A look back as we look forward

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, January 4, 2020… A great day to be a Renegade.

As we look forward to the new decade, let’s take a look back at where we’ve been. I thought I’d start with some fun photos from our archives of a rare but beautiful sight… BC in the snow!

Archive Throwback: Winter Wonderland at Bakersfield College

Here are some photos from 1987:

And two featuring Memorial Stadium and the baseball field from 2001:

Archive Throwback: How it all started on the hill

It was April 30th, 1953, that Bakersfield College broke ground and began construction on this empty, barren, dirty, and dusty 153-acre lot on the Panorama Bluffs. The thriving, alive, and robust BC campus we have today is because forward thinkers had a vision of providing for future generations. Breaking ground on our beloved campus, overlooking the prolific Kern River oil field was just the beginning of a rich history at 1801 Panorama Drive.

The needs of Kern County and the future success of our students has been the highest priority for the past 106 years. On opening day in 1913, Bakersfield College began with 13 students. Thirteen students who went on to gain skills and education necessary to make a better life for themselves, and to give back to their community.

Ariel photo of the BC campus during construction in 1955

Today, our enrollment numbers are upwards of 35,000 students – and we continue to grow. Bakersfield College is a place where learning happens. Increasingly, our community is coming to BC to learn. And increasingly, BC is learning how to better serve our community.

BC has seen tremendous growth in the last five years. In 2018-19, BC enrolled 35,992 students, a 42% increase since 2014-15. Some highlights of BC’s major accomplishments in 2019 include:

  • 94 Early College Students earned an Associate degree the same year as their high school graduation; a 147% increase from the previous year
  • 17 Inmate Scholars graduates with an Associate Degree for Transfer in Communications; this was the first graduating class from BC’s Inmate Scholars
  • 7,994 awards in 2018-19, a 57.7% increase from the previous year
  • 12 Baccalaureate of Science degrees were awarded, a 71% increase from the previous year

BC is serving students across Bakersfield in various locations including Panorama, downtown at the Weill Institute, BC Southwest on Camino Media, throughout various high school locations, and online. BC is our community’s college and we are here to serve our students regardless of location. Over the past few years, we’ve addressed several transportation and access barriers by expanding course locations to our rural communities AND with various student services on wheels traveling to Shafter, Wasco, McFarland, and more!

As we begin a new year with new challenges, new objectives, and new achievements ahead, our priority will always remain the same – the support, safety, and success of BC’s students.

Archive Throwback: The Big Move

The BC Archives Newsletter dated April 2006 featured the “Move to the Hill” on BC’s 50th anniversary. In light of our progress last year with transforming the campus through the work of Measure J, let’s take a look at where it all began with “The Big Move.”

The Big Move by Edward Simonsen

“Bakersfield Junior College has, since its establishment in 1913, shared a campus with Bakersfield High school or, as it was known in the early years, KCUHS, commonly called KC. Actually, the junior college was more like a stepchild on the high school campus, having grown from efforts to extend the high school offerings and meet some of the needs of of the community for college-level courses.

Former BC President, Ed Simonsen

For years the College had dreamed of having its own campus, but depression and war had intervened, and it wasn’t until 1955 that the cornerstone would be laid for its new home up on the Panorama bluffs. Although the earthquakes of 1952 were destructive in the extreme, they were fortuitous for what was to be called Bakersfield College. A bond issue following the earthquakes easily passed for a handsome sum in those days of $17 million, and the building of a new college was included in this bond. It was finally going to be time for ‘the big move.’

Grace Bird, who was the dean of the junior college from 1921 until 1950, had visions of a college on a hill. In April 1956, with Ralph Prator at the helm, Bakersfield College, as it was now called, was built on a hill, a wonderful 150 acres up on the Panorama bluffs where it has seen a very productive fifty years, serving tens of thousands of students, and touching the lives of families all over Kern County.

Former President, Ralph Prator

In President Prator’s greetings to the students in the 1956 yearbook, The Raconteur,  he stated ‘The trip to the promised land took place this year. The waters of the big sea of speculation parted to let the red and white clad B.C.-ites into the shore of a new era.’

