Tag Archives: Paul Beckworth

Remembering Those We Lost This Memorial Day

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, August 10, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Memorial Day started in 1868 as Decoration Day, a remembrance of those who died during the Civil War. Over the years, cities and states designated it as a legal holiday, and in 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as a national holiday to take place on the last Monday of May every year.

Every Memorial Day, a special ceremony is held at Arlington National Cemetery, where the President or Vice President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Locally, Bakersfield’s oldest traditional Memorial Day celebration takes place at Union Cemetery, this year featuring speeches by Kevin McCarthy and local veteran Bill Glaspie, who fought the Nazis on the beaches of Normandy 75 years ago on D-Day. The Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary held their sixth-annual Thousand Flags event, and Tehachapi celebrated with a parade and ceremony through downtown. KERO provided a list of local Memorial Day events on their website.

Congressman Kevin McCarthy with Paul Beckworth and guests at the Union Cemetery on Memorial Day.

At BC, we are proud of our veteran students and have a particular duty to support them through their education. We’re reaffirming that commitment to our local veterans with the construction of the new Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, the first Measure J project, slated for completion this fall.

Rendering of the soon to be finished Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center.

We remember the sacrifices made and lives lost defending the freedom and sovereignty of the United States. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.

I’d like to share this quote from James A. Garfield at that first Memorial Day commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery in 1868.

“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and virtue.”

Emails Worth Sharing

I’d also like to share this email that our Director of Veterans Services Paul Beckworth sent on Monday.  Our duty to support veterans goes much deeper than academic support, as Paul’s words of encouragement for our veterans make clear.  Thank you for all that you do Paul, and thank you to those who have served our country.

“Hello Region V Veteran Services colleagues,


Today, May 27, 2019, is Memorial Day.


The vast majority celebrate it as the unofficial start of summer.  Many Americans honor the day and the dead, in a variety of heartfelt ways.  However, there is a much smaller group whose acknowledgement of the day goes deeper than most.  It is personal, it is emotional, and it is visceral. While today we remember the fallen, we must keep in the mind the ones who were left behind; their families and fellow warriors.  There are people I know who wish to be left alone today and others who do not want to left alone for fear of what their emotions might lead them to. Sometimes, people remember with laughter and tears, while others do so with the bottle and with tears.  


For those who lost comrades, or family or best friends, please do not go to those dark places inside you.  If you do go there do not stay there. We need you, here, with us. We know the 22 a day suicide rate among veterans.  It is terrible. Do not be a part of the 22. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Depression is serious. It is a weight the likes of which cannot be described, only experienced.  If your arm is hurt, you go the doctor. If your head/heart hurts, go to a doctor. There is no shame in it. It is often said that the soldier is not the only one who goes to war.  The family does, too, in its’ own way.


Those of you who work closely with veterans may not have lost a loved one, but assisting veterans for years can take a toll, especially for counselors and advisors.  Who counsels the counselors? Seriously. There are several of you who have worked with veterans for many years now. Make sure to take care of yourselves. Go to veteran-specific conferences, sit in the hotel lobbies and have venting sessions with your colleagues from across the state.  Let iron sharpen iron. Get help just like we tells our veterans to do. I am pretty sure most of you have walked a veteran to your on-campus mental health professional at least once. If you need to take a walk to one yourself, please take it. We need you, here. Your military-affiliated students need you, here.  


While today can be very emotional, one of the best ways we can honor the fallen is to take care of our minds, bodies, and spirits.  In this way we can continue the work ahead of us, making them proud.”

Paul Beckworth, May 27, 2019 Memorial Day

BC Friends in Sacramento

Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE)  hosted its 2019 Latina Action Day in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 22. Our own Nicole Parra facilitated a panel discussion, and I was thrilled to see BC students impromptu participation.  Evelyn Torres, a Studio Arts, Graphic Design & Communications major volunteered to be the voice of millennials on the panel.  

Nicole Parra and panelists at the 25th Annual Latina Action Day.

The panel on California’s Present and Future Workforce examined the challenges and opportunities the state is facing as we look to filling workforce needs.  The conversation regarding career education included an informative discussion of the value of apprenticeship programs, and the role community colleges in meeting workforce needs. Evelyn shared a student perspective on the importance of providing opportunities for all students, including those who need short term training leading to employment.

Evelyn Torres alongside panelists discussing education and workforce needs.

Thank you Norma Rojas Mora for your work in Sacramento.

Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff Appreciation Celebration

Last week, the Rural Initiatives classified and support staff were recognized by the management team in a surprise celebration of Classified Appreciation week. This celebration brought together members of the RI team that serve a region that extends from Arvin to Delano. I’m grateful for the focused dedication and passion for serving our rural students. Thank you Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff for everything you do for our Bakersfield College Rural Renegades. Also thanks to our RI Management team, especially Jaime Lopez for coordinating such a special celebration.

Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff at the celebration
Carolina Madrigal and Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff at the celebration.
Public Safety Officers Matthew Rodriguez and Linda Morgan
Kim Collins, Academic Liaison (left) and Monica Huyck, Tutoring Services Team Leader
Group photo of the Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff
North Kern Adult Education team (From left to right) Jaime Lopez, Jesus Jimenez, Kim Collins, and Thalia Solorio
Manuel Muralles and Carolina Madrigal

Administrative Council Retreat: Day 1

This last Thursday we had the first day of our annual summer retreat with our college-wide administrative council. BC Food Services provided a fantastic breakfast spread and a delicious salad bar later in the day for the lunch. I opened the session with an overview of our college strategic plan and highlighting the fact that we now have 37,000 students! Our administrative council fanned out across campus in teams as they completed in a scavenger hunt.

Attendees preparing for Day 1 of the Administrative Council Retreat.

Members of our college Program Review Committee briefed the council on best practices for conducting their program reviews for this coming year and Manny Mourtzanos provided a training on aligning work plans to direct us as embark on a new year. It was a great retreat and great work that we will regroup on to finish up on a second day in early June.  

Attendees preparing for Day 1 of the Administrative Council Retreat.
Attendees preparing for Day 1 of the Administrative Council Retreat.

Umoja’s End of the Year Celebration

This week, Umoja held its end of the year celebration to acknowledge its graduates and mentors. Students joined together to celebrate their academic success and celebrate their mentors who dedicated time and energy to support their scholarly journey at BC. Thank you to Dr. Paula Parks for sending over these photos, and for your dedication to our students.  If you’d like to learn more about Umoja, make sure to check out their website!

BC Umoja students and graduates
Austyn William, graduate and Umoja’s first SI leader
Graduate Jade Slack with Dr. Parks, Mr. Ward, and Mr. Rosas, Umoja’s first counselor.
Graduate Kim Evans with Dr. Park and Jonathan Ward.
TiYante Patterson, who is transferring to Morgan State in the fall.
Emcee Korrie Edwards, who is also the outgoing Umoja Club president.
Dr. Park and Mr. Ward preparing a ritual for the Umoja community.
Some of the 2018-2019 graduates with Joe Coughlin, who acknowledged the graduates with Coconut Joe’s gift card and cash. Thanks for your continued support, Joe!
Some of the Umoja students who graduated from BC. The tee-shirts show that as they become BC alum, they are always part of Umoja.
Some of the awesome, dedicated Umoja mentors
The audience sang the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing”

Conexiones Rurales Dreamers Conference

The Conexiones Rurales Dreamers Conference on Friday, May 17th at the Delano Campus allowed our Rural Renegades to learn about several topics including programs and services offered by our college and other local institutions. This opportunity was funded by the Catalyst grant received by Bakersfield College. Thank you to our Conexiones Estudiantiles/LUPE student organization, their advisors and the Rural Initiatives team, especially Jesus Oropeza, Jessica Garcia, and Jaime Lopez for bringing these fantastic opportunities to our rural communities.

Conexiones Estudiantiles LUPE student panel sharing their stories with Conexiones Rurales students.
Rural Initiatives Executive Director Abel Guzman speaking to students.
From left, Octavio Barajas, Marivel Servin, Manuel Rosas
Conexiones Estudiantiles LUPE students and their advisors.
Conexiones Rurales and Conexiones Estudiantiles students with BC Faculty and Staff

BC Cheerleaders at the New Kids On the Block Remix Tape Concert

Wow!  Does BC know how to pump up the crowd, or what?!  Also, what an amazing throwback to have the New Kids On the Block perform here in Bakersfield!  They definitely have “the right stuff.”

The Bakersfield College Cheerleaders on stage with New Kids on the Block!

I want to thank Cheer Coach Heather Foss for making possible this phenomenal experience for our students. It’s hard to describe the energy of the packed Rabobank and and the pride I felt in seeing our students on stage.

Thank you Manny de Los Santos for capturing this video. You are the very best!!!!!!

Cooking a Healthy Meal with Chef Alex Gomez

This week our Executive office team demonstrated their culinary skills at our Wellness & Professional Development Session:  Cooking a Healthy Meal with Chef Alex Gomez.  The team learned cooking and cutting techniques, and were given recipes to prepare — then eat! We enjoyed Cauliflower Tacos, Cilantro Rice, and Grilled Zucchini.

The Exec team preparing delicious and healthy meals.
Sharon Bush, President Christian, Billie Jo Rice and Mike Giacomini
Chef Alex Gomez and Jennifer Serratt
Sharon Bush, President Christian, Billie Jo Rice diligently following the recipe.
Sonya Christian, Billie Jo Rice and Mike Giacomini preparing their healthy dishes.

The Executive Office has a standing Wellness Initiative that began a couple years ago, as well as a new Training/Professional Development Initiative that began last year. Chris Glaser and Tarina Perry worked with Chef Alex for help in meeting goals for both initiatives and did he ever deliver! The training was clear and engaging, the menu healthy, and the food delicious. We worked in teams to prepare the meal, and then enjoyed our meal together as we discussed our takeaways from the day.  Thank you to Chef Alex and Chef Suzanne Tangeman for working with our team on this, and thank you to Chris and Tarina for organizing the activities!

Chefs Suzanne Tangeman and Alex Gomez
With Billie Jo Rice and Liz Rozell
Chef Gomez teaching Liz and me secrets of the trade.
Chef Suzanne Tangeman, Chef Alex Gomez, Billie Jo Rice & Christian Flores-Castaneda

Progress on Memorial Stadium

The renovation of the Memorial Stadium track and football field is moving along nicely. The work will be completed in time for this fall’s football season. We are all excited to see the finished product! Also, thank you to Brandon Urry for capturing these photos.

Drone footage of Memorial Stadium construction
Drone footage of Memorial Stadium construction
Drone footage of Memorial Stadium construction
Drone footage of Memorial Stadium construction

Photos that make me happy

Monika Scott and Nicky Damania at Aladdin

Family weekend at Lake Arrowhead

Memorial Day weekend with family at a cabin in Lake Arrowhead.

Lake Arrowhead, May 26, 2019
President Christian and her dog Neo


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC Loves Our Vets!

Good morning Bakersfield. 
It is Saturday, November 10, 2018…..A great day to be a Renegade

Official group picture

It has been 6 weeks since I went to my Saturday exercise class.  So I really enjoyed being back at Body Pump and fell in love with this song that the instructor used for the lunge session.

