The wisdom of ‘love thy neighbor’

Sep 24th …. beautiful morning as I walked Neo. The moon was a tiny but bright sliver; the air was soft in the predawn hours. Yesterday, I had the Laver Cup doubles match on in the background while I did my zoom meetings, where Federer and Nadel teamed up for Federer’s last match as he moved into retirement. Of course I had to tune into the match, if only because it was the eve of my mom’s birthday. She loved watching tennis, and would have loved seeing them team up for the occasion.

Happy Birthday Mom

Today I will celebrate my mom’s birthday spending time doing some of of my mom’s favorite things – including enjoying mcdonald’s french fries, and doing an evening Krispy Kreme run, hoping that they have the “Hot Now” sign lit up on the outside.


This past week was busy. It started with a conference in LA, then off to DC, back Thursday night followed by a jampacked Friday at the office.

I did the conference in LA with Steve Watkin and Kylie Campbell, and did the DC meetings with Nicole Parra.

One of the highlights for me in DC was seeing the Herbert C. Hoover Building – the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Commerce – located across from The Ellipse in front of The White House.

When it was completed in 1932, it was the largest office building in the world. Its length of 1,050 feet exceeds the U.S. Capitol by 300 feet. It contains 3,311 rooms. It took more than 11 million bricks and 16,400 tons of steel to complete.

I was awestruck by this amazing feat of architecture, which covers more than 8 acres and 3 city blocks. One other amazing factoid about this building – its expansion and contraction features are such that on the hottest day in summer, the structure may be three inches longer than on the coldest day in winter.

I also attended a reception at the House of Sweden – a gorgeous Scandinavian building that houses the Embassy of Sweden, the Embassy of Iceland, office space and an Event Center that features conference and exhibition halls.

House of Sweden

Finally, when I’m in DC, I always remember to take a walk to the Washington Monument – which, at 555 feet, was the tallest structure in the world from its completion in 1884 until the Eiffel Tower overtook it in 1889. Today, it remains the world’s tallest obelisk, as well as the world’s tallest predominantly stone structure.

I love Washington DC!

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.

Good morning, friends.
It is September 24, 2022 – My mom’s birthday
The sun shines bright over Kern CCD.

Porterville College

First Home Volleyball Match draws “Sea of Red” for Sweep of Columbia

PC Volleyball had a sea of support this past Wednesday evening for their first home game with spectators since before the pandemic. A large crowd of students and community members packed the stands to share their Pirate Pride as PC hit the court.

The Pirates returned to their home turf after a win on the road against West Hills Coalinga last Friday.  They impressed the large home crowd with an impressive three-set sweep against the Columbia College Claim Jumpers. They are now 2-0 in the Central Valley Conference. Their overall record stands at 5-6.

The Pirates showed solid play taking game one 25-19. and game two 25-13. The Pirates third game had the Pirates and the Claim jumpers trading some vicious hits, and the lead changed several times until PC pulled off the win 25-17.

PC welcomes another award winning author as Writer & Poets Series Returns to Campus  

Award winning author Gary Soto will join us on the PC Campus for a discussion on his work on Monday, October 3rd from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the PC College Forum.

Gary Soto was born and raised in Fresno, California. He is the author of thirteen poetry collections for adults, most notably NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Award and the National Book Award.

Mr. Soto has received the Discovery-The Nation Prize and the California Library Association’s John and Patricia Award [twice], in addition to fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts [also twice], and the Guggenheim Foundation.

For ITVS, he produced the film “The Pool Party,” which received the 1993 Andrew Carnegie Medal. He was selected for his work with young people as the NBC Person of the Week in 1995. In 1999 he was honored with the Human and Civil Rights Award from the American Education Association, the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and the PEN Center West Book Award for his young adult short story collection PETTY CRIMES.

Several of his books have been translated into French, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Join us Monday Oct 3 in the Porterville College Forum for Mr. Soto’s presentation.

Cerro Coso Community College

Veterans Resource Center

Jenny Frank, Jessica Kawelmacher, Addy Windsor, Erin Wingfield, and Eric Hansen in BC’s new Veterans Resource Center

Our veterans’ make sacrifices for our nation, but education does not have to be one of them! 

Jessica Kawelmacher and Addy Windsor from Cerro Coso’s Military and Veterans’ Services Center traveled to Bakersfield College’s Veterans Resource Center on Wednesday, 9/14, for a districtwide collaboration team meeting.

They had the opportunity to tour BC’s campus and new Science and STEM building, along with getting hands-on experience with the new robotics lab.

Bakersfield, Cerro Coso, and Porterville Colleges met as a team to collaborate and develop strategies to help veterans and military-connected students across the district and connect them with resources in all our service areas.

Bishop Union High School’s “Back to School & Club Rush”

On September 14th Sarah Land and Kim Blackwell from Bishop ESCC attended Bishop Union High School’s “Back to School & Club Rush” night.

It was a great opportunity to talk with local high school students and their parents about Cerro Coso’s concurrent and regular enrollment classes.

Outreach events like this help the college to connect with a much larger audience, build trust and awareness, and add credibility to our brand.  It increases awareness and helps us network and engage with the communities we service. 

Current high school students who want to take college courses at Cerro Coso while still in high school do not pay the unit enrollment fee.  The college offers both dual and concurrent enrollment classes that allow them to accumulate credits prior to entering college so they will be able to graduate from college early.

Blackwell Named Director of Cerro Coso Eastern Sierra Center

Kim Blackwell has been selected as the new Director of Cerro Coso Community College’s Eastern Sierra College Center (ESCC) in Bishop and Mammoth Lakes.

“Cerro Coso Community College has been a large part of my adult life,” she said.  “I started as a 1st generation Cerro Coso college student, before transferring home to Minnesota to finish my degree in Social Work. I found employment right after graduation and spent time as an at-risk youth counselor, special education teacher, and social worker before rounding back to Cerro Coso to work as an Educational Advisor.”  July 2022 marked her 15th year in Counseling at the college.

As for ESCC, it serves all the communities from Lone Pine to Coleville, which from end-to-end is a 3-hour drive when the weather is good!

Blackwell replaces 16-year Director Deanna Ing Campbell who moved into a full-time faculty position at the college this fall to pursue her passion for teaching.

Bakersfield College

Tickets on Sale for the 38th Annual Kern Shakespeare Festival

Tickets are now on sale for the 38th Annual Kern Shakespeare Festival, this year presenting Romeo & Juliet and Love’s Labour’s Lost in repertory in the Edward Simonsen Outdoor Theatre!

Get your tickets today – only $10 for BC faculty, staff, and students:

“For our 38th season, we’ve decided to focus on love! And who can’t use a little more love in their lives nowadays? We are excited to be back outdoors under the stars where our students can share their talents and hard work with the Bakersfield community,” said KSF Artistic Director Brian J. Sivesind. “We also look forward to officially bringing cold weather back to Bakersfield, which KSF tends to do every year!”

Love’s Labour’s Lost

Directed by Cody Ganger

October 5, 7, 13, 15

King Ferdinand and his best friends need to grow up! Just as they’ve sworn a three-year vow to focus on their studies and not even look upon a woman, the French Princess and her best friends show up at the king’s court. In classic Shakespearean fashion, the young people all fall in love with each other at first sight… but is it the kind of love that lasts? One of Shakespeare’s lesser known comedies, Love’s Labour’s Lost looks at the excitement and joy of friendship, young love, and what it means to grow up.

Romeo & Juliet

Directed by Brian J. Sivesind

October 6, 8, 12, 14

The streets of Verona run red with the stains of a long and deadly dispute. Amidst the chaos, two star-crossed lovers risk everything to be together. In defiance of their feuding families, Romeo and Juliet chase a future full of peace, passion, and joy. But will love be enough to save them from these violent ends? Featuring some of Shakespeare’s most beloved poetry, this timeless tale of romance, desire, and danger remains as fresh as ever more than 400 years after its debut.

Golf for BC Horticulture Scholarships

The Kern County California Landscape Contractors Association is having a golf tournament fundraiser for  BC Horticulture Scholarships.  Come out and have fun with Ralph Bailey and friends! It’s all for student scholarships and bragging rights.

The event will take place Friday, October 21st, with an 8 am start time.

Enjoy a relaxing Friday morning on the links at Sundale Country Club.  Lunch and prizes provided. Cost is $140/player or $525/foursome, with prizes for longest drive, closest to the hole, and winning team.Register at

Renegade Spotlight on Mathematics Faculty and Students

Joshua Lewis, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Mathematics at BC, has shared some exciting news with me. Under the guidance of Dr. Jonathan Brown, undergraduate mathematics researchers have earned over $20K in awards; eight students across several research groups had work accepted and won awards at a conference, each receiving $900; and roughly 30 BC students have had research accepted for publication. 

A recent BC grad, Annabelle Recinos, will be recognized for her research work on a new measure for machine learning. She will receive this honor as part of a prestigious national fellowship that recognizes new leaders in STEM research. Congratulations to Joshua, Jonathan, and the whole math department, as well as these ambitious students, for their accomplishments. It is inspirational to see our Renegade Family achieving so much and changing the world in the process.