After many years of dreaming, and after four years of intensive planning and building, the big move took place over Easter vacation, 1956. There were those who thought it would be easier to wait until summer vacation to make the move, and asked rather pointedly, ‘What’s the big rush?’ But the students of the class of 1956 had a compelling argument that favored moving during the spring term. They had been looking forward to being the first class to receive their degrees from the campus on the hill, and they did not want to be denied this distinction. Their views carried the day and the move was made during spring break.

The junior college of 1955-56 was intertwined with the high school. The faculty were shared, and the big question as the move became imminent was who on the teaching faculty would go with the college, and who would stay on at Bakersfield High School. There was a lot at stake in these decisions both at the individual and institutional levels. There was triumph and disappointment at the decisions were made and announced. Bakersfield Junior College had developed a very strong cadre of faculty, some of whom also taught high school classes. And there were also very effective faculty teaching at the high school level who aspired to go with the college. So, these matters had to be settled, and ruffled feathers smoothed.  As the 1955 academic year moved along, decisions were made and the college moved on with its plans for complete separation from the high school. These were not easy decisions, and there were many agonizing moments, and some tears shed.

The faculty, and the entire staff, to some degree, were involved in the planning of the new campus; Ralph Prator saw to that. But Ralph delegated responsibility for actually moving everything and everybody to me, so I had the experience of coordinating the big move. The job was made easier by the fact that much of the new furniture, and all of the new equipment had always been ordered and delivered to the new campus. The move was accomplished with rented panel trucks, with everyone helping, including faculty, administrators, staff, and students. While there were a few hitches, the move went fairly smoothly, and to everyone’s surprise classes were held starting Monday morning, April 2, 1956 in Bakersfield College’s new home on the hill.

1956 BC Raconteur excerpt about the big move

In the 1956 Raconteur, the students wrote what we all felt at the time when they said, ‘Bakersfield College was entering a new and exciting period in its history, a period filled with opportunities to become the finest community college in the nation.’ 

In the intervening 50 years this statement has turned out to be prophetic, as the College has established itself state-wide and nationally as ‘one of the best.’

Those were exciting times in the history of Bakersfield College, and all of us who had a part in the big move have fond recollections of the events and the people connected to the College realizing Grace Bird’s vision of a college on a hill.”

1956 BC Raconteur

Archive Throwback: Memories of the Move

The archives newsletter is full of gems like these memories captured in the words of those who were here…

And what about that first-class flag pole? It is only fitting that our Administration building is now called McCuen Hall…. Here is the view of BC’s administration building from the original parking lot.

And here is what McCuen Hall (BC’s Admin building) looks like today.

A Wonderful Year for the Renegade Pantry

The Renegade Pantry has grown tremendously since its opening and its numbers more than doubled from serving 3,200 individual students during Spring 2019, to over 7,500 for Fall 2019! The ongoing support from our community is very much a part of this daily endeavor!

BC Student holding one of the first aid kits in the Renegade Pantry

Through a community grant obtained from Kern Family Health Care, the pantry will be offering personal first aid kits (while supplies last) to BC students who visit the Renegade Pantry during the first week of the Spring Semester!

Thank you again to Kern Health Systems!

BCSGA Gears up for Gaming

BC’s Renegamer Club

In more recent news, BCSGA will begin to host video gaming centered events in an effort to meet students, encourage friendly competition, and have fun. Esports (electronic sports) is quickly emerging as a big industry and by hosting more video game based events, BCSGA hopes to use this as a way to connect with more of the student body. The first planned event will be held in welcome week with a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament on Monday January 27th.

UMOJA Community Celebrates Mentors and Student Success

At the Umoja Celebration of Mentors and Student Success, Umoja Community students acknowledged the support they received from their mentors. Included in the December celebration were students expressing appreciation for the faculty who contributed to a successful semester and a commemoration of Kwanzaa.

Some of this semester’s Umoja students with
Dr. Parks, Umoja Coordinator (right).

