Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, May 27th….always a good day to be a Renegade.
A lot happened this week…A lot has happened to people around me. Gains and losses. All interwoven in the fabric of life. It gives us pause and the realization that it is the little moments that make up life.
Let me start by revisiting the 103rd commencement.
I’m happy to still be covering parts of our incredible Commencement Day on May 12th.
Thank you Manny De Los Santos for this great video!
Last week I did not have the potos for the Delano pre-commencement celebration and the Veterans pre-commencement celebration. So I decided to hold off and post it this week. I did receive an email expressing disappointment that I did not have them last week. My apologies. Sit back and enjoy our students in Delano and our student Veterans.
Delano Pre-Commencement Celebration:
Students at the Bakersfield College-Delano Campus are part of a close-knit community — one really gets to know the faces around the center. This couldn’t have been made much clearer than by the remarks that followed.
Trustee Romeo Agbalog
Trustee Romeo Agbalog gave words of encouragement to the graduates in attendance. He talked about his experience as a student at Bakersfield College. Mr. Agbalog specifically talked about the role that our longtime Admissions and Records Technician, Helen Calip, played in enrolling him in his first class at Bakersfield College-Delano. In recounting the experience, Mr. Agbalog, full of heart, looked at Helen sitting in the audience and thanked her for what she did for him. We feel very fortunate to have such a passionate representative on our Board of Trustees. Thank you Trustee Agbalog for taking the time to be present at important events. Our students really appreciate it.
Our keynote speaker for the event was adjunct faculty member, Victor Krumdick. Mr. Krumdick is retiring after 26 years of service to the college. Raquel Lopez and Carolina Madrigal introduced him and shared stories about the amazing work he has done in Delano, in and out of the classroom. Mr. Krumdick is one of the friendliest people around campus. He brings a positive energy to the Delano Campus that not many can match. He shared some wise and poetic words with the students, in hopes that they live life to their fullest potential.
Then came the moment everybody was waiting for. Each student had the opportunity to stand in front of the group and share words of appreciation for their guests, as well as for the staff and faculty. The majority of the students made it a point to thank the faculty members who believed in them and supported them along the way. Each student received a medal to recognize their accomplishment.
BC Delano Pre-Commencement Reception
BC Delano Pre-Commencement Reception
BC Delano Pre-Commencement Reception
BC Delano Pre-Commencement Reception
The ceremony was followed by a reception at which students, staff, faculty, and guests enjoyed light refreshments. The joy and pride that the families had that day was very contagious. After some socializing, many of the students headed to main campus to participate in the 103rd commencement.
“Aim High …. Fly, Fight, Win!” , “Non sibi sed patriae, (Not for self but for country)”, “Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful)”and “This we’ll defend” all typically followed by a Hooray!
These are the official mottoes for the four branches of military, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and the Army. A week ago Friday, six Bakersfield College students gathered for their pre-commencement ceremony and all of these branches were represented with pride and honor. These six students worked hard, diligently at their studies, juggled families, work, and outside responsibilities while still making time to study, write those papers and pass those exams. When Paul Beckworth addressed these BC Veterans, he recognized their service to this country and the service to this school, “Stay up late and write a paper, I’ve served 2 tours in Iraq, piece of cake.”
After Paul and Armando Trujillo spoke to the Veteran students and their honored guests, they then invited the students to come up one at a time and be stolled by a member of their family and then speak of their appreciation for those who helped them on this journey.
The resonating theme throughout everyone’s comments was that of the genuine camaraderie that can be found within the walls of the Veteran’s lounge. When soldiers get together, there is an instant bond that is irrefutable and instantaneous, they all share a trait that will connect them forever, a love and duty to this country… and now, alumni of BC. #WeAreBC
The graduates all thanked their loved ones present for their patience, love and support, first while they were enlisted, then now with them completing their education at Bakersfield College. It is absolutely amazing to know that by 2018 there will be a new Veterans lounge thanks to the passing of Measure J. The new veterans facility will provide these soldiers with a place to meet together, work on their studies, get tutoring help, speak with counselors, and just find solace within the confines of a place where like-minded individuals can meet and empower one another to keep working hard to achieve their academic dreams. I hope all of our alumni Vets will come back to see, share, and visit this upcoming wonderful advancement for the Veteran’s at BC.