Now back to BC….. Paul Beckworth texted me this morning that it was a “fantastic week” at BC.  All week long we have been celebrating our student veterans at BC with many events.

Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veteran Resource Center

Monday morning began with the 2018 Veterans Community Leader Breakfast, celebrating those who diligently support our returning veterans and men and women in service. Local leaders ate a delicious breakfast at the Renegade Room prepared by our amazing culinary team.  With an over 60% increase in student veterans at BC on campus, it is the leadership and engagement from these dedicated individuals who help us intentionally and meaningfully support our students and veterans to reach their goals. Thank you to everyone who came out including Mayor Goh, Chancellor Tom Burke, Assemblyman Vince Fong, Dick Taylor, Cole Karr (Representative for Kevin McCarthy), Perry Finzel (Representative for David Valadao), Josh Dhanens, and Scott Spielman.  

Karen Goh, Lauren Skidmore, Perry Finzel, Cole Carr, Lilly Agbalog.jpg

A special thanks to Christian Flores-Castaneda, Alex Gomez, Suzanne Tangeman for all of your hard work on the breakfast!

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After the breakfast, attendees joined others from the community to break ground on the Bakersfield College Veterans Resource Center, the first capital project to be funded by Measure J.  Speakers celebrated Vernon Valenzuela and his importance to our community, and spoke about how it is fitting that the first building to be constructed using the Measure J funds is that in dedication to our veterans.  Thank you to our MANY attendees, including Trustee Kay Meek, Trustee Bill Thomas, Trustee Romeo Agbalog for coming to celebrate this momentous occasion! You can view the entire photo album on Facebook. 

I grabbed some of these photos from Mayor Goh’s Facebook posts.

Karen Goh, Sonya Christian.  Picture 2: Norma Rojas Mora, Romeo Agbalog

Karen Goh, Dyann Serrato, Sonya Christian.  Picture 2: Tom Burke, Jeff Flores

Group at the Ground Breaking ceremony.  Picture 2: The fabulous Jennifer Serrat with me

 

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2018 Vetfest

Patriotism was on full display this past Wednesday, November 7, as Bakersfield College celebrated Vetfest.  The festival, which honored and showed appreciation to all active and former members of the military, was well-attended by students, community members, and veterans.

The morning began with the BC Drumline giving a wonderful performance to kick off the festivities.  They were followed by the presentation of colors and National Anthem. The MC for the event, Veterans Club President Miguel Valle, did an excellent job welcoming the attendees and introducing the speakers.  We had the distinct honor of hearing from the keynote speaker, Lt. Col. (retired) Dr. Tommy Tunson, Director of Public Safety Training Programs, who delivered a truly inspiring speech.

Providing entertainment for the festival were the Brothers of Latin Rock.  Music echoed throughout the campus as this talented band played many classic rock songs, adding their own Latin feel, including “Black Magic Woman” by Santana, which was requested by a veteran in attendance.  BC student Brooke Perez also got on stage and showcased her amazing voice by singing a handful of songs. Way to go, Brooke!

It is events like this that remind us how important it is to never forget the sacrifices our veterans have made.  I am humbled at how this campus has come together to take care of those who have given so much in the name of freedom.
Very special thanks goes out to the following individuals for contributing to the success of Vetfest:

  • Armando Trujillo – Veteran Educational Advisor
  • Bernadette Martinez – Office Supervisor, Counseling Dept.
  • Adeana Williams – Department Assistant, Veterans Resource Center
  • Miguel Valle – Student Veteran Club President
  • Lee Caldwell – BC Student Veteran
  • Lt. Col (ret.) Dr. Tommy Tunson — Director of Public Safety Training Programs
  • BC Veteran Club advisors and members
  • Office of Student Success & Equity
  • BC Food Services
  • BC Facilities, Maintenance & Operations

Last but most definitely not least, a HUGE thank you to Lisa Kent and Paul Beckworth for organizing this week!  Thank you to everyone for helping honor our veterans as we celebrate Vet Week. We are BC!

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President Sonya Christian, VPs Zav Dadabhoy and Mike Giacomini, with keynote speaker Lt. Col. Dr. Tommy Tunson.

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American pride at BC

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BC Drum Line

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President Sonya Christian speaker to the crowd.

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Keynote speaker Lt. Col. Dr. Tommy Tunson on stage.

You can view photos of the entire week’s worth of events on Facebook.

Vet Club

BC’s Vet Club

Football game honoring our Veterans

Last weekend’s football game was a treat. There was a beautiful color in the sky which looked fierce like fire as I made my way towards Memorial Stadium.

Sky at the BC football game

It started with the National Anthem sung by a student veteran who is also a Music Major. His name is Josh Forquera. He works so hard and it shows. Let’s listen to his talent….

Josh singing the National Anthem.

Josh Forquera singing the National Anthem.

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Skydiver from Skydive San Joaquin bringing in the American and State flags.

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Skydiver from Skydive San Joaquin bringing in the game ball.

Thank you to SGA for being so supportive of our football game honoring our Veterans, and for providing the amazing skydivers to kick off the night.

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Jeremy Staat tossing the coin at the football game.

BC’s very own Jeremy Staat performed the coin toss at the game, alongside Chevron’s Gavin Kimmel.  Jeremy played football as a Renegade, then went on to play at ASU as a teammate of Pat Tillman.  Jeremy’s football career then took him to the NFL, after which he served in the Marines. He’s now a welding instructor at BC.

We also had a swearing in ceremony for army recruits at halftime.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these recruits!

Moorepark at BC Football29

Swearing in ceremony for army recruits at halftime.

That night, the names of all BC staff/faculty veterans were read aloud.  I would like to honor them now by listing them by name once again:

United States Marines
• Jeremy Staat, 2005-2009, Corporal (E-4). — Welding
• Armando Trujillo, Marine Corps –Veterans Educational Advisor
• Felix Ramirez from 1980-1985. 1985-2002 Army National Guard (E-7) —Public Safety Officer (ret). (Retired from BC)
• Juan Torres, United State Marine Corps from 1988-1994—Site Operations (Delano)
• Jason Mattheus, 1997-2003, Public Safety
• Luke Thomas, Public Safety

United States Navy
• Lieutenant Manuel Fernandez, 11 years—Electronics
• Jahnea Palfrey, 1999-2003, Law Enforcement—Department Assistant
• Di Hoffman, 1992-2001 – Nursing
• Eddie Rangel, 1998-2001 –Information Technology
• Diana Alcala, 2002-2008—Human Resources Assistant
• Paul Beckworth, 1989-1993, National Guard 1997-2003— Faculty Director of Veteran Services
• Richard McCrow, 30 years –Dean of Instruction
• Tony Cordova- Program Manager CTE
• David Whalen, 5 year, Physics and Astronomy Professor

United States Army
• Pat Smith, 5 yrs —Criminal Justice Professor
• Joe Escalante, served 4 years, Sociology Professor
• Patrick Fulks, 1969-1971,(E-5) Biology Professor
• F. Javier Llamas, 1995-2003, History Professor
• Chef Patrick Coyle, 1972-1977, Culinary Professor
• Charlie Fivecoat, 1971-1974, Criminal Justice Professor
• Tommy Tunson, 1974-2007, Director of Public Safety Training Program
• Richard Castallon, 2013-present, Public Safety

United States Air Force
• Bernadette Martinez, 1993-1997 (E-4)—Office Supervisor
• Malissa Buggs, 21 years, Nursing Professor
• Christine Dunn 1995-1998 (Captain) Nursing
• Myron Patton, 1973-1977, Air Force, Adjunct Agriculture

Coast Guard
• Thomas T. Rush, 4 years, BS Program Associate Professor-Electronics
• Glen Gustafson, 6 years, Art Professor

Thank you for all that you do, for serving our country and protecting our freedom.  I am so proud that you all are a part of the Bakersfield College team!

During the game, it was great to see Kimberly Bligh, Zav Dadabhoy, and Carlos Barabaran in the stands among all our regular dedicated Renegade fans.

Sonya Christian and Kimberly BlighSonya Christian, Zav Dadabhoy, & Carlos Barbaran

Chris Hine shared a photo with me after the game of Valerie hanging out with Pepper, the softbank robot programmed by BC’s Industrial Automation seniors to be a Renegade football fan!

Valerie & Pepper the Robot

Chris Hines’ grandaughter Valerie

Chevron supports current and future Renegades

Partnerships with local industry are so important to our students and Chevron is a true partner in the transformative power of higher education.  In 2013 when I started as President of Bakersfield College, we received a $125,000 gift from Chevron for various programs and initiatives. With that gift, the college was able to modernize engineering labs equipment from the petroleum and engineering fields.

An ongoing project between Bakersfield College and Chevron, called Project Lead the Way, grows each and every summer offering more enriching STEM camp opportunities for local high school and middle school students. These day-long summer camps truly inspire students to consider career fields in engineering, robotics, architecture, and more. Check out the article from KGET which highlights these camps from last summer with a video.

BC’s Yadira Guerrero, the Program Manager of Engineering at Bakersfield College has spoke about her passion for bringing hands-on STEM education to young people during these camps made possible by Chevron. “We’re hoping to inspire students and ignite a love for hands-on learning that maybe they don’t get the chance to do a lot of in school,” she said. “We’re hoping the academy will inspire them to want to go to college.”

In 2016, the Bakersfield College Foundation honored Chevron as Outstanding Corporate Donor for all they invest in our community. Everything Chevron does is focused on preparing students to succeed in school and in life. As a testament to their generosity, they are a core reason for the increase in our engineering majors from 163 in 2008 to 2512 STEM majors in Fall 2018.

In addition to the STEM camps before students get to BC, the support of BC’s MESA program is life changing. I previously blogged about MESA Week Zero here and news about recent MESA students is regular feature in my blog! It’s amazing to see these young men and women grow and succeed in their studies and budding passion for engineering and STEM careers.  

Chevron leader and advocate Adam Alvidrez was also on campus for the signing of the Kern Promise in April 2017. The Kern promise supports a vision of focused partnerships between education and industry partners to increase efficiency and ensure that our graduates can find meaningful employment upon completion. You can read more about the signing event in my blog, “Strengthening Kern County One Degree at a Time.”

Chevron’s support goes beyond academics and the classroom, extending to athletics and support for our veterans. Last weekend, Chevron’s Gavin Kimmel was on the field alongside BC faculty and Veteran Jeremy Staat for the coin toss. Chevron invited employees to support veterans and attend the Renegade football at the game against Moorepark for a family night out supporting the ‘Gades.

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Chevron’s Gavin Kimmel alongside BC’s Jeremy Staat tossing the game coin.

Thank you Chevron, for investing in education, supporting our students, and inspiring the future workforce to learn skills that provide living wages and meaningful employment.

Wounded Heroes Fund: Salute to Our Local Heroes

For the 10th year, the local Wounded Heroes Fund sponsored a very successful BBQ steak lunch at the Kern County Fairgrounds–free for all veterans!  Just inside the grounds was a range exhibitors that provide services for veterans, employers of veterans, and veteran supporters, such as Kevin McCarthy. Of course, Armando Trujillo, BC Veteran’s Adviser, was stationed at the BC booth, and addressed the gathering regarding his military service and transition home.

Inside the pavilion, large rows of camo-covered tables and US flags filled the room providing plenty of space for veterans, families, and friends. Attendees listened to speeches from our local veteran leaders, and rocked to music from outstanding veteran-lead bands. A fantastic steak lunch added to the festivities!  BC Director of Veterans programs, Paul Beckworth and his wife Sandra were there with family, and joined by Terri Goldstein, Director of BC Disabled Students Programs & Services.

The official website states that The Wounded Heroes Fund is a local service organization for veterans and families affected by the war on terror in an effort to provide the support and appreciation they need for a healthy return to civilian life. Thank you to Mayor Karen Goh who always notices BC in the community and is never shy to forward me the photos, BC’s Veteran Services, Terri Goldstein, Director of BC’s DSPS, and BC’s Nursing students who always jump in with involvement in the community. See the post by Mayor Karen Goh on her Facebook! BC Nursing rocks!

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Thirty Unit Coining Ceremony

On Wednesday evening Bakersfield College Veteran Services held its first ever 30-unit Coining Ceremony, which signifies an important momentum point for our student-veterans. This milestone captures the halfway mark to the participants’ road to degree completion. Challenge coins are traditionally handed out upon completion of an important task or mission and to raise morale.  Wednesday’s ceremony may very be the first of its kind in the California Community College system. Twenty-seven veterans were coined in front of a roomful of family and friends.  I’m so proud of our student veterans!

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BC Honored with Joint Assembly & Senate Resolution

Earlier this week, Senator Fuller presented BC with the joint Assembly and Senate Resolution in honor of Bakersfield College receiving the Gold Strong Workforce Star for our Radiologic Technology program and our Registered Nursing program. Over the summer, BC was recognized by the 2018 Strong Workforce Stars for SIXTEEN of our programs!  The Strong Workforce Stars highlights career education programs whose students show significant gains in factors important in building a skilled workforce and for advancing personal social mobility: a substantial increase in earnings, attainment of a living wage and placement in a job closely matched with the field of study.  Here you’ll be able to see the entire list of programs honored.  You can view the ceremony on our Facebook page.

It was such a beautiful moment, and I’m glad I got to share it with those who work so hard to make our CTE programs successful.  Thank you to Tony Cordova, Cindy Collier, Carla Gard, and Jennifer Johnson for all of your hard work and your commitment to our students!  

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Thank you to Senator Fuller, Assemblyman Vince Fong, Senator Andy Vidak and Assemblyman Rudy Salas for your support and this honor.

Telemundo highlights BC’s Free on the Outside program

Thank you to Telemundo for highlighting our Free on the Outside program.  President Alex Arreola shared how this program has helped him envision a different future for himself and his family.  Adolfo Vega shared how the program has provided academic and social support to help him feel part of the Bakersfield College campus.  Norma Gaspar congratulated the students for their dedication and commitment to each other and to changing their lives all while encouraging viewers to see the opportunities Bakersfield College has to offer.  Providing an avenue for all students to succeed and giving them support is what matters. Todos Somos BC!

telemundo alex arreola adolfo vega emmanuel Limaco

BC’s Alex Arreola, Adolfo Vega and Emmanuel Limaco with Telemundo’s Norma Gaspar.

You can watch the segment here on Telemundo.

Roadmap to Public Health Degrees & Careers

Sarah Baron of BC’s Public Health Science program hosted an informational fair on Monday along with presentations on degrees and careers in public health. Throughout the morning, she shared tips for transferring to CSU and UC into a public health or health science major and various opportunities to learn more about public health careers from professionals in the field. There was information on how to apply for the UCLA Public Health Scholar program, an overview on how to obtain an Associate Degree for Transfer in Public Health Science and information on the new Health Navigator Certificate.

BC is fortunate to have such incredible faculty who inspire students to learn more and be inspired by their programs and areas of focus. Thank you Sarah Baron!

Panel Discussion – World War I: A Retrospective

On Tuesday, Bakersfield College professors gave a series of lectures about World War I in the Levan Center to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day this Sunday, which marks the end of The Great War.  History professor Tina Mendoza moderated the event, which offered substantive analysis of three different aspects of World War I and how it continues to influence society today.

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Tina Mendoza moderating the WWI panel.

Paul Beckworth’s presentation focused on the last day of the war on November 11, 1918. Even though a peace agreement had been reached by 5 a.m. that morning, seven US generals forced their troops to continue fighting until the official end of the war at 11 a.m. More than 11,000 casualties were needlessly suffered on that last morning due to the hubris of generals such as John J. Pershing, which Beckworth considers a criminal act and a violation of the social contract that a military officer agrees to when he or she becomes an authority figure in control of the fate of their troops.  “An officer is a powerful thing, and it carries with it a heavy responsibility,” Beckworth said. “You don’t grade on curves with other people’s lives.”

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Paul Beckworth speaking on the WWI panel.

Olivia Garcia focused on young men in the British middle and upper class who volunteered to die by the thousands in the first major world conflict of the Industrial Age. Military propaganda convinced young men to fight in the conflict; and the horrifying realities of trench warfare and death at a scale that humanity had never seen before was challenging for Victorian and Edwardian notions of aristocratic masculinity that still permeated British society.

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Olivia Garcia presenting at the WWI panel.

Javier Llamas discussed how the United States’ late entry into World War I reorganized the structure of the Army and provided opportunities for immigrants and African-Americans to defend their country through volunteering and being drafted into the conflict. African-Americans, as well as Asian immigrants and Mexicans, participated in the conflict via segregated units that primarily provided infrastructure for the war effort. Some troops of color, such as the Harlem Hellfighters, got to fight alongside French and Senegalese troops and were treated as equals.

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Javier Llamas presenting at the WWI memorial.

I’d like to thank everyone who participated in this panel Levan Center discussion about World War I. It provided some fascinating perspectives on a conflict that shaped the the 20th Century.

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Thank you Olivia, Paul, Javiera & Tina!

Distinguished Speaker Oz Sanchez

On Thursday BC hosted its fifth Distinguished Speaker, Oz Sanchez, author of Know No Limits: The Gold Medalist in Us All. Mr. Sanchez is a Marine and 3x Paralympic medalist who spoke about achieving successful change inevitably means overcoming obstacles and, in some cases, recreating oneself through an identity shift. He asked the question: how can you become better if you don’t change your mindset? An open mind creates a growth mindset, and helps create your identity. Mr. Sanchez explained that excuses are justifications for our inactions.


Thank you to Dr. Terri Goldstein, Director of Disabled Students Programs and Services, Paul Beckworth, Director of Veterans Services, and Sandi Taylor, Director of Athletics for organizing and advising on this event, and to the Veterans Committee, Renegade Athletics, and Kern Disability Collaborative for collaborating on it as well.

Operation: Not Forgotten Drop Zone

BC held its annual “Operation: Not Forgotten Drop Zone” from 7am-6pm this past Thursday.  The community came out and showed its support by dropping off items to send to deployed military personnel overseas, as well as giving cards and letters of support.  BC holds this activity annually alongside the group Blue Star Moms. Thanks to everyone who donated and showed their support for our troops!

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Services for David Besst

Last Saturday, I attended a celebration of life for Professor David Besst.  There were several faculty and staff and retired faculty and staff at the event.

David passed away unexpectedly in October at the age of 55, with 25 of those years being spent as an English faculty at BC.  I grabbed these photos from Andrea Thorson’s Facebook post. 

 

Entree to Employment

Speaking of the Renegade Room and Culinary Arts department, the Career Technical Education Department partnered with the Kern High School District ROC to host the 3rd Bi-Annual, Entrée to Employment event on October 23, 2018. The goal of this event is to introduce our students to the art of networking and gaining valuable knowledge of industry expectations from the employers firsthand. The following Automotive, Fire Technology, Nursing, and Veterinary Technician programs were highlighted. Students were individually selected to participate by their Professors and were required to attend an etiquette class that covered proper dining, attire, and business networking practices. Entrée to Employment took place in our very own Renegade Room, where Chef Suzanne Tangeman, Lab Technician Christian Flores, and their entire staff of students prepared and served an impeccable meal.

While there are no expectations of job offers, the survey results from the event were very positive:

  • 95% of the employers surveyed commented on how professional our students were dressed and how effectively they communicated.
  • 1 student was offered an interview the following day
  • 2 students were told about internship opportunities
  • 1 student was invited to a facility tour
  • 1 student invited on a hike with the Battalion Chief
  • 1 student was offered a job

Kudos to Beth Harrison, Job Development Specialist, who coordinated the event. Without the assistance of BC culinary students, instructors, staff, community employers and the Kern High School District the event would not have been possible.

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Attendees at the Entree to Employment event.

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Delicious meal prepared by our talented Renegade Room Culinary team.

Student Life & SGA hosts Murder Mystery Dinner

The Renegade Room was packed for the Murder Mystery Dinner hosted by Student Life and BCSGA. The crowd was captivated by the hilarious performers and interactive experience. And the food…well the food was simply to die for! Special thanks to Christian Flores-Castaneda, Alex Gomez, Suzanne Tangeman and the Renegade Room Staff for a night well spent! It was fantastic!

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Running in Silence

Dr. Terri Goldstein, BC’s Director of DSPS, shared an article featuring BC student athlete, Adolfo Escudero-Mendoza. The moving story featured the passion, love of sport, determination, and power of teammates. 23ABC’s Sports Director Kari Osep shot and produced this piece on our very own Men’s XC student athlete Adolfo, who has run Men’s XC since his time at Highland HS, and who does not let being deaf slow him down. His teammates even embrace the challenge of learning ASL to communicate with him and cheer him on. Special thank you to Kari Osep for sharing Adolfo’s story and bringing awareness to the incredible things taking place at the Home of the Renegades. Check out the story “Running in Silence” on 23ABC.

Screenshot of 23ABC story on Adolfo Escudero-Mendoza

Terri shared with me that Adolfo is also a gifted artist with several of his works hanging in the DSPS office. Here are a few that she shared:

Adolfo Escudero-Mendoza art pieces

Emails Worth Sharing: Spotlight on Inmate Scholars

Communication faculty, John Giertz has been teaching at BC for 30 years and shared with me that he recently has taught classes at Kern Valley State Prison. His email said, 

One of my Argumentation students paroled out of the prison at about the same time I was beginning an 8 week argumentation class.  Today, Chelsea was waiting for me. We met the student in the hall and it was the first time I really shook his hand and the only time I have been able to give him a hug. This is what this program is about, and I was fortunate to see a former inmate coming back into society. This is what education is all about. To witness a student navigate from one world to another and to be, just a small part of it. This is what all teachers live for. To see your student become involved in your class and to realize that the two of you are walking unchartered territory—together.

Professor Giertz is one of many committed faculty and staff who prioritize supporting students through education. The Inmate Scholars program, led by Chelsea Esquibias is offering hope through education and transforming lives.

Photo of John Giertz

BC is doing amazing things because of the leadership and engagement of faculty, staff, and of course… our students.

This is why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president EVER!

Fun Photos from Halloween Fun at BC

Faculty and staff from the Math and Science departments have continued to share photos with me from the Halloween fun that took place on campus.

