The Luckiest and Happiest College President

The Luckiest and Happiest College President

President Sonya Christian

It is a significant week for me …. a time of looking back with immense gratitude …. here are some heart warming memories.

Measure J

Of course, high on the list is when Measure J passed in November 2016, providing funding to upgrade all of KCCD’s campuses and support our students for years to come. I am deeply grateful for the hours of hard work from countless volunteers throughout the district to help get that measure passed – and of course, for the voters who reaffirmed their commitment to our community colleges.

Bakersfield College’s Centennial Celebration

In 2013, Bakersfield College celebrated its 100th year as Bakersfield’s community college. An entire year of events culminated with the Centennial Gala (Check out the gallery on the BC Smugmug site!). We also honored the 100 Stars of Bakersfield College – recognizing some of key alumni, faculty, staff, and community supporters who have made Bakersfield College what it is today.

We kicked off the Centennial Celebrations during the Opening Day festivities.
Former BC presidents Rick Wright, Sandra Serrano, and Greg Chamberlain joined me in cutting the Centennial Cake.

2018: A Commencement Of Firsts

Every commencement is special and amazing, but the 2018 Commencement will always hold a special place in my heart.

That year, we celebrated the first Dual Enrollment class from the Wonderful Academy – graduating with their Associates Degrees as they completed high school.

We also celebrated the first graduating cohort of the Kern Promise, students who piloted a Guided Pathways model of shared responsibility and support completing their degree within 2 years.

And Bakersfield College became the first community college in the State of California to award a four-year baccalaureate degree (!) to seven graduates of the Industrial Automation program:

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, June 26th 2021 … a great day to be a Renegade.

Back to Campus

More and more of our Renegade family is coming back to campus as vaccinations work their magic, and I have so loved the photos they’ve been sharing.

First – check out this amazing photo of BC at dusk, from Diego Monterrubio:

On Wednesday, Jo Ellen Barnes shared these photos as members of the Executive Office get settled in:

Camila Anderson
Debi Anderson
Zav Dadabhoy

And I loved this post from Mindy Wilmot, who shared that it was “surreal” working in her office for the first time since March 17, 2020.

And the BC Bookstore has reopened in its new location in the new Campus Center Building on the Panorama Campus. They are physically open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday for in-store purchases and online order pick-up. 

A reminder that campus COVID-19 safety protocols are in place, so wear a face mask, maintain social distancing protocols, check in on the KCCD Campus Pass mobile app and scan the QR code before entry.

Check out these photos – the new bookstore is amazing!

BC & Rotary: Building Peace in Kern County

On Tuesday, we held the third installment in the Peace Seminar Series. Michael Henstra from Rotary E-Club of One World D5240 and Fernando Aguirre from Bakersfield East Rotary Club joined BC Foundation Executive Director (and Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club member) Cheryl Scott to discuss the partnership between Bakersfield College and Rotary Club.

I wanted to share a few videos from the event.

Here, our panelists discuss peace builders they have seen in their own lives:

Michael shared some information about Rotary Club, including its efforts to eradicate polio:

Fernando discussed how we can address division in our communities:

Here, they discuss the Peace Pole project at Bakersfield College:

And of course, for those of you who may want to learn more about Rotary Club or get involved:

For more about the BC Peace Initiative, visit The rest of the videos from this seminar will be posted there in the next week or so. In the meantime, you can also find videos from our previous seminars, as well as information about our other peace projects.

I loved this piece that KGET did about the seminar. Please check it out!

Mindy Wilmot Named Rotarian of the Year

And speaking of Rotary, BC Librarian Mindy Wilmot was named Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club’s Rotarian of the Year.

Congratulations to Mindy on a well-earned distinction!

Early College Automation Summer Academy visits Setton Farms

This week, the Early College INDA Summer Academy visited Setton Farms.

I love this picture of Berenice Arellano and Kylie Campbell:

A2MEND Battle of the Field 7-on-7 & Lineman Challenge 

The African American Male Education Network and Development (A2MEND) Student charter at Bakersfield College was at Memorial Stadium last night providing information about A2MEND, BC Athletics, career and pathway opportunities, and enrollment opportunities along with football drills & skill challenges run by BC football players.
Don’t miss today’s 7-on-7 tournament and Lineman competition! Events will be in Memorial Stadium from 7AM to 9PM. Learn more about the A2MEND Battle of the Field.

GET Imagining Your Future

As you’re travelling about town, keep an eye out for our new ads on the GET buses. We are inviting Kern County to reimagine your future at the home of the renegades!

Closing Day 2021

Today, I am wrapping up my look back at our Closing Day 2021 celebrations with four videos. I have purposely saved these for my final week.

My final President’s Leadership Award went to the unconquerable Jennifer Serratt:

We also paid tribute to outgoing KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke.

First, with video messages from several members of our Renegade community:

And then I shared my own thoughts:

Tom, your leadership and guidance over the past few years have been phenomenal for the Kern Community College District. You are a hard act to follow, and I hope that I am up to the challenge. Thank you for all you have done for the students, staff, and faculty at all the colleges in our district – and for the communities we serve.

Finally, here is my thank you to everyone who helped make Closing Day 2021 possible:

You can see all the videos from the 3 days of production on the Closing Day website.