From Left: Jeff Patterson, Fernando Bocanegra (standing), David Dullum Jr. (squatting), Robert Lira, Professor Paul Beckworth, Stephanie Short, Armando Trujillo, Bernadette Martinez and Reigine Tovar
For more photos check out
KEDC and the STEMposium
On May 19, 2017 was the ‘STEMposium’ event organized by the Kern Economic Development Corporation (KEDC), and held on the Bakersfield College campus. This event raises awareness of the amazing technology-related fields in and around Kern County. The KEDC works with high schools to foster awareness and excitement for the Stem disciplines so that young students can move on to become leaders in tech-driven fields.
Here is a list of some of the organizations represented:
Chevron, PG&E, Wells Fargo, S Power, California Resources Corporation, Bakersfield College, Taft College, BHE Renewables, Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, Ikea, GTEDC, Ordiz Melby, and Texas Instruments. (Click here for the full gallery of images)
2017 STEMposium at Bakersfield College
Vince Fong at the 2017 STEMposium
2017 STEMposium at Bakersfield College
2017 STEMposium at Bakersfield College
2017 STEMposium at Bakersfield College
I enjoyed Christina Sistrunk’s talk at the Stemposium about women in the Stem area. We are fortunate to have such a great CEO for Aera. I have blogged about Aera being a great patron of education in general and Bakersfield College in particular. Aera gave a large donation to BC to the development of a Stem Success Center.
Check out my Sep 10, 2016 blog about the Aera Stem Success Center
Also enjoyed seeing Michael Kane from Cerro Coso giving a ted-like talk. He was fabulous. Michael is an Aquatic Ecologist who has spent time teaching around the world including Brazil and Costa Rica.
Amber Smithson, the student blogger was out and about covering the Stemposium. Here is a shot of her in action and one with me. Amber, you are amazing!
Sonya Christian, Amber Smithson
Bob Meadows emceed the ted talks event. I wish I had snapped a picture with him. Bob Meadows, you are the best!
On Thursday evening, KEDC hosted a Pre-STEMposium event at Luigi’s. It was a fun event and I enjoyed visiting with Mindy Wilmot and her husband who teaches Project Lead the Way at Bakersfield High School. I ran into Lauren Skidmore and Chancellor Tom Burke attending and snapped this photo.
Lauren Skidmore and Chancellor Tom Burke
Here I am with Director of MESA (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement) Connie Gonzales:
Sonya Christian with Connie Gonzales
The visionary and the one who did the detailed work to pull all this together is Cheryl Scott. Just an amazing person!
I want so start my writing on this year’s Sterling Silver with Josh Ottum. Josh was there with his students and they played Linda Ronstadt’s Blue Bayou.
Josh Ottum and his family
I wish I had jumped up and rushed over and gotten a video for you to enjoy. It was sooooo good. But I was dressed in fancy clothes and high heels and thought I would embarrass BC in front of dignitaries if I made a mad dash to get a video clip. Instead I waited patiently and completely immersed in the music. Later when they were done, I calmly walked over and expressed how I loved the song and how Ronstadt’s Blue Bayou was my favorite. To which Josh responded “yes of course” that they knew it was my favorite because they had read my blog and that is precisely why they played it. Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever.
Sterling Silver is the annual fundraising event for the Bakersfield College Foundation. This year, Tom Gelder and I decided to convert the event from a fundraiser to a thank you to the community for passing Measure J on the November 8th ballot and to recognize individuals who put in a lot of effort to make all of this happen.
The main honorees of the evening were Mayor Harvey Hall who was the chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee and Congressman Bill Thomas who was the senior advisor to the campaign.
Mayor Harvey Hall:
Tom Gelder, Harvey Hall, Sonya Christian
You don’t get to be Bakersfield’s longest serving mayor without doing things well, and Harvey Hall does a lot of things well. Political campaign committees need strong leadership and Harvey provided that throughout the process. From space at Hall Ambulance for committee meetings, running the meetings on a tight schedule, making financial contributions to the campaign, to inspirational speeches when we needed them, Harvey was always there for us. I remember when I went to meet with Mayor Hall to ask him if he would chair the Bond effort. I had documents and a file to talk him through the details and make a compelling case for why he should say yes to chairing the committee. Harvey looked at me and only 10 seconds into my pitch, which I had rehearsed at length, he just said “yes”.
President Sonya Christian, Mayor Harvey Hall
When it comes to Bakersfield and Bakersfield College I know Harvey is there for us. And apparently Harvey had a clone which made it possible to be there for so many of us, often it felt like, at the same time. On behalf of all at Bakersfield College I can say that we could not have asked for a better person to chair this effort and be the face for the Bond Measure. A true friend of Bakersfield College, Mayor Harvey Hall.
Congressman Bill Thomas:
As I’ve gotten to know Bill Thomas, I now realize that his middle initial “M” stands for “Make it Happen”…. Make it happen now…. Actually why did you not make it happen….
You don’t get to be chair of the House Ways and Means Committee without getting to the crux of every problem and forging brilliant solutions on a daily basis. We’d like to think that he gained these skills as a professor at BC but I imagine he was a force of nature from an early age.
Bill Thomas, Sharon Thomas, Peggy Goodwin, Greg Goodwin
In the realm of major capital campaigns, you won’t find many, if any, that raise $503 million in such a short time. Bill Thomas played a major role in making it so. Strategist, advocate, negotiator, mentor, inspiring leader all come to mind. On a personal level, I could not have had a better mentor as I navigated this unknown territory of a bond campaign. I remember the day when the congressman let the finance committee know in no uncertain terms when we failed to file a document in a timely way. But it is that level of focus on detail and moving easily between vision, strategy and operational particulars that makes Bill Thomas the leader that he is. And although he tries to hide it, he has a big teddy bear heart for this community and for Bakersfield College. The combination of brilliant intellect and huge love for his community is what made the entire Measure J team fall in love with the congressman. He was at 1675 Chester Avenue every day, multiple times a day.
BC and the BC Foundation tonight salute Bill Thomas.
Mike was not able to attend Sterling Siver, so here is the picture Tom Gelder snapped when he came to his office to pick up with award.
Here is JP picking up his award.
Did not get the photo of Karen receiving the award yet. Will update the blog when I get it. So tune back in.
When it became clear that we were going to go for the passage of Measure J, we felt the Foundation was in good hands with Karen Thompson as the Chair of the Board of Directors. We were so right. The Foundation stepped up to provide the majority of the monies needed to finance the campaign and Karen stepped up to steer the work of the Measure J Committee. That’s leadership! Her efforts are truly remarkable by the fact that Karen was changing jobs at the time. I don’t think any of us realized how much work would be involved in getting Measure J passed, but Karen did whatever it took to get us through successfully. Thank you, Karen!
Norma Rojas Mora:
Having someone on your committee who has their hand on the pulse of the community is vital to communicating the needs of the college in a way that resonates with voters. Norma Rojas-Mora served that role and many other roles on the Committee as she has on behalf of the BC Foundation’s board. Smart, strategic, trusted and hard-working are just a few of Norma’s attributes which she displayed early and often throughout the planning and implementation process of the Measure J campaign. Friend and advocate for Bakersfield College is another title that fits. Thank you, Norma!
I got this picture from Karen Goh’s Facebook.
Marines are famous for doing whatever it takes to make their mission a success. Michael O’Doherty, past chair of the BC Foundation, demonstrated his Marine Corps roots as the Measure J Campaign Treasurer. There were maybe three people in the room (e.g. Bill Thomas, Harvey Hall, and Karen Goh) who knew how complicated campaign committee reporting is. After the Measure J Campaign, now there is a fourth — Michael! And who volunteers for such a thankless task? When the going gets tough, the tough get going! Thanks, Michael, for another job well done!
What can I say. Jay was there from the very beginning. Since Jan 2016. You co-chaired the community connections group with Norma Rojas during the educational campaign phase. You co-presented to so many organizations. You were our spokesperson to the Board of Trustees as you updated them on the work of the Blue Ribbon Committee. You phone banked, you put up signs, you opened Klein Denatale for us to work. Plz tell Kimmie that she was absolutely instrumental in the work. When we ran out of food, you hopped in the car with Corny and came back laden with goodies. You spent your evenings at 1675 Chester and helped carry trash out and shut down the campaign headquarters for the night. We spent countless hours in Starbucks strategizing. You partnered with Michael O’Doherty to submit the public disclosure forms. On behalf of the present and future students of Bakersfield College; on behalf of the present and future faculty and staff of Bakersfield College, I thank you.