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Talented Renegades at BC

Throughout October, the talented Renegades in our choirs and chamber singers had some amazing events worth sharing! In case you missed it, on Oct. 25th Hila Plitmann, a Grammy-award winning soprano held a Master Class in the Indoor Theater. She worked with 5 of our Applied Voice Majors, performed 4 solo selections, and held a Q&A with the audience. It was great to see the piece by Susan Scaffidi Love, tradition, modern hits – BC concert will have it all” in the Bakersfield Californian as well!

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The following evening was the Fall Concert entitled Veni, Vidi, Amavi: We Came, We Saw, We Loved which featured Hila Plitmann, the Synergy Chamber Players and the finale included the Fairfax School District Choirs. We had a nearly full house too!

Photo from the Veni, Vidi, Amaiv event.

On October 29th, BC hosted the Chamber Festival with Dr. Cari Earnhart, Director of Choral Activities at Fresno State as our guest clinician for local high school chamber choirs. I’m filled with joy every time we are able to host local high schoolers on campus to showcase their talent. Director, Jennifer Garrett tells me that we had 13 high schools perform. She said, “The transitions were something to behold.”

Chamber Singers 5th Annual Holiday Dinner

Can you believe it’s already that time of the year? The BC Chamber Singers will once again host their annual holiday dinner, this year called “Christmas Through the Ages.” This year’s event will take place on December 1, 2018 at 5:00pm and tickets are already going quickly. The holiday dinner will be family focused with crafts for kids, cookie decorating, a photo booth, and Santa Claus may even make an appearance. The amazing Jen Garrett tells me there will be a live auction, great entertainment, and lots of fun to be had. It’s the perfect way to kick off the month of December and I hope to see you there.

For tickets, please contact Jennifer Garrett at 661-395-4547 or by email at jennifer.garrett@bakersfieldcollege.edu

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11am, you can check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments with Head Softball Coach Casey Goodman and her Assistant Coach Megan Rowe and four of their softball student-athletes: Kylee Fahy, Alex Venegas, Alexis Lopez and Ashley Hernandez. Also, joining the show was Mike George of Kern Schools FCU – we always appreciate their support of Renegade athletics.

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (10/28 -11/3) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Renegades of the week Sarah Armendariz and Adrian Lopez

Sarah Armendariz, Volleyball – Also named the CCCWVCA State Player of the Week, Armendariz had 27 assists in 3-0 sweep over West LA in helping team to 21-1 record and #3 ranking in the state. She is currently ranked fifth in the state in assists average at 10.28 per set.

Adrian Lopez, Men’s Cross Country qualified for the CCCAA State Cross Country Championships in setting a new PR in the 4-mile race at 21:16. Lopez is the lone Renegade to qualify for the state finals.

Congrats to Sarah Armendariz for being named CCCWVCA State Player of the Week

For week #10 of the season sophomore Sarah Armendariz was given the Player of the Week honors by the California Community College Women’s Volleyball Association (CCCWVCA). As setter for the team, she has helped the team to an impressive 15-match win streak. She dished out 52 assists and made 10 kills in the team’s last two victories, both sweeps. Currently, she is fifth in the state in assists average at 10.28 per set. Way to go Sarah!

Sarah Armendariz

Congrats to Cam Roberson for being named SCFA Special Teams Player of the Week

The Southern California Football Association (SCFA) named Renegade punt returner Cameron Roberson as the National Division Special Teams/All-Purpose Player of the Week for his exceptional performance in returning two punts for touchdowns in their game against Moorpark this last Saturday. The first touchdown was a 77-yard return and the second was an 81-yard return. On the game, he had 6 punt returns for a total of 202 return yards, averaging 33.7 yds/return. Congrats, Cam!

Cam Roberson has been named SCFA Special Teams Player of the Week

Roundup of Athletics Events this week

It was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on GoGades.com):

Staying Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media. On Facebook find us under ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’, on Twitter – @GoGadesGo and on Instagram – @gogadesgo.

Sonya Christian Nov 5 2018

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Precious Lives and Developing Dreams at Bakersfield College

Good morning Bakersfield. 

It is Saturday, June 23, 2018 and a great day to be a Renegade.

June 22 2018 Sonya Christian with Neo

Sonya Christian and Neo in Marina Del Rey

 

This last week, I found my mind drifting to the passing of two celebrities, Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade and the difficult and tragic circumstances that led to their passing.

 

The world has infinite beauty, but there are millions who struggle with darkness and unable to see the world around them. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain that can block out life’s joys, both large and small. Those afflicted can believe they don’t deserve the things that make them happy, or believe that others cannot understand their struggles.

Anthony Bourdain brought an unpretentious, engaging and culturally respectful perspective on the world’s food and people to American television viewers. Kate Spade revolutionized New York fashion in the 1990s with her line of functional, yet sophisticated handbags. These individuals were two of the most admired professionals in their respective fields, yet each of them decided to take their own life after a lifetime battle with depression.

Plumeria Tree

Someone close who passed last January after a brief bout with flu and pneumonia had an email signature that says it well: “Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

It’s an important reminder to be kind and supportive, and even more so when we do recognize that someone might be suffering from depression. If you suffer from depression, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline has volunteers in Bakersfield working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help. Call 1-800-273-8255 to get confidential support today. If talking on the phone makes you uncomfortable, you can text HOME to 741741 to access the Crisis Text Line. Every life is precious, and there is someone who cares and is willing to help.

Today, Pope Francis tweeted

Pope Francis Tweet June 23 2018

And then there is music…..

William Congreve an English playwright and poet begins The Mourning Bride in 1967 with the quote

Music has charm to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or to bend a knotted oak

I invite you to three incredible music events at Bakersfield College.

June 26, 2018 (Tuesday) at 7:00 p.m. — The US Airforce Band of the Golden West will be performing at Bakersfield College once again.  Seeing this extremely talented band is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we’d love everyone in the community to be a part of it.  Tue, 06/26/2018 – 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.  Location: Edward Simonsen Performing Arts Center (Indoor Theater)

USAF Band-8

Bon Voyage Concert June 30 2018June 30, 2018 — Bon Voyage Concert with BC Chamber Singers, Dr. Jennifer Garrett, Monty Byrom and Lydia Ranger.  Please come out to the Bon Voyage Concert on June 30 in the Indoor Theater. The concert begins at 4:00 p.m. and doors will open at 3:30 p.m. You do not need to get tickets in advance as this is a donation only show. The concert will feature the music they will perform in Cairns and will also have special guests, Monty Byrom and Lydia Ranger.

 

July 20, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at the Memorial Stadium —  4th Annual Resound Drum Corps Competition

The Bakersfield College Golden Empire Drum & Bugle Corps presents the 4th Annual “Resound” Drum Corps International (DCI) contest! The competition will take place Friday, July 20th at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium on the Bakersfield College campus.

Get your tickets now! Costs are $20 for premium seating, $15 for general admission, and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased at Vallitix.

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Child Development Center Outdoor Classroom

On Wednesday, the Child Development Center unveiled their brand-new playground to the public, and the children in the program got the chance to play in it for the first time.

The playground was funded by the Head Start program of the Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK) for our two-year Early Head Start classrooms. The new facility will function as an outdoor classroom that allows the toddlers to directly engage with their learning. Six of our teachers and associate teachers have completed the first level of outdoor classroom training, with a second level of outdoor classroom workshops planned for the next few weeks.

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“Young children learn through direct first-hand experience using all of their five senses,” Child Development Center Director Sue Vaughn said in announcing the new playground.

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Liz Rozell, Vice President of Instruction thanked CAPK for funding the playground, and all of our staff who played a part in making outdoor learning a possibility for the children in our Early Head Start classrooms. Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg took a short break from retirement for a ribbon-cutting and to invite children to participate in their new space, which has books and toys, plants the children can water, and musical instruments.

“When people come together for the benefit of children, great things happen,” Nan said.

Yolanda Gonzales, the Director of Head Start and State Child Development for CAPK, thanked the child development staff at Bakersfield College for their dedication to getting children started on the right path to a successful education.

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“This would not be possible without the staff who have made a commitment,” Gonzales said. “It takes a team to achieve the outcomes that are so evident here.”

Thanks to Sue Vaughn and the staff at BC’s Child Development Center, as well as CAPK, for making children’s dreams come true with this new playground. During the celebration, Sue also gave recognition to BC’s Bill Potter and Jim Coggins for all that they contributed to making this project a reality.

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Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Tony Cordova

STEM Camps at BC with partners Chevron and Project Lead the Way

Joseph Luiz, Henry Barrios and Diana Olivares highlighted our Summer STEM Camps in the Bakersfield Californian on Wednesday, which is providing hands-on experience in STEM for over 100 middle and high school students.

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The Californian highlighted the guitar building and electrical engineering workshops with photos and video, in addition to workshops that have already taken place on 3D printing and mobile app development. Over the coming weeks, students will be attending workshops on architecture and design and automation technology. The classes are offered free of charge with funding from Chevron and Project Lead the Way.

Yadira Guerrero, the Program Manager of Engineering at Bakersfield College, organized the camps and is quoted in the article speaking about her passion for bringing hands-on STEM education to young people. “We’re hoping to inspire students and ignite a love for hands-on learning that maybe they don’t get the chance to do a lot of in school,” she said. “We’re hoping the academy will inspire them to want to go to college.”

I’d like to thank the Bakersfield Californian for featuring our Summer STEM Camps on their Wednesday front page, and I’d like to thank Yadira Guerrero, Chevron and Project Lead the Way for making the camps a reality.  Thank you Adam Alvidrez and Carla Musser of Chevron for supporting Stem education and Bakersfield College.

Don’t forget to check out the media piece created by Joseph and Diana. It’s a #MustSee!

2018 Guitar building STEM students

Wonderful Summer Camps Continue

Last week we shared with you some information and pictures from the first of two Summer Agriculture Camps coordinated by BC Staff and funded by Wonderful Company. These students are exposed to all the exciting things that Bakersfield College has to offer and have the opportunity to connect with industry professionals discovering the many opportunities that exist in our community.

If you remember back to our most recent graduation ceremony, one of the most special things we experienced was the graduation of over 30 Wonderful Prep students with their Associates Degree for Transfer.

Orange County Event Photography

The students for the second camp are recruited from Wonderful Prep Academy in Delano, and, like our recent Wonderful graduates will have the opportunity to enroll in Dual Enrollment courses, allowing them to graduate high school with an Associates degree even before receiving their high school diploma.

A highlight of this week’s activities was researching, designing, and creating the marketing for various products. It all begins with research!

Summer Ag Camp students researching career for final project

And then perfect product development. This part looks tasty. 🙂

Students working on developing a product during ag business session

Then for the creative design and implementation!

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There were also sessions to learn about water pumps and welding. Check out these hands on activities!

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This is a crucial moment for them as many will be starting high school in a year, and the exposure to agriculture and the careers within the industry can open their eyes to fields of study they may not have thought of otherwise. It’s also crucial for their families.

Here are some photos of Wonderful College Prep Academy students presenting to family and friends during the week’s culminating event.

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During the event, we take wellness seriously.  Here are some photos of the physical exercise activities!

Again a shout out to our dedicated staff in charge of making this opportunity happen, starting with Raquel Lopez, Program Manager, who oversees and coordinates the camp with the support of Jaime Lopez, Program Manager. Thanks also to our Lead Agriculture faculty Heather Baltis and Jim Selgrath, with support from, Jesse Oropeza as the lead mentor, Christopher McCraw and his leadership class, as well as the peer mentors. None of this could be possible without the support of our Delano Campus Support Staff and Director, Abel Guzman.

Summer Bridge

Isabel Castaneda and Kimberly Bligh at Bridge HQ June 23 2018

Isabel Castaneda and Kimberly Bligh

Summer Bridge to BC is a fun, intensive freshmen orientation day where students engage with faculty and staff, tour the BC campus with experienced and knowledgeable mentors, and participate in activities that orient them to the freshman experience. They also learn practical skills that enable college success such as effective communication, time management, GRIT, and more. By the end of the day, participants become knowledgeable in campus student/academic services and other resources available for FREE to ultimately clarify and facilitate their Career and Learning Pathway success.

Summer Bridge has educational advisors on call each day from Outreach, Career and Technical Education, Financial Aid, STEM, General Counseling, and more! The Bridge advising team is led by the Title V Grant lead advisor, Isabel Castaneda. Advisors not only carefully pre-screen schedules for each and every student who enrolls in Summer Bridge, they also pair up on the day of each Bridge and work side-by-side with every student along with our outstanding Bridge peer mentors to ensure students leave the same day with the correct courses, locations,  and units for their Learning and Career pathways success. Students also receive one -on-one time with our fabulous Financial Aid staff to make sure their financial aid forms are all in order.

Numerous engaging, hands-on activities and discussions make the day fun and memorable, and provide students opportunities to bond with fellow students, staff, and faculty before classes start for fall! It should be no surprise that our BC Summer Bridge students have higher success and retention rates, PLUS complete more units in their first year, AND are more likely to enroll in college level math and English than students who do not attend this one-of-a -kind Freshmen Orientation Day. There are sections still open in the Summer 2018 schedule. See Academic Development B55.

On August 14th, 5-8 PM, Summer Bridge is hosting a FAMILY Bridge to BC Night that will be a Career and Learning Pathways Open House Showcase and will close with our annual New Student Convocation. The Convocation is a spectacular family and BC Staff celebration that welcomes new students to BC! Watch the BC website for more information about how to sign up for this event soon!

Express Enrollment

The Outreach Department supported and registered 135 students for classes in one day during Tuesday’s express enrollment event. On Tuesday morning, Scott Sheahen of KERO Channel 23 highlighted the event, which handles application, placement and enrollment in one five-hour session. Tuesday’s enrollment also had a special component to get home-schooled students ready for classes at BC.

The next One-Day Express Enrollment event is on July 10th starting at 8 a.m. in the Welcome Center, so if you or someone you know needs help with the enrollment and registration process, then come by and we’ll make you a Renegade in one day!

BC Enrollment Banner (4)

Norma Rojas-Mora

BC welcomed Norma Rojas-Mora to campus as Director of Communications and Community Relations on Monday.

Telemundo invited Norma on air to share about her new role at BC. Norma emphasized her continued commitment to the community through her transition and in the importance of education both on a personal and community level. She spoke about how Bakersfield College is committed to opening its doors and access to the entire community, which can be seen in our rural outreach. Check it out at Telemundo online.

Norma Rojas-Mora

Norma Rojas-Mora

A Better BC Update

Pardon the pun, but we are trucking right along on the parking lot renovations! The parking lot on Mount Vernon and Panorama, and Parking Lot 4 on Mount Vernon and Church Avenue is scheduled to be opened on July 2. Following the opening, renovations will continue on other lots and roads throughout campus.

Starting July 2nd, closures include Red and White Way, Haley St. Entrance and staff/guest parking outside of the Administration building.

Parking-as-of-July-2

As always, please visit the A Better BC website for all construction updates.

 

 

Summer Soccer Camp at BC

 

It’s exciting to watch the World Cup action, and a good reminder of the upcoming Summer Soccer Camps at BC!

The BC Men’s and Women’s soccer programs are hosting a summer soccer camp for boys and girls ages 7-17.  Sessions will run from Monday July 16 through Thursday July 19, 9am-12pm.

The cost is only $145 per participant for the week, and even better, there are group discounts available. To learn more or sign up, contact Scott Dameron at sdameron@bakersfieldcollege.edu.

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Fun Renegade Photos — #Summer2018

BC Team at eLumen Conference

BC Team at eLumen Conference

Craig Hayward’s tweet

Craig Hayward tweet June 21 2018 of Sonya Christian

Tweet at the same conference from Wayne Skipper of Concentric Sky

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Spotted on Facebook.  Coach Casey Goodman being inducted to the 2018 University of Louisiana at Monroe Hall of Fame Class. #GoGades #WeAreBC

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I want to remember to give special thanks to the BC Food Service team. Every day during our BC Summer Camps, and as always(!), they are on it! Thank you Chef Stephanie and crew for such attention to all who come to the Home of the Renegades.

Food Services

A great photo of Grace Commiso’s Rocky on Facebook: While studying looked over and saw Rocky sprawled out on the floor…..How’s your Friday?  Apparently his has been rough. #thelifeofpets.

Grace Commiso's Rocky June 22 2018

 

Neo on the beach in Marina Del Rey #Summer2018

Heather Penella in Utah

Heather Penella June 2018 Utah

Found on Facebook that Paul Beckworth and family are heading to the beach.

Paul Beckworth and family day trip to the beach June 23 2018

 

Tweet from Tamara Baker our new Manager for Community Relations

Tamara Baker Tweet June 23 2018

It is a great time to be at BC!

June 22 2018 Neo with Sonya Christian Marina Del Rey

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

A Commencement of Firsts

This blog is dedicated to all Mothers

Happy Mother’s Day

Eisha Christian, Pam Christian, Sonya Christian Dec 24 2017

 

Good morning Bakersfield!

I woke up today to the front page article by Joseph Luiz in the The Bakersfield Californian, above the fold, titled Record Breaking: BC graduates biggest class in school history.  Read all of it at https://tinyurl.com/ybnmz7a8.

Commencement Photo by Henry Barrios TBC May 12 2018

May 12, 2018 front page. Photo by Henry Barrios

TBC article May 12 2018 Front Page Joseph Luiz Photo by Henry Barrios

104th Commencement Historical Celebration

dsc06615-x3Congratulations to the Bakersfield College Class of 2018! Last night we had a record breaking historical evening. Our college has grown so much over the century.

In 1913 we began with thirteen students and this year we have almost thirty-two thousand students. And last night we celebrated the highest number of eligible graduates to obtain an associates degree in our history. With more than 2,000 students eligible for graduation this year and nearly half of them walking the stage, Memorial Stadium was packed with family and friends of class of 2018 graduates for the 104th Commencement.

Last night there were many firsts: we celebrated the first Dual Enrollment class from the Wonderful Academy, graduating with their Associates Degrees before they even complete high school; and we celebrated the first graduating cohort of the Kern Promise, a select group of students who piloted a Guided Pathways model of shared responsibility and support to complete their degree within 2 years.

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And, this year 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.

Here is a little more about the class of 2018:

  • 1,522 graduates are transferring to a four-year college or university to continue their education
  • 1,226 earned an Associate of Arts degree
  • 979 earned an Associate of Science Degree
  • Over 1,095 guaranteed their ability to transfer to a four-year university by obtaining an Associate of Art or Science for Transfer
  • Over 1,027 have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above

It was a beautiful event for such a monumental occasion in our students’ lives. Also in attendance were Presidents Greg Chamberlain and Sandra Serrano, and two who served as presidents in an interim capacity, Bob Allison and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg. Three trustees attended – Trustee Agbalog, Trustee Carter, and Trustee Thomas.  Chancellor Tom Burke also attended. We were fortunate to have lovely weather, and what a fantastic fireworks display.

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Dr. Jennifer Garrett, the Sam McCall award winner could not be there, so she recorded this powerful message for the class of 2018.

Commencement is such a large event and takes a lot of teamwork to pull it all together. Chances are if you saw someone with a Renegade Red shirt and black pants or skirt, they were working the event.

I would like to thank the College Commencement Committee: Karimeh Amin, Gayla Anderson, Paul Beckworth, Ralph Burnette, Cheryl Caswell, Christopher Counts, Victor Diaz, John Gerhold, Christy Haycock, Eryn Justice, Jennifer Marden Serratt, Gabriele Martin, John Menzies, Rachell Morehouse, Michelle Peña, Jack Pierce, Ramon Puga, Kristin Rabe, Corny Rodriguez, Monika Scott, Marco Sifuentes, Pearl Urena, Sue Vaughn, Angelica Vasquez, and Steve Watkin for all their hard work and planning. I also want to thank the many staff and faculty needed for details, preparation, and who participated in Commencement.

See the gallery and article at Bakersfield.com!IMG_1036

Congratulations Industrial Automation Baccalaureate Students!

Before we celebrated the historic accomplishment of BC’s first graduating class of baccalaureate students during our main commencement, the recipients of our Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Automation had their own special Pre-Commencement Celebration in Renegade Park. During the Industrial Automation Pre-Commencement, many of the faculty who worked closely with our seven baccalaureate graduates got an opportunity to speak about how proud they were of their students’ accomplishments and what they had to overcome to complete this new degree program.

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Through our Industrial Automation program, which focuses on the engineering and development of assembly line and manufacturing technology, BC is giving members of our community an opportunity to train in one of the most important skill sets of the future workforce. Employers say that our Industrial Automation program is on par with similar programs offered at other major universities in California and across the country. Industrial automation is an important part of almost every industry in Kern County, including agriculture, oil production, and alternative energy, as well as the major corporate retail distribution centers in our area that rely on machine automation technology to get their products ready for shipping across the United States. Our graduating students are already being flooded with job offers.

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I’d like to thank the Engineering and Industrial Technology Department for organizing this pre-commencement ceremony, and I can’t wait to see how our baccalaureate program is going to support and help transform the economy of the Central Valley.

Congratulations Delano Students!

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Chancellor Tom Burke visits Delano

While many of our faculty and staff were engaged with our Closing Day ceremony on Friday morning, students who attended classes at the Delano Campus had their own pre-commencement ceremony in the Robert F. Kennedy Auditorium. Graduating students walked across the stage of the RFK Auditorium for all of their friends and family to celebrate the monumental task of earning a college degree and discovering the tools to increase their earning potential and provide a better life for their children and the Delano community.

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Trustee Romeo Agbalog address the students at the Delano Pre-commencement Ceremony

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Chancellor Tom Burke, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg were on hand to congratulate all of the Delano graduates. I’d like to thank Gustavo Enriquez and all of the faculty and staff at the Delano Center for organizing this Pre-Commencement ceremony and all they do for students in rural Kern. Eventually, we’ll be hosting Pre-Commencement at BC Southwest, Arvin and all of our current and future satellite campuses.

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Congratulations Veteran Students!