Sandi Taylor named to CCCAA 2021 Hall of Fame Class

Speaking from the podium.

Longtime BC softball coach Sandi Taylor was named to the California Community College Athletic Association Hall of Fame Class of 2021. During her tenure as coach, she led the Renegades to the postseason 15 times, while amassing 500 career wins. She was selected as the Southern California Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 1997.

Sandi retired in 2020 as BC’s Athletic Director.

Due to the pandemic, the Class of 2021 was unable to be celebrated in person. The 2021 class will join the 2020 and 2022 honorees during ceremonies at next year’s convention.

I wanted to share this video from Sandi’s retirement celebration in 2020:

And this one from our Closing Day 2020 celebration. Sandi earned the Presidential Lifetime Achievement award:

Sandi has left a lasting impact on the athletics department and the college, and I am deeply grateful for her commitment to our student athletes. I am so pleased to hear of this well-deserved honor.

Congratulations Sandi!

Commencement 2021

Today, I am also finishing up with sharing the videos from our 2021 Commencement Tribute program.

Part 5 of our graduates:

Part 6 of our graduates:

Our degree conferral, featuring KCCD Trustees Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Kyle Carter, and Romeo Agbalog:

And a choral performance titled “Be the Change”:

You can look back at all the videos from the 2021 Commencement Tribute on the Bakersfield College website.

Vaccine Clinics

The BC Student Health Center is still hard at work providing COVID-19 vaccines to our community.

Upcoming clinics include:

  • Tuesday, June 29 @ Emmanuel Lutheran Church (1900 Baker Street) from 5 to 8 pm: Moderna (18+)
  • Thursday, July 1 in partnership with the Governor’s Office, Kern Medical, Telemundo, and KGET-TV 17 @ 2120 L St, Bakersfield, CA 93309 from 3 to 7 pm: Pfizer (12+) and Johnson and Johnson (18+)
  • Thursday, July 8 @ the Hindu Temple of Kern County (6700 Valley View, Bakersfield) from 5 to 8 p.m.: Moderna (18+) and Pfizer (12+)
  • Saturday, July 10th BC Mass Clinic on campus from 10 am to 2 pm: Moderna (18+) and Pfizer (12+)
  • Friday, July 16 @ Mercado Latino (2105 Edison Hwy, Bakersfield, CA 93305) from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Moderna (18+) and Pfizer (12+)
  • Monday, June 19 @ BC Delano Campus from 5 to 8 pm: Moderna (18+) and Pfizer (12+)
  • Wednesday, July 21 @ Kern County Veterans NOR Veteran’s Hall (400 Norris Rd, Bakersfield, CA 93308) from Noon to 3 p.m.: Moderna (18+)
  • Saturday, August 7th BC Mass Clinic on campus from 10 am to 2 pm: Moderna (+18)

The BC Student Health and Wellness Center is currently administering the Moderna COVID vaccine Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 9 am to 3 pm, and Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccine is administered Thursdays from 9 am to 3pm. Walk-ins are accepted at all clinics, or register at or call (833) 422-4255 and schedule your appointment. Enter the zip code of 93305 to view the Bakersfield College Student Health and Wellness Center availability.

Clinics with Pfizer vaccines are in partnership with and administered by Albertsons/Vons Pavillions, Southern California Division, as part of the White House and U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services Federal Pharmacy Program. 

Poetry Corner

Please enjoy this poem from Jack Hernandez:


You taught me how 
to take the bus downtown,
how to shovel walks
stuffed with overnight snow, 
to belly flop on frozen roads,
skate fast with some grace
on a pond’s smooth ice.
You did not teach me, though,
to know those pushed
aside because of color,
fenced in and feared.
You raised me 
in a walled cradle
of warmth and joy,
it would take leaving you.
not forgetting but opening
my childhood eyes
to the suffering and anger
it did not know.

In the News

BC job skills training program seeks young people who are struggling, out of school

The Bakersfield Californian wrote this piece about BC’s ENCORE program, which aims to help young residents earn a job skills certificate.

“As we look toward working our way out of the pandemic, education with a focus on employment is going to pave the way for so many families,” BC’s dean of instruction, Anthony Cordova said.

You can find out more or apply to the program at

BC to host U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West concert on July 2

If you missed it on the KGET website, our own Outdoor Theatre at the Simonsen Performing Arts Center will host the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West on July 2. Gates open at 6 pm for the free concert, which will start at 7 pm.

Spotted on Social Media

Check out these selfies that BC Nursing shared for National Selfie Day:

I loved this create Father’s Day gift that Endee Grijalva shared:

BC Cheer posted a Wayback Wednesday photo of their 1991-92 team:

And I just had to share this inspirational post from Dr. Daisy Gonzales, Deputy Chancellor of California Community Colleges:


That’s all for now.
Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Tagged: , ,

2 thoughts on “The Luckiest and Happiest College President

  1. Michael O'Doherty June 26, 2021 at 2:28 pm Reply

    Great Amazement always overtakes me when you RE-cap the years and events like this. You are always bringing out the best in a situation

  2. Cheryl Scott June 27, 2021 at 9:43 am Reply

    Sonya, I’m sure glad the next chapter of your career is still in the book of “Let’s make Kern County even better”! Looking forward to what the future holds for KCCD under your leadership!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: