Bakersfield College – A blessing to our community

Received this beautiful sunrise photo yesterday morning from a friend that does morning walks in the Northeast while I take Neo for morning walks in the southwest. The awakening and active sky is reflected in Mirror Pond which is located at the entrance to Hart Park. The text with the photo came with this message “Did you see this morning’s sunrise blessing?” Yes indeed… a beautiful sunrise is a blessing, and so is my friend.

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, August 15, 2020, India’s Independence Day…And always a great day to be a Renegade

COVID-19 Virtual Forums

This week, I restarted my virtual seminar series on COVID-19.

On Wednesday, 197 attendees tuned in to hear from Bill Potter, Executive Director of Facilities & Planning; Cindy Collier, Interim Director – Health Center; Heather Baltis, Faculty – Agriculture; and Alisha Loken, Faculty – Nursing, as we discussed plans as Bakersfield College transitions into Fall 2020.

Please visit for information about Bakersfield College’s response to COVID-19.

Corny Rodriguez

I was delighted to see this column from Jose Gaspar congratulating retiring Dean of Instruction Corny Rodriguez for his work in mentoring students, and taking a look back at his incredible career.

I am deeply grateful for the time that Corny has given to Bakersfield College, and I wish him well in his retirement.

Although, I did make note of this quote from the end of the column:

“I’m not going away. I’m still involved,” said Rodriguez.

Superstar in Bakersfield

Erin Miller

I was also pleased to see this article in the Bakersfield Californian about Eoghan Kerry, rising Centennial football star, who will be transferring to Santa Ana-Mater Dei.

Eoghan is the son of BC History Professor Erin Miller.

Erin shared her apprehension, and excitement, for her son:

“A lot of it for me as a parent is being risk averse. I wanted to get other people’s opinions because there are people in this world who take risks that they never should have taken. And it costs them dearly. And then there are people that should have taken a risk but fail to embrace the challenge. I wanted to embrace the opportunity for him instead of being my usual risk-averse self.”

I would like to extend a congratulations from the entire Renegade community to Erin & Eoghan – we can’t wait to hear what great things will come!

New Student Convocation

Every year, new students are welcomed to campus in a New Student Convocation event. This year, the event will be going virtual. I encoruage all new BC Renegades to take part in these festivities on Tuesday, August 18, at 6 pm.

The word convocation literally means a “calling together.” Beyond welcoming students to the community, students will also learn critical information about navigating college life, the importance of getting involved on campus, and strategies for being successful. Thank you Nicky Damania for making this happen every year. It is one of my favorite events.

Find out more and register at

Beautiful gift from the Mettlers to support Early College Eg students

This week, the Bakersfield College Foundation received a significant financial gift from the Clifford and Patricia Mettler estate to support 120 students enrolled in BC’s Agriculture Pathways Early College program.

You can read more about the donation on the Bakersfield Californian, KGET, KERO, or 23ABC websites.

Commencement & Early College Celebration

I’m continuing to share the video segments from the 106th Commencement, which aired on July 11.

History Professor Olivia Garcia spoke as recipient of the Samuel W. McCall Outstanding Faculty award:

Congressman TJ Cox shared a message for the graduates:

And Part 4 of our Graduate recognition:

All the videos from our special 2020 106th Commencement Televised Event can be seen at

The Bakersfield College Early College Celebration was also held virtually this year, via Zoom. Today, I am sharing two videos from Wasco High School.

Principal Kevin Tallon:

Ag Prep Coordinator David Abernathy:

Learn more about Early College at

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Conversation

A segment of the June 17 program focused on interactions between police and the Black community. I’d like to share those videos today.

The segment began with part of the June 4 #RealTalk on Race in America with Danny Morrison, Julian West, and Reggie Bolton, as they speak about unity:

That was followed with comments from the June 10 #RealTalk on Race, which featured the Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant Police Chief Joe Mullins and Chief of Police Greg Terry shared their thoughts:

Tommy Tunson, Bakersfield College Director of Public Safety Training Programs, spoke about transformational policing:

Lyle Martin, Chief Investigator with the Kern County District Attorney’s Office, wrapped up the segment:

Learn more about Bakersfield College’s Juneteenth programming online at

#GoodTrouble: Celebrating the Life of John Lewis

I am continuing to share videos from the July 29 #GoodTrouble production in partnership between Bakersfield College and Danny Morrison.

Today I am sharing a few videos that show some biographical and historical context of John Lewis’ life. Please check for the panoramic photo of John Lewis’ congressional office (in History Professor Oliver Rosales‘ video), taken by English Professor Andrew Bond.

Oliver Rosales, BC History Professor:

Keith Wolaridge, BC Adjunct Professor & Panama Buena Vista Union School District Trustee:

Jamal Wright, BC History Professor:

You can learn more about the production, and see all the videos, on the Bakersfield College website.

Closing Week

This week, I am sharing the final set of videos from our Closing Week Celebration

During our Pre-show on Thursday, we shared a message for our students from President’s Cabinet:

Here are the introduction and conclusion videos for Thursday from Information Technology Director Todd Coston. Todd was an amazing emcee during our entire Opening Week!



Todd did a fantastic job with our Closing Week celebration. His passion and humor in all aspects of his job is part of the reason he received the final President’s Leadership Award for 2020:

And of course, we had to finish our week with a fireworks celebration:

You can view all our Closing Week 2020 videos on the Bakersfield College Closing Week 2020 website.

We are currently gearing up for our virtual Opening Week celebration, this Monday-Thursday. I will be sharing videos from this production in future blog posts.

Spotted on Social Media

BCSGA has been sharing #ThrowbackThursday photos on their Twitter and Instagram pages. This week, they shared a picture of the CSS Building lunch area in the 1950s:

Dean of Academic Technology Bill Moseley retweeted this photo of ways to connect with students during distance education:

Abel Guzman, Executive Director of Rural Initiatives, shared this shout out to his team. This week, Wasco Union High School District teachers were able to sign up for an Introduction to Online Learning Environments class.


A Heavy Week to The Heart In Athletics

This last week our Renegade family has seen four members pass on. Our thought, prayers and sincere condolences go out to the families and friends of each one of these individuals. We are grateful for the impact that each one has had, and the joy they brought others.

Keithen Estrada

Keithen Estrada had just finished a stellar two-year career as a Renegade Wrestler when we learned of his passing this last week at the young age of 21. In both 2018 and 2019 he placed 7th in the CCCAA State Finals in the 125 lb. weight class. Head Wrestling Coach Brett Clark had this to say about him – “First thing that comes to mind is his infectious smile, his great personality. He had a bright future ahead of him and we’re going to miss him.”. Co-Head Coach Marcos Austion also had this to say “Keithen was an absolute joy to be around on and off the mat. His charisma and lightheartedness was often the reason our teams gelled. He was a leader and a standout athlete. He will be missed greatly.”

The wake for Keithen will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 26th 6-8pm and the funeral will be on Thursday, Aug. 27th at 10am. Services will be held at Basham Funeral Care on 3312 Niles St. All attendees are required to wear a face mask and donations can be made to Basham Funeral Care under Keithen Estrada.

Andre Spencer

The only Renegade Men’s Basketball student athlete to go on and play in the NBA was Andre Spencer. Andre played for BC from 1982-1984 and would go on to play at Northern Arizona University before a long professional career in the CBA, Europe, Israel and the NBA. Andre was just 56 years old at the time of his passing last week. New Head of Men’s basketball operations Aaron Chavez had this to say about Andre – “Andre was someone who cared so much for the BC men’s basketball program. His accomplishments are second to none. He may arguably be the best Renegade of all-time.” After retiring officially from playing professional basketball Andre had devoted himself to coaching young talent in the southern California area and giving back to the game.

Bill ‘The Goat’ Nelson

Former BC Kinesiology professor and Golf/Basketball Coach Bill ‘The Goat’ Nelson was a well-loved figure around Renegade athletics for almost 40 years. He coached the men’s golf team from 1966-2002 and had a stint as the men’s basketball coach from 1967-1973. After retiring from the Bakersfield College ranks it wasn’t uncommon to see Coach Nelson drifting on his bass boat or handing out coaching tips on the course. Head Men’s Golf Coach Wes Coble had this to say about Bill – “His presence, humor and friendship will be missed by many. I only hope that I can fill just a small portion of the massive footprint he left on Bakersfield College Athletics and the golf community. I will miss him dearly,” 

Herb Walker

A legend in the Bakersfield Community, Herb Walker lived life to the fullest and always gave back to the community throughout his entire 87 years of life. Herb attended BC after serving in the U.S. Navy. He both swam and played football for the Renegades when the college was still located on the grounds of Bakersfield High School. His community involvement extended to active participation in the Fox Theatre Restoration, the Downtown Business Association, and the inaugural Garces Gala. Herb’s service and love for Bakersfield culminated in his being honored in 2008 as the East Side Sons of St. Patrick Leprechaun of the Year and in 2009 the National Herb Walker Day by the City of Bakersfield.

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 “Bakersfield College – A blessing to our community

  1. Kevin Ott August 15, 2020 at 9:59 pm Reply

    Beautiful sunrise photo at the top!

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