Our Pantry is Poppin’!

The Office of Student Life is excited to share that the Renegade Pantry is poppin’ once again. Since the beginning of the semester, the pantry has seen over 3500 individuals come through our doors. In the last week, we had over 1000 visitors – a pre-pandemic number we are excited to see again.

To continue to best serve students, the pantry will be expanding weekly hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to stay open until 7:00pm.

California Climate and Energy Forum

Hundreds of state and municipal policy leaders joined clean energy advocates at the 13th annual California Climate and Energy Forum this week in San Diego. This year’s event, which was organized by three of California’s Regional Energy Networks and the Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition, was focused on Accelerating Climate Action and Advancing Justice.

Kern was there in full force – Norma Rojas-Mora moderated the panel with Dave Teasdale, Exec Director of the 21st Century Energy Institute; Traco Matthews, CAPK Chief Program Officer; and Christine Viterelli, City of Arvin grant writer.

This year’s Climate and Energy forum featured introductory remarks by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, and the keynote plenary session featured a discussion with leaders from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, and the Strategic Growth Council.

In the News

Create More 4-Year Community College Degrees

I wanted to share my piece that was published in Inside Higher Ed. It looks at the important role that baccalaureate degrees at community colleges can play in addressing income inequality.

“Community colleges enroll large numbers of students of color and students from lower-income families. Having easy access to an affordable, high-quality baccalaureate degree is essential to economic and social mobility, making the American dream less elusive.”

Remember the wisdom of ‘love thy neighbor’

And Nick Strobel does it again with a beautifully written community voices essay in the Bakersfield Californian.

Church was a central part of our lives (and still is). … the love your neighbor as you love yourself commandment in Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-31, and Luke 10:25-28 (one of only two commandments given by Jesus); feeding the 5,000 in Mark 6:30-44, Matthew 14:13-21, Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:1-13; reward for hospitality in Matthew 10:40-42, Luke 14: 7-14, and Hebrews 13:2; “faith without works is dead” of James 2:14-26; etc. … The idea that “it’s not all about me” is part of our upbringing and continued practice in adulthood.

Jack Hernandez Lecture on Sep 29th

Jack Hernandez Phronesis Award and Jack Hernandez Lecture   I invite you to attend the inaugural Jack Hernandez Lecture Dinner on Thursday, September 29th at 5:00pm.  Dr. Nick Strobel, recipient of the district-wide Jack Hernandez Phronesis award will deliver the lecture at the Levan Center, Bakersfield College.  The lecture will be streamed to both Cerro Coso Community College and Porterville College.   Jack’s daughter Laura is traveling to Bakersfield from the east coast to be here for the inaugural lecture.  

Please RSVP to attend the dinner & lecture by contacting  Tarina Perry  Seating is limited so email Tarina right away.   

More information can be found at:

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

A Kern CCD team supported the Kern County Fair “A Night of Oil” Person of the Year Dinner event recognizing Les Clark, Executive Vice President of the Independent Oil Producers Association (IOPA). Kern CCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Sonia Gomez, Sara Sullivan, Tony Cordova, Kern CCD Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Liz Rozell, Norma Rojas, and Steven Watkin all turned out for the event.

Kern CCD and Bakersfield College were well represented at the Women’s and Girls’ Fund Annual Luncheon where Michelle “Mickey” Hay and Rhea Sharma were honored with the Judy McCarthy Women’s Philanthropy Award.  Congratulations to the grantees and award recipients.

From PC President Dr. Claudia Habib,

“What a treat to have award winning author @reynagrande inspiring our students @PCollegePirates Thank you for sharing your life journey and writings about immigration, trauma, family separation, and your @CalCommColleges experience. #WritersPoetsSpearkerSeries #HispanicHeritage

From the Cerro Coso Learning Assistance Center:

Professor Bonner is in the Math Lab at the Ridgecrest campus. If you haven’t started using the Math and Writing Labs to support your studies, check them out! Learn more by learning with others.

From PC Administration of Justice Instructor Jeff Jacobs:

Porterville College’s Law Enforcement Academy Recruits standing tall and proud before class this semester. @PCollegePirates #porterville #portervillecollege #portervillecollegejustice #lawenforcement #policeacademy #tulare #gopcpirates #policetraining

And check out Carlos Medina and Isabelle Pastor from Bakersfield College Industrial Automation on Do The Math Bakersfield!


That’s a wrap for now.
See you next Saturday!

The future is bright at KernCCD.

a joyful and grateful Chancellor


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