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Eleven of our graduating veteran students got one last opportunity to have sacrifices that they made to our country be recognized and honored by BC faculty and staff in the Levan Center, capping off an academic year that included BC committing to building a new Veterans Resource Center and expanding educational services to the military men and women in our community. Graduating veterans were treated to a celebration ceremony where they each got to shake hands with Veteran Center director Paul Beckworth before heading to the Gymnasium for dinner.

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A big thanks to Paul Beckworth and the Veterans Resource Center for organizing the Veterans Pre-Commencement Celebration, and check back at this blog for more information about the Veterans Resource Center construction as it develops.

Congratulations Chicano/Latino Students!

Chicano and Latino families from across Kern County filled the Outdoor Theater before the main Commencement ceremony to rejoice in the accomplishments of their students who graduated from BC, and many of those who participated are first generation – first in their families to graduate from college.

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SGA President, Dezi Von Manos

The Chicano/Latino Pre-Commencement Celebration is BC’s oldest pre-commencement event, started by Dean Cornelio Rodriguez over 20 years ago to recognize BC’s Chicano and Latino graduates. Since that time, it’s grown rapidly as Chicano and Latino students are a majority of BC’s student population.

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Dean Corny Rodriguez

I’d like to thank everyone who helped organize the Chicano/Latino Pre-Commencement Celebration, as well as the faculty and staff members who donated money at the last minute to help students that needed assistance in order to participate. It’s amazing to see all of the ways the community continues to support its students.

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Congratulations African American Students!

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Graduating African-American students got the opportunity to fellowship with each other and celebrate their accomplishments with their friends and family in the Indoor Theater on Friday afternoon before the main commencement ceremony. This year’s African-American Pre-Commencement Ceremony began with the audience singing James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, with lyrics voicing the liberation and affirmation of African-American people. The words to “Lift Every Voice and Sing” were first written as an introduction for Booker T. Washington ata celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in 1900. Its message continues to reverberate to this day, and was recently performed by Beyonce at this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

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I’d like to thank the African-American Initiatives team for organizing this pre-commencement event and all they do to support our African-American students. Thanks in part to their efforts, the educational attainment rates of our African-American students are higher than they’ve ever been.

Congratulations Lavender (LGBTIQA+) Students!

dsc04638-x4Commencement Celebrations, the Lavender Pre-Commencement Celebration is a ceremony conducted on numerous campuses and this year Bakersfield College joined this tradition. Lavender Graduation is a cultural celebration that recognizes sexual and gender minorities and their allies of all races and ethnicities, and acknowledges their achievements and contributions to the college.

Professor of Communication Helen Acosta and Director of Student Life Dr. Nicky P. Damania facilitated the ceremony which consisted of a keynote presentation by Ms. Whitney Weddell, high school history teacher and vocal stylings of Ms. Danyel Owens, Department Assistant in the Office of Student Life, and heartfelt stories shared by three Lavender graduate students. This year yielded 13 graduates who were bestowed a lavender stole with a rainbow embroidered on them. The ceremony was attended by about 20 BC faculty and staff, over 30 friends and family, and a special guest Chancellor Tom Burke.

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The tradition of Lavender graduations celebrating LGBTQIA+ students started in 1995 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, spreading to hundreds of campuses across the country over the last 23 years. This ceremony is also the start of BC’s efforts to expand our equity plan support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other gender non-conforming students under California Assembly Bill No. 1018. You can read more about inception of the Lavender Graduation in this May 2nd Renegade Rip Article.

 

Congratulations Radiologic Technology Students!

The Radiologic Technology celebrated it’s 49th year at BC during the Pinning and Certification Ceremony held on Thursday evening, May 10, 2018. The evening celebrated the hard work and dedication of 18 medical imaging students and their completion of the Associate in Science Degree. Students spend twenty-four months and 1800+ hours training at local hospitals and imaging centers. These clinical affiliates give their time and talents to these students to ensure they meet the competency standards necessary to ensure that patients receive excellent patient care – in addition to students completing lecture and lab courses at the main campus. These graduates will be entering careers throughout Kern County including Bakersfield and Delano, and in Tulare County in Visalia in summer 2018 following the completion of their State and national licensing examinations.

Also recognized during the ceremony was Program Director Nancy Perkins who has served BC since 1979 and will enter into retirement in 2018. Past and current faculty together with the community has started a scholarship fund for radiography students in her name through the BC Foundation. In addition, a “bench” project has begun to raise funds for seating around the Allied Health building for students to enjoy. A plaque was also awarded to Mrs. Perkins, and which will be permanently displayed in the campus x-ray lab. “I am so honored to have lived my passion my serving at BC teaching the next generation of medical imaging professionals. Both BC and the radiology community have supported me in my journey and assisting me in developing a modern laboratory for student exploration and instruction” Nancy said.

You can view all of the photos taken by Manny De Los Santos at 2018 Rad-Tech Pinning Ceremony.

I’d like to thank Nancy Perkins and the Radiologic Technology staff and faculty for organizing this pinning ceremony.

Closing Day

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Sonya Christian, Lawrence Salcido, James Tompkin, Nicky Damania

On the morning of Commencement, BC faculty and staff commemorated the end of the 2017-2018 academic year with the annual Closing Day Celebration, recognizing each others’ accomplishments with our traditional end-of-the-year awards. After some brief fellowship during a delightful breakfast buffet provided by Food Services, faculty and staff piled into the Indoor Theater to hear opening remarks from outgoing BCSGA Vice President Lawrence Salcido.

 

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Lawrence Salcido relished the opportunity to talk about the over 200 events that SGA hosted this year, including the Distinguished Speaker Series and Legislative Affairs Power Lunch, as well as being able to provide scholarships for the first time in BCSGA’s history. BCSGA’s two scholarships will be awarded to single parents and formerly-incarcerated students, respectively. Salcido thanked the faculty and staff of BC for their “time and dedication to help provide culture within our campus walls.”

 

Interspersed throughout the various faculty and staff award presentations, I announced the ten winners of my President’s Leadership Awards. The list of groups and individuals below have displayed exceptional leadership throughout this year, and nothing that we do here at BC would be possible without their hard work:

Higher education is a pursuit following hopes and visions. The 2018 Guided Pathways leads, Jennifer Johnson, Jessica Wojtysiak, Nick Strobel, Grace Commiso, and Lesley Bonds have made great strides toward creating systems and programs that fast track dreams into realities. They have been traveling up and down the state to communicate BC’s implementation of this important educational philosophy while putting together our Program Mapper and reconfiguring our curriculum via meta-majors. The Guided Pathways leads continue to do incredible work surrounding the Momentum Points, Coaching Communities, and engagement campus-wide.

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Under the guidance of the African-American Initiatives team, Steve Watkin, Jennifer Achan, Paula Parks, Jonathan Ward, Julian West, Debra Strong, Tommy Tunson, June Charles, Valerie Robinson, and Ishmael Kimbrough, the African-American cohort of approximately 800 students in 2017-18 have increased completion in both college-level English and/or math by nearly 10%, increased transfer degree course completion by 14%, and the team has increased the success rate for students who participate in our Umoja ASTEP program by up to four times the rate for non-Umoja African-American students. The work of this group has also been recognized by the community, with Bakersfield College winning Corporate Partner of the Year by the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, as well as individual recognition for Julian West, Steve Watkin and Paula Parks by the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, the League for Innovation, and NAACP.

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When it comes to going the extra mile for BC, Tina Chamberlain in the Office of Instruction has walked a thousand miles. She truly embodies the Renegade spirit with her undeniable commitment to our students and diplomatic yet polite problem solving skills. Tina ensures courses are scheduled and students are served.

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The Workgroup to Advance Regional Baccalaureate Attainment (WARBA), chaired by Matthew Garrett and Janet Fulks and including leaders Elenora Hicks, Marisa Marquez, Grace Commiso, Khushnur Dadabhoy and Stephen Waller, have been diligently collaborating with Cal State Bakersfield to establish the Finish in 4 campaign, as well as aligning our curriculum and pathways with the California Academic Partnership Program. This work is revolutionizing higher education for current and future generations of Renegades.

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Everyone on the campus is closely involved with creating our Institutional Self-Evaluation Report (ISER), but the campus leaders of our ISER Finish Line Team have dedicated hundreds upon hundreds of hours to put all of the information together into a cohesive document that seamlessly tells BC’s story. I recognized Nick Strobel, Sondra Keckley, Liz Rozell, Jessica Wojtsiak, Jason Stratton, and Lesley “the Universal Chopper” Bonds for all of their hard work in collecting, editing, indexing and “chopping” the final document.

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Michelle Pena of the Admissions and Records team works tirelessly to ensure that our students are supported at each pivotal point in their journey toward graduation. Michelle also represents BC state-wide through the development of CCCApply, and she was recently elected Vice President of the California Association of Community College Registrars and Admissions Officers.

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In her first year as head softball coach, Casey Goodman lead the Renegades to winning the WSC conference with a 31-9 record en route to winning WSC Conference and Southern California Coach of the Year. Wrestling coaches Brett Clark and Marcos Austin led the Renegades to winning the conference for the second year in a row, along with five individual conference titles and a state championship victory by student Adrian Gonzales. Did you know that student athletes at BC attempt an average of 15.2 units per semester and finish at an average of 12.5 units? This is nearly twice the average of the school overall.

The Maintenance & Operations team is responsible for the monumental undertaking of caring for the landscaping, plumbing, custodial work and infrastructure of over 150 acres and 20 buildings, keeping us comfortable in every classroom and office on campus. This year, they’ve facilitated office moves for 52 faculty and staff and completed 5,320 work orders.

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When it comes to sharing BC’s story through beautiful photos, videos and words, Manny De Los Santos and Monika Scott, M&M, make it happen. Manny brings an excellent attention to detail and a creative spark to all of his video and photography work and his talent, enthusiasm and gregarious personality make him a pleasure to work with. Monika came to BC thinking her job duties would involve web content editing, but when her interim supervisor went on maternity leave, Monika stepped up to the plate. She found herself reporting directly to me and dealing with everything from fielding news media calls, sensitive Clery Report notifications working with Chris Counts, and preparing last-minute remarks for public events. She has become my go-to for speech preparation. In fact, she has had a major role in speeches at BC for many formal events.

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As Academic Senate President, Steve Holmes is engaged and vigilant in his responsibility of upholding the integrity of our academic enterprise.

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Steve was also awarded this year’s Margaret Levinson Faculty Leadership Award (announcement made by Pam Boyles), and along with Zav Dadabhoy, he gave a fun farewell to retiring Vice President Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg. He never fails to liven up our opening and closing day ceremonies.

Liz Rozell also made a presentation to Nan of this beautiful tree Educational Administrators Council:

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Donna Starr announced retiring biology faculty Andrea Garrison and physics faculty Richard Darke as the recipients of the Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teaching Award. Starr also announced the Norman Levan Faculty Colloquium winner Rae Ann Kumelos, a member of the English faculty who will be hosting a discussion titled “Animal Advice” in the Levan Center next fall.