Sue Benham, Sonya Christian. From Karen Goh’s Facebook
Most of us don’t face the risk of waking up in the morning and having the details of your wedding appear in the local paper, but I suspect Sue is used to that. Besides, it was a great picture. She also is used to advocating for things that matter..things that benefit the community. Like the old E.F. Hutton commercial, when Sue Benham talks, people listen. She is eloquent. She is honest. She is direct. And she is beautiful. Sue speaking out on behalf of Measure J made a difference. When Bill Thomas asked you to play a leadership role you unhesitatingly said yes. You opened the doors for us at the Bakersfield Californian and you were consistently there willing to help out. Your email address always warmed my heart when I started typing your name and it popped up – email@example.com
Sue Benham (second from left), played a key leadership role in Measure J.
Mostly it was through Measure J that I got to know you and realize how fortunate our community is to have Sue Benham. There is a recurring theme this evening that cannot be overemphasized. Measure J passed because many people care about Bakersfield College and what its future means to Bakersfield and Kern County. Sue Benham is one of those people. And when Sue Benham spoke about Measure J, people listened.
Thank you, Sue!
Passing a bond initiative is like raising a child…it takes a village. Bakersfield College has benefited from those many members of the “village” that we recognized. The previous honorees are those who played an especially pivotal roles in the workings of the actual Measure J Committee. It’s equally important to recognize those who did whatever was needed to get the word out, to secure the right endorsements, to write the opinion pieces, to make the phone calls, to bolster people’s spirits. Probably my favorite vision is Rick Kreiser coming down to Campaign headquarters on a Sunday afternoon to fix a copy machine because we needed lists run off for phone banking that evening and didn’t have a back-up copier. When there was the need Rick answered the phone … as did so many others that we recognized. Thank You!
Michael Bowers – Senior District Representative for Senator Andy Vidak
Ken Byrum – BC Foundation Board member
Fran Florez – BC Foundation Board member
Rick Kreiser – BC Foundation Board member –
Fred Prince – Bakersfield Black Chamber of Commerce President
Cheryl Scott – BC Foundation Board member and KEDC VP
Jay Tamsi – Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President
Keith Wolaridge – Panama Lane/Buena Vista School Board President
Here I am recognizing Tom Gelder at the Foundation Board of Directors meeting. We make a powerful team. Gelder (Exec Director of BC Foundation) and Christian (President of BC) 🙂
Gelder and Christian
Thank you Trustees for attending:
Bill Thomas, Sharon Thomas
Lily Agbalog, Romeo Agbalog
A few more photos:
Darren Scott and Cheryl Scott
Sharon Baker, Bill Baker
2017 Sterling Silver
See more of the images from “Sterling Silver” here! (https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/2017-Sterling-Silver/)
Here are some more images from Mayor Karen Goh: https://tinyurl.com/yahu6j58
On May 22nd, after the May 17th event, this is what Herb Benham had to say about Congressman Bill Thomas and secondarily about BC.
`We should do half as much in our lifetimes: Saw Bill Thomas at a dinner at Bakersfield College last week honoring people who helped raise half a billion through the Measure J campaign.”
“Every time I see the man, he’s thinner, Sharon, his wife was there and she is a sweetheart, and I am reminded how much good Bill has done he’s done for Kern County. Almost a billion for the Thomas Road Improvement Program and then helping with the bond measure that will help modernize BC over the next 30 years.”
2017 Sterling Silver
The dinner also made me feel good about BC all over again. Talk a force for good.
Here is the link to the piece in the paper: https://tinyurl.com/kr4t7w8
Manny de Los Santos put together this video with some of the Measure J faces. We had the video playing during dinner at Sterling Silver.
Valley Public Radio
On May 16th, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Joe Moore on Valley Public Radio. Together, we packed a lot of conversation into such a short time. We kicked off with The Kern Promise, covered Guided Pathways, and even Measure J. Valley Edition is dedicated to covering issues important to Central Valley residents, so I was very excited to cover things we’re working on in education and at BC!
Joe Moore is the Director of the Program Content for Valley Public Radio and he’s the host of Valley Edition. Joe’s bio on the website says in 2008 that he was named one of Fresno’s “40 under 40” by the publication Business Street.
Thank you Joe Moore and Ezra Romero
I really enjoyed my time talking with Joe.
Follow Valley Edition on Twitter @ValleyEdition.
Congratulations Lindsay Ono
I am so glad to announce that Environmental Horticulture Professor, Lindsay Ono has been awarded a grant through the ECMC Foundation and the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD). He has been working with other community colleges and CORD with the Mapping Upward Initiative on the state stackable Horticulture Certificates. This 3-year grant will allow Professor Ono and other college professors to continue their work and complete the curriculum updates for the Horticulture program. Shasta College and Reedley College are also receiving this grant. Congratulations Lindsay!!
Remembering Earl Wallace Cory, Jr.
Earl Wallace Cory, Jr was known on campus as Wally Cory. Jerry Ludeke reminded me that in print, his name was shown as E. Wallace and in person it was Wally. He was a retired History Professor with 34 years of service and who passed away on May 18th. Wally had been in Payson, Utah Veteran’s Home for the past three and a half years and in the hospice program there since last fall.
Earl Wallace Cory, Jr.
Earl Wallace Cory, Jr
Leadership Matters Summit at BC
It’s a great week to be a Renegade and a great time to be at BC. This past week Bakersfield College had the privilege of hosting the Leadership Matters: Re-Imagining Leadership to Sustain Transformative Change to Advance Student Success & Equity conference for various community college’s throughout California. We were so pleased to hear from the California Community College Chancellor, Eloy Oakley who discussed, “Advancing Educational Attainment & Equity in California. Leadership Matters.” It was a day of great knowledge and it set the stage for us to build urgency in the way we look and approach at the “Guided Pathways” initiative. I look forward to sharing with you all more about this day of encouragement, change, unity, and leadership within California’s 113 community colleges in next week’s blog. But for now enjoy this picture that I snapped the night before the big event.
Shawn Whalen, Sonya Christian, Eloy Oakley
CA Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Oakley speaking to a full house at the indoor theatre
Jonathan Schultz, faculty at BC, has been doing brief videos of BC staff for his students and all students at the college. Check out his interview with Dr. Oliver Rosales, History faculty.
Archiving the Past & Future of California’s Central Valley: Humanities Collaboration in the San Joaquin Valley
Oliver Rosales speaking
On May 23 the Levan Center for the Humanities hosted a one-day symposium event for about 30 area educators, writers, and artists. Faculty from both Bakersfield College, CSU Bakersfield, and the Kern High School District were also in attendance. Entitled “Archiving the Past and Future of California’s Central Valley: Humanities Collaboration in the Southern San Joaquin Valley,” the event was a culminating part of a California Humanities “Community Stories” grant in hold with Bakersfield College. The program included two panels and a keynote address. The morning panel focused on local archives and cultural preservation efforts at CSU Bakersfield, Bakersfield High School, and the Kern County Museum. The afternoon panel featured recent state and federal recipients of grants focused on the cultural diversity of the San Joaquin Valley.
Kristine Diekman, Professor of Media at CSU San Marcos, delivered a keynote address. Her talk, based on her project “Run Dry,” focused on Tulare’s recent water crisis and how ordinary residents in rural Tulare County experienced lack of access to clean water. Here’s a quote about her project from the Los Angeles Times: “The project is designed to record the stories of people living in California’s Central Valley without water or clean water, and contextualize these stories within the themes of human migration, equity and poverty, and California water policy.”
Lori Wear Presenting at the event
The event was recorded by Bakersfield College’s media services and will be transcribed and made available through Bakersfield College’s Social Justice Institute website. College faculty and area educators, as well as potential grant writers, will be interested in reviewing the panel discussions and keynote addresses to discover more about funded projects focusing on the San Joaquin Valley.
A few fun photos from this week:
From twitter Jose Cortez leading Region 5 in California for Student Government Associations. Congratulations Jose! #WeAreBC!
Our Chief of Public Safety at an event with Grace Commiso’s baby
Risky moves right after…..here is Bill Moseley
Two of my favorites people. I remember them when they were little girls.
Erin Tarjan and Kristin Tarjan
Check out our faculty Prof. Jason Stratton, Prof. Bernadette Towns, and Prof. Lily Pimental-Stratton on the Great Wall of China. #WeAreBC
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
the luckiest and happiest college president ever