Tag Archives: Frank Gifford

A Holiday Blog

Eisha and Mom Dec 25 2015

Eisha Christian, Pam Christian

Woke up to a quiet house this morning–December 27, 2015.  My daughter and her husband left yesterday after spending two nights and two and a half days with me.  I packed up some of my daughter’s favorite food items which we cooked ahead of time — coffee cake with butter icing topped with chopped caramelized pecans, roast beef, and beef stew with potatoes.  It felt like old times when she would visit from college and then head back with lots and lots of home cooked food.  As a friend texted me Christmas eve, it’s a wonderful life!

We did the usual fireplace talks, great food, monopoly, and movies.  This year of course it was Star Wars — The Force Awakens.  The movie, at the new IMAX in Bakersfield, was just awesome, and Manohla Dargis describes it best in her Dec 16, 2015 review in the New York Times at


Strobels at Star Wars

Strobel extended family.  Picture from Facebook

J.J. Abrahms, the director of episode VII, was described in a recent article I read as a cross between George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.  The Sunday Californian now has a USA Today insert that names J.J.Abrahms one of the “People of the Year” for Star Wars.

Renegades, the Force has always been with Bakersfield College, but even so I feel the stirrings of a new awakening.  Watch out 2016!
Or as Yoda once taught us, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

Judge David Lampe

Sonya Christian and David Lampe

Leading up to Christmas there were so many events it was tiring and wonderful all at once.  One of the highlights was meeting Judge David Lampe at the Open House at Cathy Abernathy’s home.  He is an alum of BC and spoke fondly of his time at the college particularly the quality of the faculty.  He said his two favorite faculty were Sam McCall at BC and Charles McCall at CSUB.  They had very difference approaches to teaching Political Science he said — Sam McCall being more of a traditionalist focusing on the purpose and organization of the state from an ethical and philosophical perspective, while Charles McCall was more of a behaviorist focusing on the political behaviors and informal relationships that influence decisions.  At all of the events that I attended, I was reminded over and over again how much our community loves Bakersfield College.  And this includes political leaders like Jean Fuller, Shannon Grove, Kevin McCarthy, Andy Vidak, Rudy Salas, Leticia Perez, Zack Scrivner…….. and of course, the fabulous Harvey Hall.


Bryan Burrows Dec 19 2015

Bryan Burrow and Sonya Christian

Another highlight was the BC Choir performing with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra (BSO) at their Home for the Holidays event featuring all our favorite Christmas music at the Harvey Auditorium.  Bryan Burrow, CEO of the BSO is just a great partner.  Bryan deeply believes in the value of the having a fine symphony in the community and puts in a lot of effort in planning and taking care of details.  I did not get around to purchasing tickets for the event from the website until I showed up at the Harvey Auditorium at around 2:00 p.m. on Saturday hoping that the ticket office would be open.  It was not.  Instead I found Jen Garrett and conductor Stilian Kirov with the choir and symphony rehearsing for the evening performance.   I also found Bryan in his sweatshirt and jeans doing a lot of the detailed grunt work to make sure that the evening was very special for all those who were attending.  He is my kind of a guy.  Here he is all cleaned up for the event in the evening after putting in long hours ahead of time.  Thank you Bryan! 

The photo collage below was taken from Mary Jo Pasek’s Facebook page.

Bryan brought the symphony to the college for the Noteworthy Event marking the reopening of the outdoor theater, part of the Simonsen Performing Arts Center (SPArC). I missed the opportunity to blog about this great event, but here is a post on the ribbon cutting of SPArC



Josh Rothstein with Frank Gifford Bobblehead

Josh Rothstein with the Frank Gifford Bobblehead

A third highlight was getting a photo from Josh Rothstein with a Frank Gifford bobblehead.  I received an email on December 6th from Josh’s dad Eric.  Here is a copy and paste.

Dear President Christian:

I write on behalf of my son Joshua who collects bobbleheads. I was wondering if the college has any extra of the Frank Gifford bobblehead that it just sponsored and if so whether you can send one to Josh? I know he would greatly appreciate it as he is a big New York Giants fan as it is our hometown team. If you can, Josh’s address is: ****

Thank you and happy holidays.

Eric Rothstein

Of course, we did not have any extra bobbleheads but Francis Mayer who always does the impossible, located the bobblehead which Jennfier Marden mailed to Josh.  On December 23rd, right before Christmas, Josh received the bobblehead and sent the picture to Jennifer.

A fourth highlight was the full moon on Christmas — a rare phenomenon.  I headed out early Christmas morning and took this series of pictures on my iphone.  The first with the moon relatively high in the sky, followed by others as the sky got brighter and the moon lower on the horizon.

For more on the Christmas Full Moon check out


A final highlight: BC has remarkable students. A majority of them are first-generation college-going among other challenges. The college has expanded its student employment and engagement opportunities on campus. One such program is the “Promising Professionals” that provides employment for students in leadership roles. On Dec. 23rd as we were wrapping up activities to start the holiday campus closure, we took this picture in the welcome lobby:

Promising Professionals Dec 23 2015

Sonya Christian on Dec 23, 2015 with BC Students –The Promising Professionals



Thank You, Frank Gifford. A star Renegade and a Driller


Photos courtesy Rick Van Horne, Haley Street Heroes

The world lost a legend Sunday when NFL Hall of Famer Frank Gifford passed away at the age of 84.

But Bakersfield lost a pioneer.

Before Buck Owens and Merle Haggard used their golden voices to add color to our city, and long before racers Rick, Roger and Casey Mears made sure Bakersfield was a fixture on the national sporting map, there was Frank Gifford.

Gifford came to Bakersfield in the 1940s when his father came to work in the oil fields. But for the younger Gifford, paydirt was struck on the athletic fields, where his talents made him a star quarterback at Bakersfield High School.

Despite his success, Gifford found himself at a turning point familiar to many young graduates: he didn’t have the grades to accept an athletic scholarship, in his case, to the University of Southern California. Rather than give up, Gifford pushed forward, enrolling at Bakersfield College instead, where he made to make his mark as a Renegade both on the playing field and in the classroom.


Photos courtesy Rick Van Horne, Haley Street Heroes

In earning his way to USC the following year, Gifford built a road map for success that ultimately inspired thousands upon thousands of future students to follow.

His football accomplishments with the New York Giants are legion: 6-time Pro Bowler, NFL MVP, league champion and finally, NFL Hall of Fame inductee in 1977. What’s more remarkable is that his second career as a pioneering broadcaster, most notably on ABC’s “Monday Night Football,” may even have eclipsed his days on the gridiron.

Bob Price

Bob Price Source: Bakersfield.com

For more on Gifford’s remarkable life, please check out Bob Price’s terrific column here.

Frank Gifford will be deeply missed. But on top of all his public triumphs and accolades, we at BC will be forever in his debt for showing our young people exactly how to follow their dreams.  Gifford hit his obstacles head-on and climbed over them rather than turn away at the first sign of difficulty.

Thank you, Mr. Gifford. And thank you Francis Mayer and Jason Kobely for pulling this together.