In addition to the Faculty Colloquium Award, incoming Levan Center director Reggie Williams announced the winners of the Levan Faculty Scholarship Summer Grants, which funds research projects for BC faculty. Some notable projects funded through this year’s grants include Biology Department Chair Joe Saldivar’s research project on the ethical impact of donating a kidney to a complete stranger, and the recording of music professor Josh Ottum’s studio album, which will be mixed by students in BC’s commercial music program and performed by Josh’s band during next fall’s Panorama Creative Music Summit.

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Matthew Garrett recognized all of the retiring faculty members during the Closing Day Celebration, and Liz Rozell recognized the BC faculty which have achieved tenure this year. CSEA President Tina Johnson urged us all, BC faculty and staff, to “take a breath” with the close of this academic year, and CCA Campus Chair Isabel Stierle encouraged faculty to submit their application to participate in the CCA Special Election by May 21st.

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Management Association President Sue Vaughn announced the Management Association’s presence in Board Policy meetings, and she was excited to announce that the construction of the Child Development Center’s playground is nearing completion.

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It feels like this year came and went so quickly, and I’m just grateful for the opportunity to wrap it up with the best community college staff on the planet during every Closing Day. Can you see why I always sign off as the luckiest and happiest president? Thanks to everyone who attended this year and all of those who make this event possible every year.

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Closing Day 2018 Student Emcees

Custodial Communication

Custodian Carlos Barbaran left a nice note to BC faculty thanking them for all of the great conversations and congenial work environment they provided for him throughout the semester. Carlos is always a pleasant and fun person to talk to, and everyone at BC is grateful to have him on our custodial staff.

Carlos Barbaran and Sonya Christian

We spend a lot of time talking about the hard work of many of our faculty, counselors and other classified staff, but I’d also like to thank the Bakersfield College custodial staff for tirelessly keeping our campus spotless throughout the year. It’s not easy to clean up after 30,000 students and 1,000 employees, and our custodial staff takes care of us with smiles on their faces.

Retiree Reception

As we say goodbye and good luck to our graduating students, the end of the school year also brings about the farewell to some of our colleagues as they  retire. On Wednesday morning, Bakersfield College held a Retirement Reception in the Fireside Room to honor this year’s retirees: Barbara Braid, Deborah Carmona, Marsha EggmanRafael Espericueta, Kathryn Freeman, Andrea Garrison, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Odella Johnson, Janet LewisSusan McQerry, Gilbert Merjil, Nancy Perkins, Kate PlutaBob Shimmin, Walton Simmons, Jimmy (Smitty) Smith, Dennis Spencer, Rachel Vickery, and Ann Wiederrecht.

While eating a delicious food provided by Food Services, this year’s retiring faculty and staff signed the “Perpetual Retiree Scroll” featuring signatures of all our retirees and the years in which they served the campus. The scroll was started by the Archives Department in 2009 and the scroll itself will be retired after this year due to running out of space. The Archive Department plans to replace the retiree scroll with a more manageable book for next year’s retirement reception, according to Rosalee Pogue, Archives technician.

Thank you Archives for coordinating this opportunity to celebrate the contributions of everyone in the Bakersfield College family who has served our students and this community for decades. I would also like to thank the Bakersfield College Foundation and the Bakersfield College Archives for co-sponsoring this event with me.

You can see the entire photo gallery: Retiree Reception 2018.

Finish in 4

Bakersfield College (BC) and California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) have spent the last 4 years collaborating to increase baccalaureate completion in 4 years. On Tuesday, both institutions held a joint unveiling ceremony on the BC campus to introduce The Kern Promise’s Finish in 4. The new program supports the increase in student completion with an Associate Degree for Transfer in 60 semester units at BC. Students are then guaranteed admission to CSUB, in a similar major, and will complete an additional 60 semester units to earn a bachelor’s degree!

BC 2 CSUB balloons over speakers from BC and CSUB

This partnership is the first of its kind to exist within the state of California’s public institutions of higher education. The historic event was held in the Fireside Room, where Dr. Horace Mitchell, President of California State University, Bakersfield and I unveiled the Finish in 4 initiative, which will encourage students in Kern County to complete their transfer and baccalaureate degrees in 4 years from start to finish!

Sonya Christian Finish in 4 May 7 2018

 

 

Horace Mitchell Finish in 4

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Janet Fulks

The project is an expansion of The Kern Promise and is an unprecedented partnership between two local higher education institutions and focuses on benefits to the students and ultimately the community. The Finish in 4 efforts aim to guarantee students complete their transfer degree in 2 years at Bakersfield College and a baccalaureate degree in the following 2 years at CSUB. Together, the goal is to move students through to the next stage of their educational and career goals in a more efficient and impactful way.

Sonya signing the agreement

There is pivotal work ahead of us, with just 22% of Kern County residents 25 and older holding an Associate’s Degree or higher, compared with the California average of 39%. BC has adopted a guided pathways framework and by partnering with high schools to increase the number of dual enrolled students. We are intervening to clarify pathways before a student gets lost, decreasing time to completion, and closing attainment gaps. Finish in 4 is the next best thing aiding in student success.

BC and CSUB Presidents standing next to the Finish in 4 Pathway agreement.

For the Kern County community, the Finish in 4 program creates a win-win situation for our students, our local and state economies, and taxpayer time while providing a rigorous quality education to give our students a clearly defined direction and ensure their success at an efficient pace.

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One happy president!

Garden Pathways

Bakersfield College was on hand for the Garden Pathways Sixteenth Annual High Tea 2018 in honor of Women with a Heart for Bakersfield last Wednesday.  BC’s contingent, included myself, Vice President of Instruction Liz Rozell, Dean of Instruction Billi Jo Rice, Program Director of CTE Tony Cordova, and Director of Veteran Services Paul Beckworth. The sold-out event supports this important organization.

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Tony Cordova, Liz Rozell, Billie Jo Rice, Paul Beckworth, Sonya Christian, Norma Rojas-Mora

 

Bakersfield College with Adventist Health

Bakersfield College, Adventist Health

Karen Goh, Sonya Christian, Paul Beckworth, Billie Jo Rice, Liz Rozell MAy 9 2018

Mayor Karen Goh, Sonya Christian, Paul Beckworth, Billie Joe Rice, Liz Rozell

 

Chad Tongco Unitek College, Tony Cordova, Sonya Christian

Loved the singing by Amy Adams students in Garden Pathways.  Captured about 40 seconds of Million Dreams

Garden Pathways High Tea in honor of Women with a Heart for Bakersfield

Garden Pathways, founded by David and Karen Goh, is a community-based nonprofit that provides mentoring and education programs to children, youth and adults to improve family lives in Kern County. The High Tea event recognizes women within the community that have shown exceptional community service and leadership. One of last year’s honoree’s was our very own History Professor Olivia Garcia.  This year’s recipients included Beverly Camp, Robin Fleming, Janice Varner, and Lili Marsh who founded the Bakersfield hub of Honor Flight.  Bravo to these strong, women who indeed have a heart for Bakersfield.

2017 recipient History Professor Olivia Garcia

Michelle Chantry, Olivia Garcia

National Nurses Week

In the midst of everything that is happening around the campus at the end of the year, we’d be remiss not to mention that May 6th through 12th is National Nurses Week, which recognizes the commitment of nurses around the country for protecting, promoting and improving health care for everyone. The American Nurses Association began celebrating National Nurses Week in 1954 in honor of Florence Nightingale, one of the founders of the modern nursing profession who was best known for treating soldiers wounded during the Crimean War in the 19th Century. This year’s theme for National Nurses Week was “Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence”, according to the American Nurses Association website.

Bakersfield College is proud of its nursing department and the work we’ve done to train healthcare professional across Kern County that save thousands of lives every day. Last fall, BC celebrated its 100th graduating class in nursing, and it’s amazing to think about all of the people whose lives have been saved over the last century by BC nursing graduates.

Kern Valley State Prison Debate

We had the unique opportunity to step inside Kern Valley State Prison’s B-Yard Monday, May 7th to participate in a Debate and Student Panel with BC’s Inmate Scholars Program.

The topic of the value proposition was to debate whether the American economy was better off by allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the country. The two debate teams consisted of five inmate scholars, who each presented their case either for the affirmative or opposition. In a well-articulated researched, and engaging manner these scholars courageously took to the podium and challenged themselves and the audience through thought-provoking reasoning.

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Chelsea Esquibias presenting about Inmate Education

This event gave the scholars an opportunity to showcase their communication skills and share with us their aspirations and future goals through education. There were a lot of heartfelt emotions bravely shared that day. Not to mention, a much deserved standing ovation for Chelsea Esquibias (Program Director) and Ms. Smith (faculty member) who have undeniably changed lives in their work with the Inmate Education Program.

Since 2015, incidents of violence on B-yard has decreased 39% due to education and the formation of the debate team, according to a member of the Inmate Education Advisory Committee. Another scholar noted that before BC’s Inmate Education Program began, his ”lens on life was blurred, broken, and limited.” And now through education he has “a lens of love, kindness, and opportunity regardless of race, color, or creed.”

As part of our mission statement, Bakersfield College “provides opportunities for students from diverse economic, cultural, and educational backgrounds…to think critically, communicate effectively, and demonstrate competencies and skills in order to engage productively in their communities and the world.” No matter your circumstance or where you find yourself in life, I believe BC can provide a pathway towards opportunity.

The Links, Incorporated closing celebration this morning at Emerson Middle School

The Links, Incorporated has partnered with BC in the last year to focus on providing middle school and high school students and parents the opportunity to learn more about educational pathways in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math).  Professors Kimberly Chin and Nick Strobel, and staff members from Job Placement with Stephanie Baltazar, have helped lead sessions for these students and parents in the past year, among others from BC.

Today, Professor Chin’s students performed monologues they prepared for the participants and parents. Odella Johnson, retired Professor, and Debra Strong, who currently works in the health center, made the connection with BC.

 

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We are BC Dang It!

At this busy time of year I love to hear stories of triumphant student success as they are the ultimate joys of higher education. Paul Beckworth shared with me his experience of a student no longer in distress:

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I love my job!

I ran across a student I worked with before who had been distraught and discouraged to the point to where she wanted to drop her classes. I encouraged her not to do so and walked her to the Writing Center, where Kim Arbolante started working with her.

I had not seen the student since that day. Well, I saw Wednesday afternoon and she told me that she not only stayed enrolled, she passed her class!  She only has two more classes to go for her degree, and she’s already signed up for summer school.  She did not have graduation in her head. I basically ran her over to A&R at 5:25 where Linda Allday told her what to do TO GRADUATE AND WALK THIS FRIDAY NIGHT!  This time tears of frustration were replaced with tears of joy.

I know we are all tired but this is why we do what we do!

We are BC dang it!

Fun Photos

Talking about Paul Beckworth, I loved this selfie that he took at graduation

Paul Beckworth, Sonya Christian selfie May 11 2018 Commencement

 

I grabbed these three photos from Robert Boyles’ Facebook posts

Photo by Robert Boyles - Lighting up the stadium

Photo by Robert Boyles

Photo by Robert Boyles - Tom Moran signing

Photo by Robert Boyles — Greg Chamberlain, Tom Moran signing

 

Photo by Robert Boyles - Sonya Christian

Photo by Robert Boyles — Sonya Christian

 

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BC Librarians

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Photo of Sonya Christian by Manny Moutzanos

 

Sonya Christian 2 Commencement May 11 2018

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Thankful for the Many Blessings at BC

Happy Thanksgiving Bakersfield!

