent 4 hours in traffic to catch the last part of Coach Carl Ferreira‘s Volleyball team at El Camino in the post season playoff.  Our students were just great and we are so lucky to have Coach Ferreira at BC.

I hope you’ve all had a happy and restful Thanksgiving. When I take a step back and look around, I see incredible beauty and so many things to be thankful for…

And on Monday, November 21, 2016, the Bakersfield College Jazz Ensemble directed by Kris Tiner presents a program exploring the intersections of jazz, gospel, and soul, featuring music by Cannonball Adderley, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Thad Jones and others.

Check out Mason Edwards singing Hallelujah, I Love Her So by Ray Charles. He was the first to bring together gospel and rhythm and blues. All of the songs in the Soul Jazz Concert focused on jass influenced by gospel music. Kris Tiner said Ray Charles defined soul music when Saturday night got mixed up with Sunday morning 🙂

wow…. Ray Charles.  I just love his music.  Check him out in these two songs

Hallelujah, I Love Her So

and here he is with Georgia on my mind

Kris Tiner, thank you for bringing beautiful music to us!

Good morning again! I am thankful for Bakersfield. Each morning, the sun rises and shines brightly casting warmth upon our vibrant city. We accomplish so much when we work together, and this year, I’ve had uncountable daily reminders of how truly blessed I am to be a part of BC and our larger Kern County community.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where to start and the list of “little things” that make my heart full of gratitude is a list which could never be complete… it keeps growing and growing. But, I’m thankful for life and the people who make life worth living… I’m thankful for people like you. I’m thankful for the journey, the pursuit of knowledge, and for hope. I’m thankful for endless possibilities made possible through higher education and a community that believes in and supports their college students. I’m thankful for the arts, humanities, and sciences… for subjects that span the imagination and talented and focused students who are dedicating their lives to their interests and field. I’m thankful for doing work that matters with leaders, friends, volunteers and partners who share similar goals of supporting our students, and for doing everything possible to make our future better. I’m thankful for Measure J, I’m thankful for our students today and for our students of the future.

Sometimes, pictures can say what words cannot, so I’d like to share a bit of what I’m thankful for today:



Thank you President’s Cabinet


Thank you College Council

College Council Group Sep 2 2016.jpg

KIT/CSUB “Electronic Bookworm” Library Tech Hackathon

Last weekend, our BC students participated in the KIT Community / CSUB “Electronic Bookworm” Library Tech Hackathon — innovation competition to develop the best technology tool for library efficiency and patron access in Kern County. Pictured here is 1st place Team Goat for “Roomly” with Cristian Gutierrez and Karen Goh always posts the best pictures on her Facebook, so if you have the time, check them all out at

To learn more about the hackathon, check out the article from KGET at

C.H.A.P. in Delano

The Bakersfield College Delano Campus Cultural and Historical Awareness Program (C.H.A.P.) concluded its Fall 2016 semester events with two exciting and well-attended presentations dealing broadly with the topics of civic engagement and social justice.  These events represent a partnership with the Bakersfield College Social Justice Institute, the Bakersfield College Office of Student Life, and Student Government Association Campus Collaborative Action (CCA) grant.chap-3

On Monday, Nov 21st,  the Delano Campus hosted a series of speakers promoting civic participation and a voter education forum.  Manuel Barrera, Director of Programs and Planning for the Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF), spoke to a packed room about the importance of voter education and civic engagement.  A non-profit organization based in downtown Bakersfield, the DHF works locally and more broadly at the state and national levels, “creating networks of healthy, organized communities pursuing social justice through systemic and structural transformation.”  Mr. Barrera was accompanied by his colleague, Mr. Moises Duran, who you can also learn more about below.  Following Mr. Barrera’s talk, Anjelica Perez and Alexa Rivera, representing Bakersfield College Students in Support of Measure J., spoke broadly about the potential impact of the bond.


The final C.H.A.P. event began featuring two speakers who work broadly within the field of social justice.  Gustavo Aguirre, Jr., Project Coordinator for the Central California Environmental Justice Network and Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz, Ph.D. Candidate at Cornell University, spoke to a packed house about the importance of civic engagement and promoting healthy communities in rural California.  Aguirre, a BC alumni and graduate of Foothill high school, comes from a family of farm labor activism.  His father, Gustavo Aguirre, Sr., was a leader within the United Farm Workers of America for more than a decade.  Alatriste-Diaz is completing his Ph.D. at Cornell University in New York in the Department of Sociology.  He spoke to the students about his research on public health in Central Valley and the unique challenges facing residents to achieving healthy communities.  He highlighted a number of examples and strategies residents, especially in Tulare County, have been using to promote equity in food access, particularly community gardens and work associated with the organization, Be Healthy Tulare.   You can learn more online at

C.H.A.P. organizers Michelle Hart and Oliver Rosales and I want to thank everyone who helped make our events successful this semester and for your continued support for expanding cultural enrichment opportunities for our rural students.  We look forward to bringing you new and exciting speakers and events next semester!

fromjayroseblieb_-fatherfrankrosenliebg_gradbc1947BC Family Memories

Tuesday morning I received a photo from Jay Rosenlieb. BC connects our community and is a common bond among many of our families. Jay’s father, Frank Rosenlieb, graduated from Bakersfield College in 1947. This handwritten note from “Junior College Graduation” is still in the family today.  Just wonderful!

What family mementos from BC are in your family history? Or maybe you’re one of our current students who will be first-generation college graduates. I hope you will keep special mementos from graduation day and pass them down to the next generation.

Thank you Kern County! Thank you Bakersfield! Thank you Bakersfield College!

We are BC! Todos somos BC!




That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever.



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