Kwanzaa, created by Dr. Karenga in 1965, is an African-American holiday celebrating cultural values. It is observed December 26 through January 1. Students lit a candle for each of the seven principles, starting with unity (Umoja) and ending in faith (Imani). Dr. Karenga, as the students explained, noted that unity is what is needed to begin the work and faith is needed to sustain it.

Umoja mentors are faculty, staff, and community members matched with students based on personality and career interest. Many of the tributes were touching, especially Arkeliah’s thanking BC staff member June Charles.

Some of the much-appreciated Umoja mentors, including Professor Robinson, Professor Hunter, Ms. Charles, Counselor Mr. Agard, and Director of Outreach, Early College, and AAI Mr. Watkin.

Zariyah spoke for the students in expressing how much she appreciated the caring staff. For example, she said she went to her appointment with Dr. Parks without her draft assignment because of computer difficulties. She said Dr. Parks was so understanding about the situation and that helped her not to feel discouraged. Zariyah also thanked Ms. Burch, the Umoja librarian, for being sympathetic and accommodating about letting her make up the final exam since she was out of town spending time with an aunt who is battling cancer.

Four students spoke on persistence and what sustained them throughout the semester as they got discouraged. Tahnjanique said, “There were many obstacles put in front of me, such as financial struggles. There was a point when we couldn’t pay the light bill, and I stayed up all night all at a friend’s house just to get my work done….”

Christopher credited competition with his younger brother Aaron for helping him return to college and be successful. He referenced the African proverb: If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Christopher ended with, “As a unit, we can go far. There is no limit.

Spotlight on Academic Technology and Flex Week

Every spring semester starts with Flex Week, when faculty and staff come back to campus a week before instruction begins to get ready for the return of students. BC’s Academic Technology and Professional Development team organizes a full week of informative and entertaining workshops, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to highlight their important work not just in Flex Week, but throughout the semester.

As program manager Pamela Rivers explains, Academic Technology breaks down knowledge barriers for faculty, staff and students using all of our innovative instructional software. By facilitating more course materials to be available online, the Academic Technology Department also breaks down equity and access barriers to ensure that students are more likely to persist and complete their degrees.

(Back)Matt Jones, David Greenfield, Bill Moseley
(Front) Pam Rivers, Anita Karr, and Tracy Lovelace

Dean Bill Moseley leads the Academic Technology team, and Pamela Rivers manages the day-to-day operations for both Academic Technology and Professional Development. Matt Jones is a faculty member who teaches many of the Academic Technology workshops, including the online teaching certificate program, and Tracy Lovelace works with instructors one-on-one to assist with Canvas. David Greenfield is the eLumen expert on the team, and Anita Karr is the executive secretary.

In addition to providing Canvas workshops throughout the year, Academic Technology handles several major initiatives for the college. With the help of the CTE team and several faculty members, for instance, Academic Technology was able to write a successful grant application to bring our CTE programs online. The team is also working to develop a cutting-edge badging system that tracks a student’s learning progression throughout a course, creating a Peer Online Course Review system, and maintaining the new online college catalog. Stay tuned for more information about the adoption of a new scheduling platform, as well.

Professional Development and Flex Week

Matt Jones leading a workshop

Professional Development falls under the umbrella of Academic Technology, and the two departments work hand-in-hand to foster BC’s core values of learning, wellness, and diversity. The team has a number of great workshops planned for the Spring 2020 Flex Week, which include a digital badging workshop by Matt Jones, a workshop on creating Wix websites by David Greenfield, and a workshop on tips and tricks in Outlook by Todd Coston. As part of the wellness core value, Chef Alex Gomez will teach faculty and staff about healthy living in sessions in the kitchen inside the Renegade Room.

Distinguished Speaker Series Continues

Temple Grandin crowd
BC hosted Temple Grandin in 2019

The start of the Spring 2020 semester is right around the corner, and with it comes the return of the Distinguished Speaker Series organized by the Office of Student Life. The community is invited to attend these events.

  • February 6, 2020 – Patrisse Khan-Cullors
  • Marck 19, 2020 – Elaine Weiss
  • April 2, 2020 – Dr. Tony B. Iton

These events are helpful opportunities to get our community engaged in important issues that affect society, and I hope to see a packed house for all of our Distinguished Speakers.

SGA wants student feedback regarding transportation

Some students ride bikes to campus. Last year, bike racks were installed at BCSW.

The Bakersfield College Student Government Association will send out a survey to better understand the wants and needs of the student population as a whole. The survey collect demographics of students, ideal events and times, specific issues around campus, and revisiting the transportation bill based on the student body’s feedback. BCSGA’s main goals with this survey is:

  1. To host events that the students want and when is the most ideal for them.
  2. To tackle and solve the most pressing issues that student body sees.
  3. To build and shape the transportation bill to ensure that it meets the student’s needs before BCSGA elections in April.

BCSGA wants to focus on gathering data and evaluating themselves to prove to not only themselves but also to BC that their work is for the students by the students.

Fun Holiday Photos

Vice President Billie Jo Rice enjoyed time with her grandkids over the break.

And Faculty David Rohac and Ginger Leblanc dressed in matching Christmas sweater designs

Community Voices: Jack Hernandez

Jack Hernandez regularly contributes to the Bakersfield Californian and this holiday season Check it out at Bakersfield.com.

Fun Photos: Campus at Sunrise

Early one morning before we left for break, Marketing staff, Earl Parsons took some photos of the sunrise from the balcony between the Performing Arts Center and the second floor of CSS.

Renegade Athletics – Top Moments of 2019

Over the course of the past calendar year Renegade Athletics has witnessed another record round of accomplishments for the department. As we close out 2019 here’s a look back at the ‘Top 12’ moments:

  • 12. Installation of the new field turf/track in Memorial Stadium over the summer. 
  • 11. The Dean & Adah Gay Sports Complex being named the 2019 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Field of the Year for the California Junior College Level.
  • 10. Daizhiana Ebert breaking the 22 year old Women’s Long Jump record in May. Her jump of 19’ 6 1/4” broke the previous record of 19’ 5 1/4” made in 1997 by Aisha Harrison.
  • 9. Wrestling winning the SCWA Conference title for the third time in the last four years. They would go on to place 3rd in the state to end the season. 
  • 8. Baseball claiming their second straight outright Western State Conference (WSC) Championship, going 15-5 in conference.
  • 7. Softball winning their second straight outright Western State Conference (WSC) title this last spring, going 16-0 in conference play.
  • 6. Kayleen Sanchez from Women’s Tennis winning the Western State Conference (WSC) Women’s Tennis Singles Championship and then with partner Paige Darstein they won the WSC Women’s Tennis Doubles Championship.
  • 5. Jacob Whitby from Renegade Track and Field winning a second straight Western State Conference (WSC) title in discus. He was later named the 2019 WSC Co-Field Athlete of the Year.
  • 4. Renegade Volleyball winning their FOURTH consecutive Western State Conference (WSC) Championship this fall.
  • 3. Renegade Swimming’s Daran Towns being named the 2019 Western State Conference (WSC) Co-Female Swimmer of the Year and setting THREE new school records this season in the 100m Free, 200m Free and the 500m Free!
  • 2. Renegade Wrestling’s Jonathan Hunter being named the 174 lb. State Champion and receiving All-American honors at the CCCAA State Wresting Championships this fall; leading the team to an overall 3rd place state finish.
  • 1. Renegade Men’s Soccer winning the Western State Conference Championship for the first time in program history this last fall!

Athletic events ‘On the Hill’ this coming week

Be sure to put on your Renegade Red and cheer on our student athletes as they compete this coming week. If you can’t make it in person, check GoGades.com to catch the livestream. Events include:
• Sat. 1/11 – Women’s Basketball vs. Citrus, 3pm
• Sat. 1/11 – Men’s Basketball vs. Citrus 5pm


Happy New Year!! May 2020 be filled with happiness, laughter, peace, and success!


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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One thought on “A look back as we look forward

  1. Michael O'Doherty January 5, 2020 at 8:12 pm Reply

    Really interesting read; Thanks!

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