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Sonya Christian

With the holidays here, we often tend to find our thoughts drifting towards some common themes. Food, family, faith, friends, celebrations, and did I mention good food? It is a special time to be with our families and remind ourselves of the things for which we are thankful. Not tangible possessions; but the things that truly count, and that enrich our lives beyond measure.

 

 

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It would be nearly impossible to complete a list of things for which my heart is thankful… because the list grows every week. But, I’d like to share just a few in no particular order:

We are BC! and in addition, we are a family. The bonds we have formed with our colleagues have become friendships and we work together achieving our mission, upholding our core values, and relentlessly supporting our students to reach their maximum potential and educational goals. Our campus is a place of true hope, transformation, and dreams. The opportunities we have to change lives is an incredible blessing and I’m left without words considering both the purpose and the privilege we have to be the pillar of hope in the lives of our students.

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I’m thankful for quality affordable education we provide. We foster our core value of learning by empowering all students and ultimately transforming our community into one that gives a healthy voice and strength to all people.

Core Value of Learning

I’m thankful for each and every one of the staff, faculty, and administrators … for their unique talents and multitude of gifts; for what they bring to the campus each day; for what they offer to our community; for their heart and passion to educate and to make a difference in the lives of our students.

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2017-18 SGA Leadership

To my BC family, thank you for making BC a successful and beautiful place to call our second home. May the gifts of love, peace, and happiness be with you and your families this holiday season.

 

2017 President's Cabinet June 5 2017

 

 

Before the Kern Promise April 28 2017

 

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I’m thankful for our community and the neighborhoods of Bakersfield, Delano, Shafter, Arvin, Lamont, Wasco, McFarland, and more. Your support has been unwavering and strong. Thank you for accepting Bakersfield College into the heart of your community. For over 100 years, BC has been bringing academic excellence and social consciousness into the lives of our students, regardless of their academic program, education path, or demographic differences. At the same time, the college has evolved into a multifaceted institution that serves more students than ever imagined at the time it was founded.

A few days ago, I saw a piece in The Bakersfield Californian titled “Valley Voices: Americans should share more than a meal on Thanksgiving” by David Mas Masumoto. In the piece, David says, “Across the nation, we need conversations more than ever. People are not talking with each other. We yell or are silent. Many of us seem to be harboring an anger, fueled by news of scandal, disaster, shootings, politics. We live in a polarized world.” He continued, ” Let’s use this opportunity to engage.”

Visit from McCarthy’s office.

We were happy to host visitors from Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s Office this week — Emma Rindels, stationed in DC, and Adam Falk here in Bakersfield.  Paul Beckworth and Armando Trujillo briefed them on our Veterans Services and showed them the rendering of the future Veterans Resource Center.

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Paul Beckworth, Adam Falk, Emma Rindels, Armando Trujillo

Renegades at the Patriotic Bowl

Sonya Christian with Elijah Ortiz’ mom at Patriotic Bowl in Long Beach

Sonya Christian with Elijah Ortiz’ mom at Patriotic Bowl in Long Beach

Last weekend, I enjoyed visiting Long Beach to cheer on the Renegade football team at the Patriotic Bowl. Jon Mettus at The Bakersfield Californian covered the game in his article, “Renegades’ football season ends with bowl loss.” Although it’s not how we would have wanted to end the season, our athletes have so much to be proud of this year.

During the game, I went to sit with Elijah Ortiz‘s mom. Elijah is a Renegade freshman from Stockdale High School and a key member of our football team leading the way with over a 1000 yards on offense with 13 touchdowns including a 4 touchdown performance against Moorpark on Oct. 15th. He is a solid student with a criminal justice major.

Panthers and Renegades

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Corny Rodriguez presenting on stage.

On Tuesday, November 15th, Panthers and Renegades partnered up to celebrate Parents as Partners Event. Corny Rodriguez represented Bakersfield College in a packed auditorium and shared his inspirational story. With an auditorium at full capacity Corny moved several parents to tears, and many of them claimed it was the most memorable and educational event they had ever experienced. A total of 580 parents and students took part in this evening. The Edison School District thanks you! Panthers and Renegades ROCK!

 

Erica Andrews Superintendent, Robert Arreola Trustee (BC Alumni), Corny Rodriguez, Isabel Castaneda Trustee (BC Alumni)

Erica Andrews Superintendent, Robert Arreola Trustee (BC Alumni), Corny Rodriguez, Isabel Castaneda Trustee (BC Alumni)

BC’s ASL Program

ASL workshop

Jaclyn Krause teaming with Cheri Allard. Cheri was voice interpreting for a board member who could not attend. Cindy Herbst, Beth Lilley, and Kayelle Morgan look on

ASL Program faculty members, Tom Moran and Jaclyn Krause, hosted the Southern California Registry Interpreters of the Deaf on Saturday, Nov. 18th at BC’s Levan Center.

Moran and Krause are developing an English/ASL Interpreter Training Program at BC, the first in the ASL Program’s 46 year history. Their first cadre of students started the program this semester. There is a chronic shortage of trained American Sign Language interpreters at Bakersfield College, in Kern County, and throughout the United States.

The morning began with SCRID’s monthly business meeting, which was conducted entirely in American Sign Language. BC ITP students were invited to attend to practice their voice interpreting skills. Because one board member had to participate remotely, a practicum opportunity presented itself. With support from Jaclyn Krause, BC ITP student Cheri Allard provided voice interpreting over the phone for the absent board member for two hours.

 

Tom Moran fingerspelling

Tom Moran fingerspelling

Following a one hour lunch break, there was a workshop facilitated by Tom Moran on the topics of fingerspelling and ASL classifiers. In addition to SCRID board members, others who attended the workshop were Bakersfield community and educational interpreters, BC ASL students, and ITP students from as far away as Pomona and Mt. San Antonio College. Like the board meeting, the workshop was conducted entirely in ASL.

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Cyndy and Kim, the SCRID Professional Development Committee co-chairs who brought SCRID to Bakersfield College.

Krause and Moran were especially pleased to see Kim Tripney. Kim was in Moran’s very first ASL B1 class fifteen years ago. She graduated from BC with an AA degree in American Sign Language and went on to CSUN where she earned a BA degree in Deaf Studies. Since then, she has become a busy interpreter in LA and Orange County, working at Long Beach City College, Purple Communications, and Disneyland, where she is part of a team of interpreters who provide access to Deaf park visitors.

ASL Interpreting Workshop Group Photo

Moran and the SCRID board. Cynthia Herbst, back row, far right, is a faculty emeritus from LA Valley Pierce College who taught interpreting for many years. She has been instrumental in assisting Moran and Krause to get the interpreting program up and running. She is also of Basque ancestry, so she asked the group to join her at the Pyrenees Café for a traditional Basque feast.

As the interpreting program gains steam, they anticipate training many more sign language interpreters to address the dire need in Kern County and throughout California and the United States. The certificate program will provide students with the skills to obtain state credentialing, pursue gainful employment, and to serve the Deaf Community in Bakersfield, Kern County, and beyond.

For all the photos, visit Tom Moran’s SmugMug page.

Adjunct Faculty Hiring Fair

Bakersfield College has been growing at a steady and impressive pace as it serves our students and community. With such growth comes a need for more professors so we’ve recently held two Adjunct Faculty Hiring Fairs to provide potential applicants with information on the hiring process, and opportunities to complete applications on the spot. The first date took place on November 4th and we had over 60 interested guests in attendance. On the second date, November 7th, we had over 110 in attendance.

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Andrea Thorson, Dena Rhoades, Mike Ivey, Helen Acosta

Thank you to Dena Rhoades, Cornelio Rodriguez, Bill Moseley, and Andrea Thorson.

KCCD’s Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, Tonya Davis, even posted about the events.

 

Tonya Davis HR

1984 at BC

1984 Program

Program from 1984

Director Kimberly Chin and the students and staff of the BC Performing Arts Department performed another successful production in the Indoor Theater last weekend, bringing the theatrical adaptation of George Orwell’s “1984” to life.

Orwell’s message about the dangers of totalitarianism continues to resonate today, and it took a lot of work to bring that message to life. Without the hard work of Kimberly Chin, Tech Director Kevin Ganger, and all of the actors, stage, set, costume and sound design crew, none of it would be possible. I’d also like to thank our graphic designer Eric Carillo for creating the poster, program and promotional materials.

Men’s Wrestling

Mens Wrestling

Bakersfield College placed fourth as a team and brought home four medals from The Brawl At East Los Angeles College.

BC Wrestling brought home three 2nd place medals and a consolation championship from The Brawl Tournament at East Los Angeles College Saturday.

Pedro Ramirez, Marco Velasque, and Zavion Roberson were BC’s top finishers, while Braden Riley nabbed the consolation championship with his third place finish.

The Renegades will host the Southern California Regional Championships on Saturday, December 2nd, in the Gil Bishop Sports Center with action beginning at 10am.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Members of BC’s allies came together to honor the lives of transgender people who were murdered over the past year during the campus’ recognition of Transgender Day of Remembrance on Monday.

i-qfrbl6c-x3Since the founding of Transgender Day of Remembrance in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to memorialize the murder of her friend Rita Hester, members of the transgender community and its supporters worldwide have come together every year on November 20th to list the names of transgender individuals who were killed. Attendees to BC’s event in Fireside read the name and a short biography for each of the 27 transgender people killed in the United States. The number is likely higher, since family members often misreport a murdered individual’s gender.

Approximately 29 percent of transgender adults have attempted suicide in their lifetimes, and 55 percent have thought about committing suicide. This is at a rate of 14 to 22 times higher than the general population, according to a cross-university study published in the journal Transgender Health. Progress is being made toward increasing transgender acceptance in American society, including the election of several transgender politicians across the US this November, but a lot of work still needs to be done.

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Helen Acosta

Prof. Helen Acosta spoke about how to foster an environment of safety and acceptance that discourages violence, discrimination and misunderstanding about the transgender community. UCLA’s Williams Institute published a survey in January 2014 examining the root causes of the increase in suicidal tendencies among transgender and other gender non-conforming adults. It found that suicide attempt rates decrease with support from family and friends and the absence of harassment or bullying at any level of school.

Here is BC’s core value of Diversity.

Core Value of Diversity

A movie holiday weekend.

So this weekend it was Marvel’s Justice League and then Blade Runner 2049.  Although both movies did not get the best reviews (in fact, Justice League got a star and a half), I enjoyed both.  Probably because I am a die-hard Marvel movie fan as well as Blade Runner fan.  If you have not seen Blade Runner 2049, I’ll warn you that it is close to 3 hours long.  Here is the review by A.O.Scott of the NY Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/02/movies/blade-runner-2049-review-ryan-gosling-harrison-ford.html?_r=0

Neo

November 21, 2017 

Neo Nov 21 2017

 

November 23, 2017

November 25, 2017

Sonya Christian and Neo Nov 25 2017

 

KernPromiseEven-042817 Sonya Christian ASL PromiseThat’s all for now.  

 

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever