As Bakersfield College turns 100, we celebrate years of accomplishment and impact. One way that we are celebrating is to recognize 100 alumni, retirees, or community members who had a great impact on Bakersfield College as our Bakersfield College 100 stars.
If you have photos or additional information about our stars to put on this website, please contact the Marketing and Public Relations team at email@example.com.
Ahmed Abou Harb
Dr. John Caldwell
Ralph & Jan Carpenter
Dr. Romaine Clerou
The Damron Family
Alumni, Faculty & Staff
Dr. Jackie Fisher
Sen. Dean Florez
C. Robert Frapwell
David & Dean Gay/
Dr. Gregory Hageman
Mary Jane Johnson
Dr. Norm Levan
Charlie May Littlejohn
Ambassador Richard Miles
Dr. Augustine Munoz
Hank Pfister, Jr.
Dr. Robert Sheldon
Mary Kay Shell
Dr. Ed Simonsen
Dr. Bill Thomas
Grace Van Dyke Bird
Jim Wren, Sr.
Milt & Betty Younger
Ahmed Abou Harb graduated from the culinary arts program in May 2013. He was nominated by his son Yousef.
Mr. Harb’s instructors describe him as a gentleman, someone who is trying very hard to improve his language skills and who was determined to succeed.
Mr. Harb was chosen by the committee, not because he was famous or had broken any world records, but because of what he had done to help his family. He is an example of the hundreds of our students who are now not in the country of their birth, but who are working hard to gain the skills they need to succeed here in the United States, and to teach their children the honor that is inherent in working hard to improve themselves.
Mr. Harb has done this.
My dad attended college in the middle east, and when we moved to the U.S in 2005 he noticed that the education he revived was not enough so he kept on trying he just turned 60 this year and he also graduated from the culinary arts program on 5/10/13 he proved to me that education is a very important thing no matter who you are or how old you are. I'm really proud of my dad for his accomplishments!
-- Yousef Abou Harb
Dr. Alexander is an alum of Bakersfield College. He went on to earn his BA and DDS from UCLA. Since the mid-80s he has provided free dental care to Bakersfield College football players and other athletes. He is recognized as the Bakersfield College team dentist and has provided support to the Bakersfield College Helmet Club and other athletic and academic organizations.
His wife and three daughters are also graduates of Bakersfield College.
-- Nominator Victoria Trichell
Dr. Bill Baker was also a player on the BC Renegades Football team, and was encouraged to become a Doctor by Dr. Romain Clerou. He returned to Bakersfield and became the Renegade’s team doctor in 1977 upon the retirement of Dr. Clerou.
He has been a constant supporter of BC athletics, serving as team Dr for both men’s and women’s sports and for twice as many sports teams as previous Doctors, for the past 34 years.
Dr. Baker was a student at BC in 1968-70.He was a member of the Renegade football team both years. After his time at BC, he attended Univ. of San Diego, then on to medical school. Upon completion of his studies he returned to Bakersfield and began his medical practice. In 1978 he began assisting Dr. Romaine Clerou as the team doctor For all BC athletic teams. He continues to serve the student athletes at BC and is now is in his 35th year of serving our college.
This past year he was elected to the Bob Elias Kern Co. Athletic Hall of Fame and the Foothill HS Athletic Hall of Fame. He truly deserves to be a part of your 100 people recognized in this celebration.
-- Walt Johnson
Team doctor for many years. Very generous in serving BC athletics.
-- Jerry Ludeke
Most well known as Commander Chakotay on Star Trek: Voyager.
He attended East Bakersfield High and Bakersfield College.
He founded the East LA Classic Theater Group and collaborated in the LaRouche Youth Movement and won a Nosotros Golden Eagle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Series and was nominated for the NCLR Bravo Award as well as the ALMA Award.
Student, early 80s or late 70s
A steady working actor including Star Trek Voyager. Has a sister with Down's syndrome, and has worked for the cause.
-- Barbara Braid
Mr. Gil Bishop came to Bakersfield as a teacher and coach at East High School. His primary coaching jobs were as head track coach of basketball and track, and in 1947 he was asked by BC Athletic Director Ed Simonsen to be the public-address announcer for Renegade home football games at Griffith Field.
This started his longtime announcing career for the BC Renegades that lasted off and on until 1979 and covered football, basketball, and his favorite, track and field, as well as the US Olympic trials in Lake Tahoe.
In 1953, Simonsen asked Bishop to coach the BC basketball team and he had more wins than any other league basketball coach in the years he coached.
In 1954, Bishop was asked to be the B.C. Athletic Director, and he served in this capacity from 1954 to 1968 when he resigned to be Dr. Ed Simonsen’s administrative assistant at the District Office when “Si” became the Chancellor of the newly formed Kern Community College District.
While announcing the Olympic Trials, Bishop saw the new 3-M urethane track with the product name “Tartan” that would be the same type used at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.
That began his desire to move the Memorial Stadium track from dirt to tartan track—an all-weather surface ranked the best in the world. Through using the relationships he had developed throughout his career, Gil Bishop obtained an exceptional bid from 3M to build the track and commitments from community members to cover the remainder of the costs with promises from Bishop that the stadium would offer track and field events that would bring in top athletes and cover the cost of the track through ticket sales.
Through his efforts and commitment, Memorial Stadium remained competitive for major track and field meets.
Upon his retirement, the B.C. Gymnasium was renamed “Gil Bishop Sports Center” in honor of his many contributions to the college.
Gil Bishop's daughter accepted his 100 Stars of Bakersfield College award on his behalf.
Robbie Gonzales Bonas was voted numerous honors during her career as a student at BC, including homecoming queen, head song leader, and was an active member of the Newman Club.
She married and raised 3 daughters, one of whom assisted in nominating her for this award.
She returned to BC in 1992, and served as the key support person for numerous deans.
She was known on campus for her kindness and patient nature.
Carl Bowser was an all-conference football player at Bakersfield College
Coach Bowser began his career at Bakersfield College as an assistant coach in 1967, taking over as head coach in 1984.
He retired in 1994 after 11 seasons at the helm, compiling an impressive 83-31-1 record with eight conference championships, one state title and one national championship.
His teams played in six bowl games and Carl is a four-time conference coach of the year and California Community College Coach of the Year in 1988.
Carl Bowser was also Director of Athletics at Bakersfield College for 7 years.
Mr. Carl Bowser - Carl grew up near Bakersfield High School watching football practices. He sometimes would take rides home on the bicycle handlebars of such Drillers as Frank Gifford. Carl attended and played football as a starter for BHS and Bakersfield College. He taught and coached in high schools then came to B.C. in 1977 and served as an assistant football coach for seven years. He was elevated to Head Football Coach of the Renegades in 1984 and served for eleven impressive seasons with a win-loss record of 83-31-3. His Renegades won eight Metropolitan Conference football titles, seven Potato Bowl games, and his 1988 team went undefeated with an 11-0 record and finished the season defeating Fullerton 30-24 in the Potato Bowl Game at Memorial Stadium. That team was named California and National JC Football champs by Grid Wire.
A story that should not be forgotten: Carl Bowser with Larry Austin and Joe Copeland.
It was October 29, 1960, and the Cal Poly Mustangs had just played and lost to Bowling Green University in Ohio. Their plane was taking off from the Toledo Airport when it crashed. Carl Bowser survived but seventeen players and one booster were instantly killed. Two of the dead were Carl’s best friends from Bakersfield, Larry Austin and Joe Copeland. Larry and Joe had been born one day apart in the same hospital in Bakersfield. Their mothers had become friends in the hospital and the boys grew up playing together. Copeland became the popular Student Body President at Bakersfield High School during the 1954-1955 school year and the three friends played football for the Drillers, Renegades, and Mustangs. Larry and Joe were sitting together in the plane when they died. Carl named his first son “Larry Joe” after his two friends.
-- Bob Covey
For many people at Bakersfield College, you cannot mention BC alumni without thinking of the name John Boydstun.
John was a yell leader at BC and continues as a strong vocal supporter for Bakersfield College in the community.
He was founding president of the BC Alumni Association and has stayed active in the organization (now in his 90s) and in his dedication to BC he has produced those famous football coin purses every year. After leaving Bakersfield College he became a real estate agent, and is now the longest licensed, oldest active, real estate licensee in California if not in the entire US.
His impact on Bakersfield College continues to this day as his granddaughter currently teaches in PE for us.
And it widely agreed that tailgate parties and alumni activities would not be the same without John Boydstun there, reminding us of the rich background of Bakersfield College.
Cheerleader at BC and continues as cheerleader for BC in the community. Was founding president of the BC Alumni Association and has stayed active (now in 90s). Was the youngest active realtor in CA and now the oldest active realtor in CA. Granddaughter teaches in PE now.
-- Jerry Ludeke
In addition to being an excellent black history professor, he was a dynamic role model in the community. I understand he was also an excellent track and field competitor of BC and a close dear friend of many administrators and coaches.
Jesse Bradford was born in Shafter and was recruited by John Collins in 1958 to run track. During his time at Bakersfield College he broke the BC records in the 100 yard dash, the pole vault and the 220 low hurdles. He then transferred to Arizona State and was a stand-out athlete in both Track and Field and Football. He completing a Masters’ Degree in History in 1965 and was hired at South Bakersfield High School to teach history.
In 1968 he was hired to teach history at BC and was only the second African-American hired to teach at Bakersfield College and was asked to help coach the track team in 1969, which he did until 1990. From 1990 to 2005, the team’s “Most Valuable Male Track Athlete” award was given in Bradford’s honor and was named the “Jesse Bradford Most Valuable Track Athlete”.
Jesse Bradford retired from Bakersfield College and has since passed.
The fellow employee who nominated Jesse said in his nomination: In addition to being an excellent black history professor, he was a dynamic role model in the community. He was also an excellent track and field competitor of BC and a close dear friend of many administrators and coaches.
Barrington Lewis accepted the award on behalf of Jesse Bradford.
Carl Bryan graduated from East Bakersfield High School in 1963. He attended and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Following college, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam for 19 months.
He returned to Bakersfield in 1972 and went to work for his father in the Prudential Insurance business.
By chance, in 1973 Gil Bishop asked Carl if he might like to work at a home track meet and that started his working as a volunteer at Bakersfield College home events. At the track meets, he started as a high jump official and did that for eight track seasons.
In 1981, Carl accepted the invitation offered by coach Bob Covey to begin announcing the B.C. home track and field in Memorial Stadium. As of 2013, he has thirty-three seasons in that position.
Because of his knowledge of the sport and strong voice, he was invited by other meet administrators to announce other track and field meets. He has worked many major high school and youth track and field meets in the San Joaquin Valley, six State Community College Track & Field Championship meets, thirteen high school Valley championships,two NAIA national meets, two national Junior Olympics meets, the World Masters Track & Field Meet, and for the last two years he has been the announcer of the California State High School Track & Field Meet.
In 2013, Carl Bryan will have finished two-hundred separate sports’ seasons as a sports’ announcer of Bakersfield College - and that includes eight seasons each in men’s and women’s track and field as a high jump official, and one-hundred eighty four athletic seasons as the public address announcer for ten Renegade athletic teams.
He stated with his characteristic strong voice that he enjoys being recognized as “the Voice of the Renegades” and is proud of his work.
He is perfectly accurate and knows that good announcers of sporting events are extremely valuable and hard to find.
John is a Bakersfield native who attended Bakersfield High School and Bakersfield College where he ran track and cross country under Bob Covey.
In 1970 and 71 he was cross-country co-captain and was recognized as the best scholar on the track team. He continued in athletics with a track scholarship to the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy where he graduated with honors and a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree in 1974.
John spent his professional career at Kern Medical Center where he had the opportunity to participate in pharmacy practice, medical education and research. In collaboration with the excellent faculty of the internal medicine department he authored or co-authored more than more than 19 publications and 37 abstracts in pharmacology and infectious disease, especially valley fever.
He was an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at UCLA and received Board Recognition in Pharmacotherapy from the American Board for Pharmaceutical Specialties in 1991. Dr. Caldwell also initiated a pharmacy practice residency program, which has provided an opportunity for postgraduate training for local pharmacists.
John has been married to Diana Crown Caldwell for 42 years. They have three children all who attended Bakersfield College and went on to complete college degrees. John continues to work part-time, serve in his church and enjoy his six grandchildren.
Ralph and Jan Carpenter fell in love on the University of Arizona campus nearly 75 years ago. They led full and happy lives with their three children and seven-decade marriage.
They spent much of their time traveling the world and most of their time at home serving the community in Delano.
Ralph started his journey to Delano when he left the East Coast on his brand-new motorcycle in 1933 at the age of 19. In his cross-country trek, he ran into a cow, totaling his motorcycle. The mishap forced Ralph to ride a freight train the rest of the way to Tucson, Arizona.
He arrived in the Old Pueblo with less than three dollars in his pocket. Ralph joined the Delta Chi fraternity and selected Journalism as his major.
In 1937, he met (and would later marry) Jan Hemenway. Ralph moved to New York City after graduation and worked as a steward on a ship, sailing in and out of Hamburg, Germany. Jan stayed in Arizona and got her degree playing the Cello. After they married, they settled in Greenwich Village in New York City. Ralph was still working as a steward sailing to ports in South America. Jan found a job as a secretary for the Head of the National Association of Manufacturers.
After Pearl Harbor was bombed, Ralph enlisted in the Navy for three years and served as a gunnery officer on the USS Kitty Hawk, a railroad transport ship used to deliver men, airplanes and ammunition to the South Pacific. Jan moved to San Diego to be near her husband.
After his time in the Navy, Ralph was in search of a non-union paper, and Delano, California, was the first town he visited on his way up the Central Valley. After a few years of working, and with two other newspapers in Delano, he realized his future in Journalism did not look very promising.
Ralph liked Delano, stayed, and decided to sell life and health insurance, which he did successfully until he retired at the age of 80.
The Carpenters always gave back to the Delano community. Jan founded and served on the Delano Music Memorial Foundation board. The board provided financial assistance to promising music students to include internationally celebrated soprano and Grammy award winning opera singer, Benita Valente.
Jan’s love of music was something she shared and it was common for her to play at various community events. In the late 60s and early 70s, the Carpenters -- along with Delano’s mayor -- decided to establish a Delano college so students could get a local education.
They were the driving force, and main contributors to establish the Bakersfield College, Delano College Center and Delano College Center Foundation. Ralph held firmly, “No student would be turned away for lack of ability to pay”. The foundation provided over a million dollars in scholarships and book awards since 1972. Ralph died on June 23, 2010, at age 95 and Jan died the next year on April 18, at age 93. We will not forget the effort and contributions Ralph and Jan Carpenter made over their lifetime and the impact they have made on the lives of so many.
The Carpenters’ generous nature and commitment lives on in our Delano Campus students and makes them truly deserving of recognition as Bakersfield College Centennial Stars.
John Drow received the award on behalf of the Carpenters.
Irma Cervantes was born and raised in Delano, CA, to Mexican Immigrant parents and worked in the grape vineyards with her mother every summer during high school. She is a graduate of Delano High School and attended Bakersfield College from 1996 to 1997. She transferred to continue her Communication studies at California State University, Bakersfield.
She was awarded a Bachelor’s Degree and came back to complete her Masters Degree in Public Administration. For 14 years, she was an award winning Journalist as Producer/News Reporter for Univision Bakersfield/Fresno.
She won two Emmy Awards, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, and a Golden Mike Award for Human Interest stories documenting the struggles and accomplishments of local central valley citizens. She is the first bilingual Public Affairs representative at California State University, Bakersfield.
She is an active member of several Journalism and Public Affairs and Administration organizations. She is an energetic member of our community and volunteers for several non-profit organizations on a regular basis. She frequently interacts with youth and speaks at local colleges and public schools. She discusses her own experiences, encourages youth to set goals and pursue their dreams, and is a strong advocate for education in the Central Valley.
Irma’s award winning work in Journalism and continued support of our community makes her a BC shining star and most deserving of this recognition.
It’s safe to say that without Morris B. Chain, one of the most prominent lawyers in Kern County history, there would be no Bakersfield College Renegades.
That’s because Chain, who played BC football for three years, dubbed the team as the” Renegades” in the 1920s.
Chain, who attended elementary and secondary schools in Bakersfield, also graduated from BC. He studied law at University of Southern California and eventually returned to Bakersfield, where he founded his own law firm in 1934.
He quickly rose to prominence throughout our community and in local courts, building his reputation as a champion of the underdog and laying the foundation for what has become San Joaquin Valley’s leading law firm. Awarded the coveted Bar and Bench Award by the Kern County Bar Association in 1976, local dignitaries described Chain as “one of the most remarkable men in the history of the community, and certainly in the history of the legal community of Kern County.”
Chain died in 1977. Today, Chain | Cohn | Stiles – celebrating its 80-year anniversary this year – carries on Morris Chain’s tradition of justice and community service.
David Cohn, a member of the Chain, Cohn and Stiles Law Firm, accepted the award on behalf of Morris Chain.
Vernon Chappel was the male yell leader whom everyone loved and looked forward to seeing return to BC.
The comment most often given by fellow alumni about Vernon is, “Oh, that voice!”
He helped with the cheer squad training for the years after when he was still in town. Then he returned every year for homecoming much to the crowd’s delight. He could whip up enthusiasm like no one else.
After leaving Bakersfield College, Vernon Chappel devoted over 35 years to the Music Ministry and was a popular gospel songwriter with “Jehovah We Praise You” being his most popular song. He also developed a mentoring program called Vernon Chappel Ministries to help others called to Gospel Music.
Vernon Chappel passed away last January and he is greatly missed.
Vernon was the black male cheerleader whom “everyone” loved. He helped with the cheer squad training for the years after when he was still in town. Then he returned every year for homecoming much to the crowd’s delight. He could whip up enthusiasm like no one else.
-- Jerry Ludeke
Audrey Chavez was a student in my public speaking class. She is also a much loved community leader and I am happy to call her my friend. After her brother, Ricky Montoya, died of AIDS, Audrey established the first AIDS Hospice home in Bakersfield. Since the early 90s Ricky's retreat has provided a sanctuary of love, acceptance and care for people as they pass from this world. In addition to Ricky's Retreat, Audrey began and continues to be a driving force behind Bakersfield AIDS project. Bakersfield AIDS project supports people affected by HIV/AIDS and their families throughout the city.
Every year BAP provides GET bus passes, holiday meals, back to school supplies, a children's camp during Spring Break and continuous advocacy for people in the city affected by HIV/AIDS.
Audrey and her husband Martin have become the heart of the Bakersfield LGBTQ community. Everyone knows that if you need a hug, Audrey will always greet you with open arms.
-- Helen Acosta
I have met Audrey several times at fundraising events that she has hosted. Even more, I know her by her reputation and acts. She is an extremely warm, caring, active person who puts a ton of work into the community.
-- Gloria Dumler
Dr. Romain Clerou is legendary in the annals of BC. Dr. Clerou played football at BC in 1934 and 35 as a guard and was named to the All-central California JC Conference Football Team.
Upon leaving Bakersfield College he went to medical school. He returned to Bakersfield, and became the head team doctor from 1946-78 and was a staple at all BC football games- both home and away-- unit his death, standing on the sidelines with his signature red beret and cigar.
His colleagues said of him, “You would be hard pressed to find a person more caring, more generous, more passionate about his profession or a person who has touched more lives than Romain Clerou.”
Dr. Clerou is legendary in the annals of BC. Played football as a student. Became a doctor. Became and stayed the main team doctor throughout his working career going to all games, home and away, wearing his red beret.
-- Jerry Ludeke
Born hard of hearing , Cody Colchado was raised in Bakersfield. While playing football for Foothill High, Cody incurred an injury which left him visually impaired and later totally blind.
In the 1990’s he attended Bakersfield College where he also worked as a teacher’s assistant to Cathy Moretti in the adaptive PE class and was also a strength and conditioning coach to the woman’s basketball team under coach Paula Dahl.
He transferred to the University of Texas at Pan American where he eventually earned a Masters Degree in Kinesiology with a minor in adaptive physical education
As a lifetime member of the United States Association of Blind Athletes, Cody is a three time national champion in track and field, and a 26 time world champion in Power-lifting for the able body and disabled division. He also holds 21 world records in the squat, bench press, dead lift and total for IBSA, IBPF, WABDL, WPA, and USAPL and has earned 12 best lifter awards.
He has is a red belt in Tae kwon-Do and has won aÂ national championship in board breaking.
In November 2012, he was inducted into the World Association Benchers and Deadlifters Hall of Fame.
He has represented our country 8 times as part of Team USA for the United States Association of Blind Athletes. He has been a Team USA assistance coach for 8 years and a Team Captain 4 times. He was also a flag bearer for the opening ceremonies twice.
Cody has been a featured speaker at many organizations has been a mentor and coach to blind youth.
Cody was a student here at BC and helped out with my basketball team. He took my health class and was enrolled in my weight training class. I would always laugh when he would ask me to spot him. I remember the day he was called to go to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado and he asked me for advice.
It was absolutely amazing. He was an inspiration to all of us. I am attaching an article by Herb Behnam that will allow you to see the difficulties he has faced and the man he has become.
-- Paula Dahl
Photo: Cody Colchado Jr. dead-lifts 644 pounds in the International Blind Sports Powerliifting and Bench Press World Championships held in Reno, Nev., in 2007
Dr. John Collins was a California native who graduated from Cal with a Bachelor’s degree in 1940. Later, in 1953, he received a Master’s degree from Cal, and eventually a Doctorate in Education from UCLA.
Dr. Collins was drafted into the United States Army in 1941 and served in the Army in the South Pacific during World War II. He commanded an anti-tank Company , including fighting in the battles on Saipan and Okinawa. Dr. Collins was honorably discharged as a Captain after the war and was always proud of his Combat Infantry Badge.
In 1955, Dr. Collins began teaching and coaching at Bakersfield College while it was still at the Bakersfield High School campus. Dr. Collins taught history and sociology, was a counselor and the Cross Country and Track Coach. In the fall of 1957, Bakersfield College won the State Cross Country Championship and in the spring of 1958 the Bakersfield College track team won the Southern California title and was second in the State, something he was very proud of.
In 1958, Dr. Collins was promoted to Director of Student Activities. Three years later, he was named Dean of Students at Bakersfield College. In 1966, Dr. Collins accepted a position as the first President of Moorpark College.
In 1972, John Collins returned to Bakersfield as President of Bakersfield College.
During his tenure as president, Dr. Collins John was a strong advocate for academic freedom in the classroom and the ability for faculty to choose the books used in their classrooms, arguing this issue before the Board of Trustees.
In addition, Dr. Collins supported the appearance of controversial speakers on campus, defending the value of speakers presenting all points of view on a college campus. Dr. Collins served as President of Bakersfield College until he retired in 1983. After retiring, Dr. Collins started his second career as a consultant for the Kern Community College District. He worked in this capacity for 25 years. During this time, he was active in the Bakersfield College Foundation and the Bakersfield College Archives.
And he never stopped learning, taking a woodworking class from Gary Cox after one of his retirements so that he could make fine furniture.
Altogether, Dr. Collins had 63 years in education, retiring for the third time in 2009. By the age of 91, Collins had been a teacher, coach, counselor, dean and college president.
Comments about Dr. Collins include, "He was just a brilliant and gentle and marvelous human being. I can't say enough about him." -- Bob Covey
“He was always a great leader but never had a big ego. Although he was courageous and confident, you never felt that John was puffed up about it. There was no sense that when he walked into a room that everything had to stop." -- Jack Hernandez
"He was incredibly bright, patient and hard-working, but very caring about making sure what we were doing was helping students," -- Greg Chamberlain
A comment in his obituary does a good job summarizing Dr. Collins: Do the work, spare the accolades.
But this is one accolade that we will not spare.
When you look at all that Bakersfield College is today, you see Dr. John Collin’s fingerprints on many, many things. It is not an exaggeration to say that Bakersfield College would not be what it is today without his guidance and commitment.
Gerry is probably the best known person in town connected to BC and specifically to athletics. As a successful coach for many years of both football and baseball, he was honored with the naming of Collis Field, the baseball field. Always a consummate fund raiser, after retirement he continued to be the fundraiser for athletics. He was always sought after as a dinner speaker because he was so entertaining!
-- Jerry Ludeke
The Centennial Stars Steering Committee has selected Bob Covey as a recipient of a 100 Stars of Bakersfield College award for his impact upon the history and success of Bakersfield College.
During his 42 years as BC track and field coach, the Renegades won 22 conference titles and 10 cross country conference titles. His teams also won the California State Championship in 1971 and 1972. Coach Covey was inducted into the Bob Elias Kern County Hall of Fame in 1989.
He sat on multiple chairs and committees during his time at BC and his success and leadership as a coach and teacher on campus and the track will forever be remembered in the Bakersfield College history books.
But Bob Covey was not one to retire quietly - he may tie Gerry Collis for being well known in the community. His Track and Field Alumni Award Dinners are famous for their huge booklets filled with track information about scores, standings, and individuals and has expanded to include individuals in other sports that don’t get recognition.
He is often the go-to person for the Californian, the TV stations and anyone else hunting specific information concerning anything to do with BC or sports. And throughout this centennial year for Bakersfield College, Bob Covey has been a generous and reliable source of historical information who has greatly enriched this celebration.
One of Coach Covey’s students who threw the javelin for him, John-Michael Ruder, took the time to nominate Coach Cover for this award. In his description of Bob Covey he puts into words what many have expressed about Coach Covey:
Coach Covey was not only a coach, but a mentor, friend and teacher to thousands of people over is 40+ year tenure at BC.
And His colleague, Jerry Ludeke, describes Coach Covey as, “BC faithful through and through”
The BC Centennial 100 Stars committee is pleased to recognize Coach Bob Covey for his impact upon the institution and students of Bakersfield College.
George Culver attended Bakersfield College in 1962-1963 and was named all-Metropolitan Conference both years. He signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees in 1963 and played 9 seasons in MLB. The highlight of his career was throwing a no-hitterr for the Cincinnati Reds against the Philadelphia Phillies on July 29, 1968. He posted a record of 48 wins, 49 losses, and 27 saves with a career ERA of 3.30. George then went on to spend 30 years in the minor leagues as a manager, pitching coordinator, and pitching coach in both the Phillies and the Dodgers organizations.
He has spent the last 22 years as a supporter of Bakersfield College, which started when he began the BC Baseball Hot Stove Dinner as a means to upgrade the baseball facilities. The Hot Stove dinners generated over a million dollars, which provided lights for the BC baseball field, a state of the art clubhouse complete with showers, restrooms, laundry facilities, lockers, and coaches offices along with two new scoreboards and dugouts. BC is now considered one of the top Community College facilities in the nation and will proudly host the State JC championship again this year.
His work in the Bakersfield community has also helped raise money for the Cal State Bakersfield University baseball program plus help for the local high schools and various youth baseball groups. He brought baseball to the Police Athletic League for inner city kids in the Bakersfield area and has raised funds to purchase equipment and helped coach players in the PAL program.
George Culver is a true Mr. Baseball in the Bakersfield community. He has had outstanding athletic success as a community college student and as a major league baseball player and has exhibited outstanding qualities of leadership and citizenship in the Bakersfield community
One of the unique attributes of Bakersfield College is the strong commitment to the college by generations of families in the community. One example of this commitment to BC and to the football team is the Damron Family. 3 generations of the Damron family have attended and worked at Bakersfield college, both in the football program and in instruction.
DUANE DAMRON (dad and grandpa)
1 .Aprrox.36 years as Football Coach (offensive Coordinator) and Instructor
2. Part of two National Championship Teams 1976 and 1988
LYLE DAMRON (oldest brother)
1. 1975-76 Student and Offensive center on National Champ. Football Team in1976
2. Went on to graduate at Chico St.
1. 1977-78 Student and tight end (Offensive Captain /Most Inspirational Offensive Player)
2. Transferred to Colorado State to play 2 years
PAUL DAMRON (youngest brother)
1. 1980-81 Student and Defensive outside linebacker (bowl champs 1981)
2. Went on to play at Fresno St. and Graduate
SETH DAMRON (son of Brent)
1. 2006-07 Offensive Tight end
2. Member of two state play-off teams
3. Went on to play at Colorado Mesa Univ. and Graduate
-- Bonnie Suderman & Sandi Taylor
Mr. Bill Finch was another San Joaquin Valley boy, born in Coalinga in 1925, and moved with his family to Bakersfield in 1926. Growing up, he played all sports, but loved to swim and dive. In 1941 at Kern County Union High School, he swam on coach Bill Niederhauer’s water polo teams. They practiced at Jefferson Park Pool and Finch described the experience as “I froze my ass off”.
Bill graduated from KC High in 1943 as World War II raged. He joined the Navy Submarine Service and served on four boats in the Pacific before the war was over. In 1944 he had one opportunity to compete in a diving meet, the U.S. Navy’s Far West Championships, and he won the diving competition.
With the war over, Bill was released from service and in 1946 he entered Bakersfield Junior College. He played quarterback and linebacker on coach “Jack” Frost’s first post-war football team. He didn’t play in 1947 but returned to football in 1948 and it was, up to that time, probably the best Renegade football team in history. Led by Frank Gifford, Charlie Sarver, Fred Valentich, and Earl Gibbons, BJC went 10 and 1 losing the Metropolitan Conference title because of that one loss to El Camino College.
In 1948 and 1949, Finch joined the Renegade swimming and diving teams. As a diver in 1949, he placed second in the First California State Junior College Swimming and Diving Meet. It was held at Fullerton Junior College and Finch’s second place finish placed him on the “National Junior College Swimming and Diving All-American Team” and he was the first Renegade swimmer to be so honored.
After completing his junior college eligibility, Finch stayed in Bakersfield using his G.I. Bill to earn more college credits. In 1951 he graduated from BC and transferred to San Jose State. He was the Spartan’s water polo team captain for three years (1952, 1953, and 1954) and, as a diver, he placed in the 1952 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships earning All-American recognition.
In 1953, Finch was inducted into the Spartan Athletic Hall of Fame along with another Bakersfield Junior College product, NCAA pole vault champion Bill Priddy.
Finch returned to Bakersfield in 1957 to teach and coach at North Bakersfield High School. After one year coaching swimming and diving at North, he was hired to coach at the brand new South Bakersfield High School and stayed for two years before moving up to Bakersfield College. In 1960 Finch was approached by B.C. Athletic Director Gil Bishop and hired to come to Bakersfield College to coach gymnastics. Bill had coached three years of gymnastics in Northern California before returning to Bakersfield and Bishop needed a gymnastics coach to replace gymnastics coach Herb Loken who was back in Minnesota completing his Masters Degree. Finch only coached gymnastics one year, 1960, before Loken returned, but in the spring of 1961 Finch walked out to the B.C. Swimming Pool and offered to help swimming coach Jim Turner as his diving coach. It was the start of twenty-nine years of work with Turner and proved to be the start of the most unusual and successful swimming programs in Kern County. It was unusual because here were the only two Renegade coaches who earned All-American recognition, Turner as a University of California football player and Finch as a San Jose State diver. As B.C. coaches, they produced some of the best swimmers and divers in school history.
Finch coached at B.C. for twenty-nine years and Turner for thirty-eight.
Jackie Fisher was a BC student and football player from 1967 to 1969. In 1971, he transferred to California State University, Fresno, and earned a Bachelor's of Arts in 1973. He then went to California State University Bakersfield and earned a Master's of Arts in 1974. He earned his Ed. D. from University of La Verne Educational Leadership in 1994.
Jackie came back to BC in 1981 as part of the Fire Technology Program. In 1988 he became the Director of that program and eventually the Dean of Instruction in 1996. During this time he also earned his PhD at California State University Bakersfield.
In 1998 he was hired as an administrator by Antelope Valley College. In October of 2002 he was named College President of Antelope Valley and was always known as an approachable, popular, and effective leader.
In 2012, he was involved in a tragic automobile accident not of his own fault and all in the car were seriously injured
and one, his grandson, was killed. His injuries forced him to retire from AVC.
He was always a credit to his family and his profession. On retirement, he is back in Bakersfield and is always a supporter of Bakersfield College.
Born in Shafter in 1963, he lived for a time in migrant workers housing outside Shafter,Â graduated from Shafter High School, attended Bakersfield College where he lettered two years in track, graduated from UCLA, and ran on the Democratic ticket for the Assembly and has written and supported important legislation to lower college costs, cleaner air, farm workers’ safety, on ways to require and check accountability of State legislators, and a tsunami warning system for California.
-- Bob Covey
Joe Fontaine was a student at Bakersfield College in 1951 - 1953 when it was on the Bakersfield High School campus. He was in Nick Pananide’s surveying classes that practiced surveying on the Panorama site for the new BC campus.
His geology classes with John Zimmerman inspired his interest in earth sciences and, after graduating from UCLA and a stint in the Army, he worked in the oil fields and attended night school classes to gain his teaching credential. In 1962 he began a 35 year career of teaching physics and earth science as one of the founding teachers at Foothill High School.
In 1968, Joe attended Cornell University on a National Science Foundation grant where he earned his master’s degree in earth science and returned to continue his career at Foothill.
As a youth, Joe had hiked in and loved the Kern Plateau and other features of the Southern Sierra Nevada. Seeing a clear-cut area in Greenhorn where all trees had been removed inspired him to become a lifelong advocate for the protection and enlightened management of wilderness and forests.
He worked actively through the Kern Kaweah Chapter of the Sierra Club, eventually becoming the national president of the Sierra Club. In a 2010 article in the Tehachapi News, Jon Hammond wrote: “This position would instantly make Joe an ‘environmental extremist’ or worse in the eyes of many, but he is no wild-eyed radical---in fact he is a soft-spoken, reasonable man descended from Kern County pioneers who loves both trees and lumber.”
Joe is quoted as saying: “I’m not against logging or using timber. I live in a wooden house with mostly wooden furniture, and I burn wood in my fireplace. But I do think that forests need to be managed sustainably, and some areas deserve special protection.”
Joe Fontaine is still known nationally as an active, effective, reasonable, and sensible environmentalist. He recently completed service on the board of directors for Wilderness Watch. Joe authored a book entitled: The Kern Plateau and other gems of the Southern Sierra
Dad was the Architect/ Project Manager/Construction Manager of Bakersfield College during the construction on the Panorama Drive site. He spearheaded the development of the state of the art Stadium and Planetarium working closely withÂ Nick Pananides to bring cutting edgeÂ Astronomy viewing to the public. In addition to the above ground college campus, he was instrumental in designing the pipes that are under the buildings.
-- Jan Black
Bakersfield College alumna Senator Jean Fuller attended Bakersfield College in 1968 and 1969, and then transferred to California State University, Fresno to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree. Later, she earned a Master’s in Public Administration at California State University Los Angeles and a PhD in Educational Policy and Organizational Studies at UC Santa Barbara.
Keep in mind that like many Bakersfield College students, she was the first in her family to graduate from college.
For over 30 years after her own education, Jean Fuller dedicated her life to education. Dr. Jean Fuller taught every grade from Kindergarten to 12th grade and went on to school administration, eventually becoming Superintendent of Bakersfield City School District. During that time, the American Association of School Administrators named her California Superintendent of the Year.
Due to her desire to help improve the lives of those living in Bakersfield, Dr. Fuller began a new career in politics.
In 2006, she was elected to represent the 32nd Assembly District where she served two terms.
Then-Assemblywoman Fuller served as Chair of the Rural Caucus, a bipartisan group of 43 Assembly Members and Senators who provided a strong, united voice for residents of rural communities. It was in the California Assembly that Legislator Fuller began building the reputation for which she is widely known today: a leader who is respected on both sides of the political aisle.
She has become known as the person who brings disparate parties together and achieves consensus and resolution.Â Jean put those much vaunted skills to work by prioritizing expansion of career technical education programs very much needed by high school and community college students.
In 2010, voters elected Jean Fuller to the California State Senate. She continues to speak out on behalf of education and was recently named the California Communications Association Legislator of the Year.Â Additionally, she is the first Republican in 14 years to be named Presiding Officer over the State Senate.
Jean Fuller has proven to be an educator, legislator, friend, and community servant. These are the considerable legacies of Bakersfield College Alumna Senator Jean Fuller.
Dean Gay and his brother Dave (both deceased) played football and ran track at BC in 1937.
It was Dean Gay who stood up in the Varsity Club meeting where President Grace Bird was presenting the possibility of a different team name rather than the Renegades. He said, “We are the Renegades!” which ended the discussion while many students cheered. Dean and his wife Adah (who was also an alum) have been generous supporters of Bakersfield College; witness the Dean and Adah Gay Reading Room in the library, the Dean and Adah Gay Sports Complex, plus annual student scholarships in both their names.
Dean was also Director of our Foundation Board for many years. Dean and Adah were active in the formation of the Alumni Association and served as officers.
In the next generation, Dean’s son, David followed his father as a student at graduate of BC and in becoming a Director of the BC Foundation. David and his wife Catherine have been very active in the life of the campus. They have continued the parents’ financial support through scholarships and other gifts. Recently they donated a Clayton Rippey painting to the college and are verbal supporters within the community.
Their niece, Tricia, is a 3rd generation alum, and is currently a trainer at Bakersfield College.
David and Dean Gay (both deceased) were brothers at BC in 1937. It was Dean Gay who stood up in the meeting where Grace Bird was presenting the possibility of a different name rather than the Renegades. He said, “We are the Renegades!” which ended the discussion while many students cheered. Dean and his wife Adah (who was also an alum) have been generous supporters of BC; witness the Dean and Adah Gay Sports Complex, and the Dean and Adah Gay Reading Room in the library. Dean was Director of Foundation Board for many years. Both Dean and Adah were active in the Alumni Association and served as officers.
In the next generation, Dean’s son, David followed his father as a student at BC and in becoming the Director of the BC Foundation. David and his wife Catherine have been very active in the life of the campus. They have continued the parents’ financial support through scholarships and other gifts. Recently they donated a Clayton Rippey painting to the college and are verbal supporters within the community.
-- Jerry Ludeke
Adie Geiser was an assistive technologist for 14 years at Bakersfield College. He taught technology classes for disabled students, consulted for the school on matters pertaining to technology used by disabled adults, and ensured that the school stayed up to code when providing special technology to disabled students. Adie passed away several years ago, and he and his work are sorely missed.
His brother said, “My bother was one of the most independent individuals despite his many health problems. We could all take a lesson from his kindness and his determination when he himself was hurting. I wish that I had spent more time with him and was able to help him more than I did. Whenever I think I have it bad I think of him and realize I don't really know what it is to have problems. He always rose above the problems and gave his all.”
Student comments included:
Mr. Geiser was an extraordinary human being & Professor; he was always patient, caring, loving, understanding and encouraging everyone!!! I took a wonderful computer class with him & learned so much about myself.
I will always remember Adie. I will always remember his love for the Lord and how he showed kindness to me. I loved taking his computer class..he was so patient...he even made it to class even when he wasnt feeling good at all...he stuck with us as a class...he was great at what he did...
Gary Girard was born in Delano in 1936.
He lived in Bakersfield and attended Roosevelt Elementary School, and shortly moved back to Delano in 1945. He was enrolled at Cecil Avenue Elementary and Delano High Schools.
In 1955, he began his college career on the first floor of Bakersfield High as a Bakersfield College freshman. In 1956, his sophomore year, he started attending classes at the new Panorama campus.
For the two years he attended Bakersfield College, he rode the bus from Delano, stopping in McFarland, and finally arriving in Bakersfield.
He was a Journalism major and assistant editor for the Renegade Rip. When he became the Rip editor, he attended a leadership camp in Greenhorn and was mentored by the late Dean Gay.
He had the pleasure of interviewing the BC Cross Country coach, John Collins, who later became Bakersfield College President and long time BC Supporter.
He transferred to Fresno State to continue in Journalism, but later decided to get a teaching credential. In 1959, he began a teaching career and taught seventh grade at Cecil Avenue School.
In that year, he was drafted in the Army and served with the Army Missile Battalion Headquarters Battery, Spangdahlem Air Force Base, Germany.
He was hired in 1962 as a Delano High School Journalism instructor and became the advisor for the Delano High Live Wire. About 20 years ago, he was coaxed into signing a paper that allowed cheerleaders to attend cheer camp.
The day he signed that paper started a couple decades of voluntary support for the Delano High Cheerleaders that continues to this day.
This support comes naturally for Delano High's undisputed number one fan. Gary Girard has not missed a game, home or away, for over 41 years.
In his time at Delano High, he has received numerous awards and recognitions to include: multiple teacher of the month and year; and Grand Marshal of Philippine Weekend, Harvest Holidays, Cinco de Mayo and Delano High Homecomings. Gary is the founder of the Delano Youth Foundation - a foundation to support active youth; he is a writer, journalist and contributor to several Central Valley newspapers, and held the distinction as the Delano High School's 2012 Centennial Celebration Grand Marshall.
Gary Girard's lifetime of dedication and commitment to developing young minds and support of our community makes him a deserving of recognition as a BC Centennial Star.
Dr. Greg Goodwin should be a BC Star because of his extensive and effective teaching of history to BC students for many years. During his years as a faculty member he served BC on many significant BC committees and programs.
With John Collins and others he was instrumental in creating and forming the BC Archives after his retirement, which serves an important function as keeper of BC history.
For a period of time he was sought after by local TV stations as an acute political pundit, thereby publicizing BC into the community. After his retirement he has chaired the Archive Executive and Steering Committees for many years as an unstinting volunteer and has brought vision and direction to all the archives areas.
Top Row, Left to Right: Luther Goodwin, John Rector, Robert Brown, Augustus Brown, James Hurd
Bottom Row, Left to Right: Warren Henry, Russel Nagle, Frederick Samuels, Paul Bonseigneur, Unknown
Luther Goodwin attended Bakersfield College from 1936-1940 and was the first African American to win an individual event in any sport at BC - the broad jump and high jump.
He transferred to UCLA and graduated in Law.
He joined the Air force in 1943 and became a 1st Lieutenant in the Tuskegee Airmen where he flew the famous P-51 “Red Tails over Europe and jet planes in Korea.
Upon his return home he became the second African American District Attorney for San Francisco and spent much of his career fighting for civil rights
Dr. Gregory S. Hageman is a former BC student who went on to become a internationally known professor and eye researcher. His resume follows:
Gregory S. Hageman, Ph.D., is the John A. Moran Presidential Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Utah John Moran Eye Center, where he is also the Executive Director of the Moran Center for Translational Medicine. He holds an additional appointment as Professor Universite Decartes Paris and Associate Faculty in the Center for the Study of Macular Degeneration, University of California, Santa Barbara and has received honorary Professorships at Queen’s University, Belfast, UK and the Shandong Eye Institute, Qingdao, China. Dr. Hageman is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where he conducted both his undergraduate and graduate studies in biology and marine biology. He has been at the University of Utah since 2009. He was previously the Iowa Entrepreneurial Professor and Director of the Cell Biology and Functional Genomics Laboratory at the University of Iowa.
Dr. Hageman is an active member of various professional and honorary organizations, including the Macula Society. He has served on numerous national and international advisory boards, service panels and review committees, including NIH study sections, the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the Beckman Initiative for Macular Research, the Thome Memorial Foundation and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Priority Program in Age-related Macular Degeneration. Moreover, he has served as an advisor to American Home Products, Genentech, Alcon, Allergan, Pfizer, ViroPharma, OccuLogix, Novartis, Tanox, Merck Sharp and Dohme and Sequenom.
Dr. Hageman is an author or co-author of over 125 refereed and invited publications, as well as over 50 issued patents and pending patent applications. Dr. Hageman’s early scientific studies contributed to our understanding of the interphotoreceptor matrix in retinal adhesion and photoreceptor viability, as well as the role of pharmacologic vitreous disinsertion in ocular diseases. His primary research interest over the past 24 years has been directed toward the genetics and assessment of pathways involved in the etiology of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible worldwide blindness. Dr. Hageman has garnered contiguous funding over the past 23 years from the National Eye Institute/National Institutes of Health. He was the principal investigator of a $14.7M R24 translational award supported by NIH/NEI and involving colleagues from 12 participating national and international institutions. Additional support has been received from numerous foundations and pharmaceutical companies to support his studies. Dr. Hageman and his colleagues discovered that a specific common haplotype of the complement regulator, Complement Factor H (CFH), in combination with variations in another complement regulator, Complement Factor B (CFB), account for greater than 50% of risk for AMD in the human population. These discoveries provided strong support for the paradigm that AMD is a byproduct of inflammatory processes characterized, in part, by robust activation of the complement cascade in the ocular macula. More recently, Dr. Hageman has made new discoveries relating to the role of the choroid in severe, advanced forms of AMD and diseases that co-segregate with it.
Mayor Harvey L. Hall was raised in Bakersfield and is a life-long Californian. He attended Bakersfield High School, Bakersfield Community College and San Francisco City College.
In 1960, Mr. Hall embarked on a career in the emergency medical services field and in 1971 founded Hall Ambulance Service, Inc., where 40 years later he still serves at the helm as President/CEO.
In 1999, Mr. Hall entered the race for Mayor of the City of Bakersfield, with his campaign focused on quality of life issues, city beautification and restoration, business and education.
Mayor Hall was re-elected in 2004, 2008 and 2012. On January 7, 2013, Mayor Hall was sworn-in to serve his fourth term in office, making him the longest serving mayor in Bakersfield’s history.
Some of Mayor Hall’s goals, primarily, were to establish the Mayor’s Scholarship Foundation. Since inception of the program, Mayor Hall donates his entire mayoral salary to the Kern Community Foundation to fund scholarships for local high school students attending local colleges or the university. To date, Mayor Hall has awarded 216 scholarships totaling $178,500. Mayor Hall has a passion for, and is particularly fond of, participating in events that encourage children and young people to pursue their dreams and goals.
Mayor Hall organized monthly Mayor’s Freeway Litter Clean-ups, and is active with the Keep Bakersfield Beautiful Committee and the annual Great American Clean-up.
In 2008, Mayor Hall introduced Home First: Kern County’s Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, a 10-year comprehensive action plan created by collaborative efforts of the nonprofit, business, faith and public sector communities to address the challenging issue of homelessness.
The list of prestigious boards and committees to which Mayor Hall has found appointment is persuasively long, including a past gubernatorial appointment as a Director of the 15th District Agricultural Association (Kern County Fair Board), an Elected Trustee of the Kern Community College District and Board Member of the Bakersfield College Foundation.
Most recently, Mayor Hall was selected as the 2013 recipient of the American Red Cross-Kern Chapter Real Heroes Life of Service Award in April 2013. This award recognizes a humanitarian with a lifetime commitment of selfless service to Kern County and one who impacts the quality of life for Kern County residents through volunteerism and philanthropy.
In March 2012, Mayor Hall accepted the 2011 Darrel Hildebrand Regional Award of Merit for Distinguished Leadership from the Kern Council of Governments for achieving excellence in leading by example to improve Kern County’s quality of life through championing beautification and restoration projects in the City of Bakersfield.
In November 2011, Mayor Hall was the recipient of two awards. The Iron Eyes Cody Award by the Keep America Beautiful Foundation, the organization’s highest national award to an individual, for his exceptional leadership raising public awareness on litter prevention, roadside and community beautification, and solid waste issues. The Plank Foundation honored Mayor Hall as the 2011 Humanitarian of the Year for donating his time and energy to selflessly serving others in the community. In October 2011, the Kern High School District paid tribute to Mayor Hall for his outstanding contributions to education in Kern County with the Jim Burke Light and Liberty Award.
In 2010, the CSUB School of Business and Public Administration Executive Advisory Council honored Mayor Hall with the prestigious John Brock Community Service Award for his renowned record of exemplary community engagement and service.
Biography from Bakersfield City Website.
Mayor Harvey Hall owns a major ambulance company and has served Bakersfield as mayor for many years. He consistently supports BC.
-- Greg Goodwin
Served on the Board of KCCD Trustees (and regularly came on campus to walk around and talk to people. As Mayor is greatly supportive of BC, providing scholarships and publicity.
-- Jerry Ludeke
Larry Hallum attended Bakersfield College from 1961-63 during which time he was a 2 year tennis letterman, was named outstanding social studies student, participated in the Student Government, and was a proud Renegade Knight member
He graduated from the University of Oklahoma and served in the US army in Vietnam from 1969-70.
He returned to Kern County and became an integral part of the education team at Arvin High school, where he devoted the next 38 years of his life.
During that time he:
I would like to nominate Larry Vernon Hallum who attended Bakersfield College from 1961-1963 and received his A.A. degree.
At B.C. Larry was Freshman Class Boys Rep. to the ASB and Sophomore Class Vice-President; member of Renegade Knights Service Organization, selected as the Outstanding Social Studies Student in 1963; Dean's List all four semesters; lettered in Boys Tennis both years; performed in two plays directed by Dr. Frank Watron and Henry Horwege, the Male Animal and Summer and Smoke; with Letters of Recommendation from Dr. John Collins, was accepted to attend Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, and chose the University of Oklahoma.
Larry was graduated from O.U. in 1966 with a major in history and a double minor in French and Spanish. Hired by the Kern High district in January, 1966, Larry taught at Arvin High all Thirty-six years with two years in the U.S. Army from 1969-1970 with service in the Americal Division in Combat Recon in Duc Pho, Vietnam. Larry retired in 2004 and does post-retirement coaching for the We The People...Constitution Teams at Arvin and other district high schools.
Since 2009, Larry has volunteered as an Assistant Coach at Arvin and tutored the Constitution Teams at South, Miramonte, West, Ridgeview, and Centennial.
During Larry's tenure at Arvin High, he has taught U.S History, U.S.Government, World History, Geography; coached Frosh Football for twenty years, Boys Tennis for 10 years; We The People Constitution Team for twenty-six years, Mock Trial for five years, Academic Decathlon for five years, Frosh Baseball and Wrestling for one year, Senior Adviser for thirty years, Senior Follies Director for twenty-seven years, Varsity Football Stat Keeper for twenty years, Faculty Club President, Site Council Member, and Volunteer Sports Writer.
Awards include: Jim Burke Foundation Teacher of the Year, Arvin High Teacher of the Year, Arvin High Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee for Athletics and Coaching, Arvin Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year, . Arvin City Council Citizen of the Year, and the We The People...State of California Award for Service to the Program.
Larry's community participation includes: Founding and Life Member as well as Past President and Vice-President and presently Membership Chairman of the Arvin High Alumni Association, Adviser to Kern County Student Leadership Program at Arvin High in conjunction with the Link Crew Club, Arvin Exchange Club, Arvin VFW, Volunteer at the Chuck Chamberlain and Frank Barle Golf Tounaments, Arvin Alumni, Bakersfield College Forrest Frick, and Rocky Handy Scholarship Committees, Battle of the Books Judge and M.C., Henry Greve Oral Language Competition local judge, Arvin High We the People Assistant Coach( which finished 2nd in the state of California Finals and 12th in the Nation at the 2013 Competition in Washington, D.C.), History Day Judge for the KC Superintendent of Schools, and Volunteer Leader at Summer Vacation Bible School, Greeter, Hospital Visitation, former Scholarship Committee and Awana at First Presbyterian church.
-- Phil Baird
Jason Harris was an exceptionally talented student in the music program at BC. He successfully completed two-years of difficult music theory in only one year!
He has gone on to earn a doctorate in choral conducting and has one of the more sought-after positions in the country as the Director of Choral Ensembles at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Dr. Jason Harris is Assistant Professor of Choral Conducting and Director of Choral Ensembles at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, where he conducts the Oberlin College Choir, Oberlin Treble Ensemble, Oberlin Musical Union, and teaches choral conducting. In 2006 he received two GRAMMY® Awards (“Best Choral Performance” and “Best Classical Album”) as a choral director for the critically acclaimed Naxos recording of William Bolcom’s monumental Songs of Innocence and of Experience.
From 2002 to 2011 Dr. Harris served as Assistant Conductor of the University Musical Society Choral Union, a symphonic community chorus based in Ann Arbor that frequently appears with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In this capacity Dr. Harris has prepared the chorus for performances under conductors such as Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, Sir Neville Marriner, Leonard Slatkin, Neeme Järvi, James Conlon, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, and composer John Adams.
To meet the growing demand for performances of early music in Michigan, Dr. Harris founded Audivi Vocem, a 20-voice chamber ensemble dedicated to the interpretation of rarely heard sacred works of the Renaissance. Recent performances include Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Officium Defunctorum, and motets by Hans Leo Hassler, Leonhard Lechner, Heinrich Schütz, and Roland de Lassus.
In 2010 Dr. Harris was one of two conductors in the nation selected by Chorus America to participate in a joint Chorus America/League of Symphony Orchestras conducting master class, hosted by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus with Robert Spano and Norman Mackenzie. Dr. Harris has participated in numerous master classes, working with such conducting luminaries as Helmuth Rilling, Matthew Halls, Ragnar Bohlin, Gustav Meier, Jeffrey Kahane, John Alexander, and Charlene Archibeque.
Dr. Harris holds the Bachelor of Music degree in Conducting from Chapman University (CA), and the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Conducting from the University of Michigan, where he served as Assistant Conductor of the UM Chamber Choir, UM Men’s Glee Club and UM Women’s Glee Club, and conductor of the Residential College Singers, Arts Chorale, Orpheus Singers, and UM Opera Chorus. Dr. Harris has also served on the faculties of Oakland University (MI), Oakland College (MI), and Schoolcraft College (MI). His teachers include Jerry Blackstone, Theodore Morrison, and William Hall.
Gerald Haslam grew up in Oildale to become a very well known author and professor as well as the leading expert on the life and thought of S.I. Hayakowa, past president of CSU San Francisco and US Senator.
Jerry also was on the BC track team when John Collins was the coach. Although he became very successful professionally, Jerry never forgot his home town and BC and returns often for events and talks.
He is the author credited with having created an awareness of "the other California", the state's untrendy small town and rural reaches. Haslam has won numerous literary awards.
Author. Writes about the Valley, has included BC references. Gracious about donating speaking time and writing to BC. Returns to campus always. Claims his BC background proudly and publically. Credits his training at BC for helping develop his skills.
-- Jerry Ludeke
When you mention Mary Jane Johnson’s name on the campus at Bakersfield College, you always get the same responses—“Oh I LIKED working with her. She really knew what she was doing. And she was so NICE!” Mary Jane Johnson graduated from Bakersfield College and worked for us for 38 ½ years.
She was the scheduling technician in the Office of Instruction, and her comprehensive knowledge of the curriculum and of the complexities of the scheduling system, coupled with her skill in working with people, make her extremely effective. She was always cheerful and always got the job done, no matter how long it took. Mary Jane's work was a significant factor in BC's successes during her tenure.
Mary Jane has been married 41 years is the proud mother of 4 and the grandmother of 1, with one on the way. She’d like to thank Dr. Bob Allison for nominating her for this award. We all considered ourselves lucky to work with her.
Mary Jane Johnson was the scheduling technician in the Office of Instruction for decades. Her comprehensive knowledge of the curriculum and of the complexities of the scheduling system, coupled wi th her skill in working with people, make her extremely effective. She was always cheerful and always got the job done, no matter how long it took. Mary Jane's work was a significant factor in BC's successes during her tenure.
-- Robert Allison
Wylie Jones was an absolutely fantastic teacher of both economics and statistics, a lover of the arts, and an altogether outstanding human being..
He was a legend at Bakersfield College when I became a belated student in 1954 after four years in the US Air Force. I took every class I could from Wylie in accounting, economics, and statistics. After I transferred to UCLA as a junior at UCLA, a professor in advanced accounting told me Wylie's students were the best he had ever seen from any school. He was as charming as an English Bulldog and just as tenacious in preparing his students, not only in the subjects he taught, but also in the vagaries of life through clever and serious homilies.
His classes were no nonsense and difficult and held to high standards, but outside of class he was warm and friendly . He was for many years the host and director of art and travel programs presented in the Bakersfield High School Little Theatre. With his wife he donated art and money to BC so that the Art Gallery in the BC Library ground floor is in their names. If there ever has been a true and deserving Star of Bakersfield College, Wylie Jones is one.
-- Don Stansbury
After serving as an intelligence officer in Italy during WW 11 Wylie decided to return to school (he had graduated from Dartmouth College and had had a successful career in business) to become a teacher. He earned the first Master's Degree in Economics awarded by UCLA in 1947 and began his teaching career at BC where he served for over 20 years.
He and May Louise were world travelers and dedicated to serving the College and the community. Their contributions to the Symphony and other musical associaations and to the arts were extensive.
Wylie, along with Dr. John Collins was instrumental in beginning the Bakersfield College Foundation and he and May Louise supported it in many ways. The Wylie Logan Jones Eminent Speakers Program was established by May Louise to bring outstanding speakers to the campus. The BC Art Gallery is named for this very generous and caring couple.
-- Pat Parsons
Jason Kilp, a native of Tehachapi, and a graduate of Bakersfield College is the Creative Director for Bold Array, an award-winning web design agency based in Orange County, California.
He started out his educational career with an AA in Digital Arts from Bakersfield College, continued his studies at CSU Long Beach, where he earned a BA in Studio Art with an emphasis on Visual Communications.
He is a veteran of web design agencies and has racked up a healthy list of web projects including Goodwill of Orange County, Lazy Dog Cafe, Media Nation USA and Bike Nation.
His awards include:
2013 Platinum Hermes Creative Award
Association of Marketing & Communication Professionals
Website Interactive Capabilities, Envelopments.com
2013 Gold AVA Award
Association of Marketing & Communication Professionals
Website Interactive Capabilities, Envelopments.com
2012 Gold Marcom Award
Association of Marketing & Communication Professionals
Website Interactive Capabilities, Envelopments.com .net Magazine, Issue 234 Future Publishing Limited
Featured in the HTML5 Gallery for Envelopments.com
2011 Platinum Hermes Creative Award
Association of Marketing & Communication Professionals
Website Overall, OCGoodwill.org.
-- David Koeth
Since graduating from BC in 1975, I went on to a graduate degree at UC Davis, followed by 25 years teaching electrical engineering at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA.
In 1999, I started a career at the CIA, doing there what I was doing at Pacific - network security research and teaching. I now live in Chantilly, VA, and have taught CIA classes in Australia, Austria, England, Germany, Italy, and Thailand, as well as in a number of US States and throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area. Meanwhile, Pacific has made me a professor emeritus.
Throughout my life, I have told everyone how much I appreciate the education I received at BC and have extolled the benefits of attending a community college. Just this week, I registered my oldest grandson at NOVA, the local community college here in northern Virginia.
As much as I would be thrilled to accept my award in person, I'm afraid I am booked solidly through April and May, and likely through the summer.
Thanks much for the honor of being considered on of the "100 Stars of Bakersfield College." My wife has finally had to admit that I have amounted to something! (We both attended Foothill High School and got married while she was a junior there.)
Joe King was a student and, for one year, a faculty member at Bakersfield College. Although brilliant, when he first entered BC, he was not a serious student and did poorly. He left, went into the Navy, was honorably discharged, and came back to BC with a new attitude. He majored in physics and engineering and made outstanding grades, transferring to the University of California Davis, where he received BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering. In 1987 he was hired as an engineering faculty member at Bakersfield College. He was an outstanding professor, so outstanding that the following year he was hired away by University of the Pacific. He is now an emeritus professor of computer engineering at UOP.
While at UOP he taught courses in digital design, computer design, artificial intelligence, and computer networking, and spent year-long sabbaticals teaching in Zimbabwe, Singapore, and Finland. A licensed engineer in the state of California, King's industrial experience includes major design projects with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, as well as independent consulting projects. Prof. King has had a number of books published with titles including MATLAB, MathCAD, Exploring Engineering, and Engineering and Society.
One of Joes’ many avocations is building huge models using toothpicks and Duco cement. His most famous is one is of the Eiffel Tower, with which he appeared on the Johnny Carson show. See article below from the Los Angeles Times:
Toothpick King' Picks Eiffel Tower
June 19, 1988|BEVERLY BEYETTE
Joe King, 39, a professor of electrical engineering at University of the Pacific in Stockton, intends to glue the last of 110,000 toothpicks in place on his scale model of the Eiffel Tower in time for the Paris landmark's May, 1989, centennial "whether anybody cares or not."
King--"People tend to call me the toothpick king"--is hoping, of course, that someone will. When it's finished, "I suppose I'll send off a letter to Johnny Carson" and maybe contact the French consulate in San Francisco on the off chance "they'd like to make it sort of a poster child" for the 100th anniversary celebration.
-- Robert Allison
He returned to Bakersfield and started his law practice in 1965.
Mr. Lemucchi has forty-nine years’ experience in civil and criminal litigation in municipal and superior courts of Kern and surrounding counties as well as the United States Central District Court in Fresno and the state appellate court.
In spite of his busy law practice, Tim Lemucchi has continued to impact Bakersfield College, both as an instructor and most importantly, as a supportive voice in the community.
He has been an active member of the Helmet Club and has continued to publically give his support for Bakersfield College athletics.
Our current programs would struggle to continue without the supportive voices of alumni like Tim Lemucchi.
Great supporter of BC causes in community. With Helmet Club. (Wrote Letter to Editor in defense of BC.)
-- Jerry Ludeke
Wesley Leon-Barrientos was born in Guatemala and grew up in Bakersfield. After the events of September 11, 2001, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in the 4th Infantry Division, and did his 1st tour of duty to Iraq from 2003-2004.
He reenlisted in November 2004, and in 2005, he was assigned as a Machine Gunner with C Company 2nd Battalion/502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). He was deployed to Iraq for a 2nd tour of duty on September 2005 to an area just Southwest of Baghdad called “The Sunni Triangle of Death”. His unit was in charge of bringing peace to a region that was controlled by the enemy in the town of Sadr Al Yusufiyah. While on his second tour of duty, his unit suffered a very high number of casualties, and he was wounded twice.
Immediately after his Unit's return, they were informed that they were going on another deployment to Iraq in less than 12 months. After training his fire team for almost a year, the orders came in. In October 2007, he shipped out on his third tour of duty to Iraq. On December 20, 2007, while he as returning to his Forward Operating Base after a long mission, his vehicle was hit again by an improvised explosive device, where he was severely wounded and had both legs amputated.
Corporal Barrientos arrived at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. on December 23, 2007, where he spent 18 months recovering from his injuries. He pushed himself during his recovery and managed to start walking 3½ months after he was wounded, and begin to run 2 weeks before the 6th month mark.
While completing his rehabilitation at the hospital, his daughter Brianna was born on January 18, 2009, 13 months after he was wounded. After an 18 month recovery with a lot of help from family, friends, community, and staff, he was able to return home for good. Now he is back in Bakersfield, and he volunteers his time to many organizations to serve his community and his fellow veterans as he served his country.
Bakersfield College is proud that Cpl. Barreintos is a current student at BC, and the first President of our newly formed Veterans Club.
He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Wounded Heroes Fund and has started his own foundation called LIFE OVER LEGS to help motivate and inspire our youth, disabled Veterans and Civilians.
His military awards include the Combat Infantry Badge, 3 Purple Hearts, 5 Army Commendation Medals, and 2 Army Good Conduct Medals.
Dr. Norman Levan is professor emeritus and former chief of dermatology at the USC School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree in 1939.
After serving in the Army Medical Corps during World War II, he began a long and distinguished career in medicine. He established the Hansen’s Disease Clinic for leprosy at the Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center in 1962 at the request of state and federal health officials, and had a medical practice in Bakersfield for many years.
But if you spend even a few minutes with Dr. Levan you quickly realize that his underlying passion is for the humanities. His master’s degree is in the humanities, and he will tell you emphatically that the most important thing a person can do in his or her life is become grounded in the humanities.
It’s what gives people their humanity. To that end he has generously provided the funding for this new building that will provide Bakersfield a place for cultural pursuits, to hear scholars share their thoughts, and for people to grow as human beings. The Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning offers classes aimed primarily at people 55 and older, although everyone is welcome to expand their knowledge and understanding.
While most community colleges are having to discontinue their course offerings geared solely for the community based upon mission clarification and budget cuts, Bakersfield College is able to continue to meet this community need, due to the generosity of Dr. Norm Levan.
But Dr. Levan did not stop there.
In March of 2011, Dr. Levan generously gave a nearly $14 million gift to the Bakersfield College Foundation.
When combined with what he had already given to BC, the two gifts increase Dr. Levan’s overall donation to nearly $20 million, $10 million higher than any gift from an individual on record.Â With these new funds, the Norman Levan Scholarship Endowment will alone award $500,000 annually to students â€“ 250 each year â€“ to cover their fees, books and part of their living expenses for the year.
Dr. Levan’s generous gift more than doubles the financial support the Bakersfield College Foundation will award to students each year.
Norm's support for the humanities at Bakersfield College has been nurtured through his close friendship with John Collins. The Levan Center and Levan Institute, made possible by his large donation - the largest ever to a community college - is serving the purpose of introducing students, faculty and community members to the joys of the humanities.
-- Jerry Ludeke
Norm was a great friend of Bakersfield College and delights in hearing about how its contributions are being used for the Levan Center, the Levan Institute, student scholarships, and other purposes. We are very fortunate that he is in our community.
-- Robert Allison
Charlie Mae Littlejohn was born in Arkansas but moved to Arvin when she was young and attended school through the Arvin School District. At Arvin High she was one of a very few black students, but was elected head cheerleader by the students
Mrs. Littlejohn worked chopping cotton and other farm work in the fields of Arvin, and soon decided she did not want that for the rest of her life. She saved her $1 an hour until she had enough to pay for books for one year at BC, then earned a scholarship for the second.
She immediately became a student worker in the Business Ed department, and upon graduation, worked in Admissions and records and eventually became the English department assistant, where she was beloved and obeyed for 43 years and was known for her genuine smile and the love she had for her family.
Charlie May Littlejohn was the first African American employee to be hired full time, and the first employee of BC to serve for 43 years.
Charlie Mae is an alum who graduated and went to work for BC immediately. She was the long time, much loved secretary in the English Department. She is well known in the community and currently leads an exercise class for seniors at Martin Luther King Center. She has been very supportive of BC and, after retiring, has come in to the Archives to help identify photos. Her husband, Ron Littlejohn, is also an alum and has done photography for college events.
-- Jerry Ludeke
Charlie Mae Abram Littlejohn was born in a small suburb in Arkansas to parents Ammie and Pauline Abram in January 1937. My early chidlhood years were spent back and forth with my parents and paternal grandmother, who was affectionately called "Aunt Sis" by most people and myself. In the early 1940s, my parents were among those who migrated to Chicago to find work and hopefully establish a better life. Ammie was hired by Armour and Company and Pauline worked for the Campbell Soup Company. My father died when I was 9 years old> Soon after his death, my mother and I moved to Arvin, California, to join other members of her family. I attended most of my elementary school years in Arvin.
My high school yeras were spent at the newly built Arvin High School. My class was the first four-year garduation class. During those years, there were only about a dozen Black students at the school. That being true however, I was elected as the Head Cheerleader for my senior year. At that time, the majority of citizens in Arvin were owners of the farm land there and my being elected as Head Cheerleader was not readily accepted by the white adult community even though it was a student election. There were no incidents during that time, but I learned later from some of my white friends that there was plenty negative talk due to my being elected. I graduated in 1954. I have been a member of the reunion committee for each class reunion. Our 50th reunion was in 2004.
I spent my early "working yeras" earning money by chopping cotton and working in other capacities in the fields of Arvin. I soon decided that was not what I wanted to do for a lifetime. My mother remarried when I was ten and she did domestic work, and my step-dad was a share-cropper and, therefore, couldn't help me with college expenses. I saved my hard-earned $1.00 per hour money and by September had enough money to buy books and attend Bakersfield College for one year. (There was no registration fee at that time.) I had no idea what would happen the second year. However, I was awarded a book scholarship from Jack Davenport Typewriter Company that made it possible for me to attend the second year.
The day that I took the Entrance Exam to enter Bakersfield College (then on the Bakersfield High School campus), the proctor asked to see me after the exam. He asked me if I would like to work in his office when school started. He was the chairman of the Business Education Department. He must have gotten information from the business education teachers at Arvin High School to know that I had been one of hte top students in that major and needed a job. I worked for him for two years. After graduation in 1956, my job ended in that office but I was asked to continue working in the Admissions, Counseling and other offices on campus and to assist the switchboard and copy center operators as needed.
Just before summer ended, the Chairman of the English Department asked if I'd like a full-time job in his department. I immediately said, "I'm not sure I can do the job." He assured me that I could and asked me to talk to his secretary, who was expecting her first child and didn't plan to return. Carol, too, assured me that I could do the job. After 43 years on that job, I retired in 1999. Our family refers to me as the secretary who never applied for a job and, therefore, never had a resume.
It has been noted that I was a student in the first graduating class from Bakersfield College on the Hill. This fact was noted at the 5-year celebration of Bakersfield College on the Hill in 2006. Also, I was the first African American employee to be hired full time in the Classifie Staff. When I retired, I was the first employee at Bakersfield College to have served for 43 years.
I was a member of a community club called The Young Women's Civic Club. Among other things, we raise dmoney and gave scholarships to young black students who needed financial help so they could go to college.
In 1960, Ron Littlejohn and I were married. Our first child, Gigi, arrived in 1961; our second child, R. Todd, arrived in 1965; and our youngest child, Tara, arrive din 1972. During those years, Ron and I were very active in the McKinley PTA, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and Camp Fire Girls. I was the leader of the same group of girls from grade 2 through 7. Although my time with them was limited to Saturday mornings, we fulfilled most of the tasks required by Camp Fire. I have good memories of those times and enjoy seeing some of "my girls" with their families from time to time.
Our amily was very active in our church, holding several offices and chairing many of the activities for chidlren and women. One o fmy most memorable tasks was organizing a different theme luncheon each month for about a year and a half. These lunchsenos were for the women of the church, and each woman was encouraged to invite a guest outside our congregation. Since our chuch is quite small, the group attending totaled around 25-30 women. The luncheons included not only beautiful decorations to fit the theme, but also food, a speaker to bring a lesson, and lots of door prizes.
Another big event for Ron and myself was to be involved in our church's first Big Salad Spread. The women of the church were asked to make large salads for hte event and to wear long dresses and introduced with their spouses or escorts at the beginning of the event. It was a quite a spectacular "first" for us. Ron and I were also in charge of the souvenir program, which was quite a task to say the least. Everything turned out well.
With an idea in mind, I approached the staff at the Holloway-Gonzales Library to ask for permission to present a Weight-Control/Healthy Eating workshop for three months. My idea was to invite people who worked in different kinds of health/weight control, exercise and fitness and nutrition jobs to come and speak to the group. I was greatly surprised and pleased that all of the people that I contacted agreed to come, and they did. The last person to visit with us spent a time telling us about foods that were were not familiar with, and then took us to the grocery store, where she explained and showed us more. We were also treated to a mini buffet of fruits, vegetables and cheeses, and crackers that had been shown to us. Most of the members of the class did not lose a great deal of weight, but we learned a lot about the importance of exercise, weight control and healthy nutrition.
During my working years at Bakersfield College, I made a point to encourage and help students as much as possible. My job as Departmental Assistant in the English Department gave me the opportunity and duties to help students, staff and faculty. At one point, the English Department was changed to the Humanities Division (to include Spanish, Music, Fine Arts, and Philosophy Departments). However, when the college enrollment began to grow, the Division was changed back to the English Department.
In 1993, I was honored by the students of the college to serve as the Grand Marshall of the Homecoming Activities that celebrated 80 years of Renegade Glory. I was introduced while riding around the football field in a brand new red Cadillac convertible during hte Halftime activities at the football game.
In 1994, I was selected by my peers to receive the distinguished service award of Classified Employee of the Year. This announcement was made at the all-staff meeting at the end of that school year.
I retired in 1999 after 43 years of service, which was a bittersweet decision - I had made many friends with students, staff and faculty. I was honored by faculty and staff at a retirement party that included about 143 people. Other than faculty and staff, only my immediate family members were able to attend due to the size of the restaurant. My family decided to host another retirement party for other family and friends about a month later. There were about 140 people in attended there as well.
Since retiring, I have been active with a group of retired Black women known as New Spirit. Although the group was organized before I was able to participate, their initial purpose was to do social things together.
Soon after I joined, the group began working with the American Cancer Society and The American Heart Association distributing to citizens of the Black community information and workshops to promote awareness of health issues, fitness and exercise and the importance of healthy nutrition.
We were also involved in Relay for Life, the fundraising event sponsored by the local Cancer Society. I personally raised over $1,000 each of the first two years that we were involved.
I am still active with activities sponsored by New Spirit. Our group was also very actively involved in the Good Neighbor Festivals at MLK Park, preparing and serving food at the annual Kwanzaa events and other community activities.
My immediate family has also been involved in the Revlon Walk in May of each year around the Coliseum area in Los Angeles. Our consensus was to do something meaningful with our family during the Mother's Day weekend. We all attend a buffet luncheon on Mother's Day.
In January of 2003, I decided to conduct a chair exercise class at the Senior Care on Fourth Street. After attaining permission and a date and time fo the class, I announced it to members of New Spirit. Our first meeting drew about 17 people. I am still volunteering and conducting the class two days each week at the center. The 40-45 minutes of exercises are presented on video and participants sit on a chair during the entire session. The exercises include music fo each exercsise and all parts of the body, from head to toe, receive a good workout.
Ron and I celebrated 53 years of marriage in August 2013, and we are enjoying being grandparents of 5 granddaughters and 1 grandson. Although they all live in other cities, each visit with them is very special and enjoyable.
Jerry Ludeke was a long time professor in the Bakersfield College Learning Center
She is known for her sharp mind, kind soul, and ability to make all students feel important
In her retirement, Jerry Ludeke exemplifies a zest for life and adventure, and continues to serve as the heart and soul of the Bakersfield College Archives
Ray worked as an athletic trainer for many years. (His brother was with M&O.) After retiring, he has filled many part time jobs around campus. He knows everybody and has an amazing institutional memory! He carried the Olympic torch one year.
-- Jerry Ludeke
"His impact spans generations"
-- Tim Painton
My nomination is based on an email I received from Brian about one year. It's definitely one of those "this is the reason I teach" things. I realize and understand any criticism that this may seem self-serving (given the nature of some of his remarks), but his change in direction and fortune is inspirational for those of us in the classrooms. He certainly is one of my personal stars!
While too long ago for me to remember at all, I do present what he sent me as evidence of Brian being an example of what we want for all our students:
"Hello Dr. Vaughn,
I'm not sure exactly what has prompted me to write this email with the exception of complete gratitude and thanks. I too chemistry from you at BC your first year there. I had no interest in school per se and was headed down the wrong path in many ways. I took your chemistry class and was the rest of my life was transformed. I was instantaneously fascinated with chemistry. As a result I went to university and got my undergraduate degree in biochemistry and biophysics. I then became very much interested in natural products chemistry and completed my PhD in medicinal chemistry (more precisely, marine natural products chemistry) with a focus in physical chemistry and NMR spectroscopy. During my graduate career I was able to travel the globe on expeditions for novel sources of chemistry and I met my wife. I now have been all over the world diving in the most beautiful parts of the world, am married to a wonderful woman and have two fantastic children as well as a very successful career in the Pharmaceutical industry in both drug discovery and development. Granted I had a lot of work to do between 1992 and now, but I credit you with the spark that put me where I am today...
Thank you, sincerely!
-- Kenward Vaughan
Kevin McCarthy is a Bakersfield native who started his first business, Kevin O’s Deli, before he was 21.
His experiences trying to get a small business of the ground spurred his interest in public service and politics.
After taking courses at Bakersfield College, he graduate from CSUB with a Masters in Business Administration.
During college, Kevin accepted an internship with then-Congressman Bill Thomas, and soon became a member of Congressman Thomas's staff. Kevin won his first election in 2000 as Trustee to the Kern Community College District. In 2002, McCarthy was elected to represent the 32nd Assembly District in the California State Assembly. As a freshman legislator, he was selected unanimously by his Republican colleagues to serve as the Assembly Republican Leader, becoming the first freshman legislator and the first legislator from Kern County to assume the top Republican post in the California State Assembly.
Kevin worked with his colleagues in the Assembly and Senate and with the Governor to reduce California's budget deficit, overhaul the state worker's compensation system and enhance California's business climate to create more opportunities for California workers and businesses until he ran for and won a seat in the US Congress in 2006.
Kevin McCarthy served as Majority Whip in the US House of Representatives from 2011-2014. In 2014, he was elected to become House Majority Leader.
Bakersfield College, in rural Kern County, has an alum who is the now Majority Whip in the United States House of Representatives. Agree with him politically or not - that one of ours has been so successful and holds such a seat of influence is pretty amazing.
Brandon McNaughton was a student in my summer English 1A. Right away, I recognized that this young man was a thinker who definitely had plans for his future. He informed me that he planned on studying physics.
Throughout the class, Brandon was not afraid to disagree with my opinions of certain texts; in fact, he inscribed the inside cover of the novel The Bluest Eye and proudly shared it with me. It read, "The worst book I've ever read." This was Brandon.
Lest you get me wrong, Brandon was an exceptional student. He ended up writing a research paper on nuclear fusion, which, quite frankly, was out of my realm of understanding, but it was lucid, well-documented, and actually quite interesting.
Years after he was in my class, I got to hear Brandon speak at CSUB about an invention of his, which would change the way medical centers cultured bacteria. Although science is not my area of expertise, I was quite comfortable listening to Brandon. He clearly explained terms using examples that were easily understandable.
Brandon is truly one of Bakersfield College's Stars. He may be one of our youngest and brightest, which means that he has much more shining to do.
-- Richard Marquez
Dwayne Mears attended Bakersfield College in 1938 and 39 where he played on the football team and was the State Debate Champion. He continued on to College of the Pacific with a goal of going into law.
He joined the Marines in 1941 and quickly rose to the rank of Captain. He led an assault company of the First Battalion in the first landing wave on Iwo Jima. In the citation for the Navy Cross he was awarded, it states:
"Captain Mears boldly led his units forward despite intense small-arms fire from the front and left flank to crash through an area covered by concentrated mortar and artillery fire for a gain of 300 yards. Disregarding serious wounds received during the subsequent bombardment from a series of almost impregnable blockhouses which halted his advance, he rallied his two assault platoons and, armed only with a pistol, fearlessly charged the enemy fortifications, sweeping through the fiercely defended strong point and destroying the four stubborn installations with indomitable aggressiveness. In the forefront of the action at all times, he fought on without respite, driving a wedge through the Japanese lines for more than 700 yards to cut across the narrow neck of the island within 90 minutes of landing. Struck by enemy fire for the second time during the last phase of the break-through, he resolutely refused medical aid or evacuation, directing the movements of his men by arm and hand signals when his injuries deprived him of his speech and persisted in his efforts until the company’s objectives were met."
Captain Dwayne Mears died of his wounds the following day.
He was awarded a purple heart and Navy Cross for his actions on Iwo Jima.
Richard Miles is an American Diplomat, entering the Foreign Service in 1967.
During his distinguished career, his posts included US Ambassador to Azerbaijan and Georgia, and head of the American Embassy in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Many point to Mr. Miles as having made many contributions to the ousting of Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia.
Ambassador Miles has been awarded the State Department's Meritorious Honor Award and Group Superior Honor Award (twice), a Presidential Meritorious Service Award and a national award for reporting and the State Department's Robert C. Frasure Award for peaceful conflict resolution.
Foreign Service Officer, Ambassador. Came to BC at age 43 after 4 years in Marine Corps. Became Chief Justice (working with John Collins who remained lifelong friend). Graduated as Valedictorian in 1960. Joined Foreign Service in 1968. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Chief of Mission in Yugoslavia, Consul General in Leningrad, Ambassador to Georgia (not in chronological order). Photo in May 2010 Archives Newsletter shows him with students in Turkmenistan wearing a BC jacket! (Has carried a Clayton Rippey large pot all over the world!)
-- Jerry Ludeke
Ali came to BC in the Spring of 2000. He won our 2001 Physical Science Student of the Year award. In 2002, with the help of his teachers and counselors at BC, he transferred to UCLA on a Regents Scholarship, which is the highest academic honor that the University of California bestows upon an entering student. He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and worked for a global developer of telecommunications company in Southern CA.
After working as an engineer for a year, Ali decided to change path and pursue a career in law. So he came back to BC for guidance and support from his former professors. With letters of recommendation from our own Gaylen Lewis, Liz Rozell, and Rick Darke, Ali got into Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. There, he served as the Chief Articles Editor of the law review and received a merit scholarship before graduating with a 4.1 GPA.
After law school, Ali obtained three highly-competitive judicial clerkships, which gave him the opportunity to assist federal judges with deciding cases and drafting opinions. Ali’s third clerkship was at the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington DC, which is a highly visible court with exclusive jurisdiction over appeals from patent-related disputes. Ali is the first Loyola law school graduate to have served in that position.
After his clerkships, Ali joined the law firm of Covington & Burling. In the past year and a half at Covington, Ali has taken part in a range of matters, from representing indigent clients in criminal and immigration proceedings to representing global corporations in US District Courts and the International Trade Commission.
Israel Moran, maiden name Israel Paul
Nomination: My wife Israel, long before I met her, was a student at Bakersfield College.
Born with a hearing loss, she often felt a bit lost or alone at school, but at Bakersfield College she met Joyce Sproul, our founding ASL instructor.
Joyce introduced Israel to her natural language, ASL. Through her studies, she discovered a love for this language and a burning desire to help children who were enduring the same situation she did during her formative years. Upon graduation, she transferred to SDSU, then to CSUN where she earned a bachelor's degree in deaf studies. Her graduate studies took her to CSUB and CSU Fresno where she earned a master's degree and two teaching credentials, one of her program's first distance-education graduates.
For the past 15 years she has taught Deaf and hard of hearing preschool children in the Bakersfield City School District. Most of the children, ages 3 and 4, who come to her are without language, coming from homes where families speak English or Spanish, but who don't sign.
Through painstaking hard work and tireless dedication, she transforms these children in one or two years into proficient language users ready to matriculate with their peers. She often comes home with stories about a given student who has used a sentence for the first time or expressed a spontaneous, novel concept. Her excitement and joy is always evident in these moments. She is a fervent collaborator, working on boards and committees devoted to serving these students and their parents.
She works long hours teaching parents sign language and making home visits outside of her regular work hours. She also refers the parents of her Deaf students to BC for advanced studies in ASL.
The Bakersfield City School District has even recognized Israel as their special education teacher of the year. It was her love of Bakersfield that brought me here and her pride in Bakersfield College that inspired me to seek employment here.
Israel is far too humble to ever conceive of herself as a "star"--she'd balk at the very idea; nevertheless, she is a sterling example of the transformative power of this institution and the great works undertaken by its many, fine graduates.
-- Tom Moran
Dr. Augustine Munoz is a first generation college student who proudly hails from a local Bakersfield neighborhood.
After Bakersfield College, Dr. Munoz attended and graduated from UC Davis School of Medicine.
He returned to Bakersfield and has served as an internist, specializing in pulmonary disease and he is now the Director of Pulmonary Medicine at Kern Medical Center.
He has provided over 35 years of care to Bakersfield residents.
Ryan Northway is proof that a Certificate is a great way to start a career.
He began his education at Bakersfield College, earning a Certificate in Digital Arts in 2006.
Ryan was a professional rollerblader for three years before coming to Bakersfield College, and his tour destinations included: Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Minnesota, Kansas, Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Iowa, New Mexico.
After his graduation from BC, he was owner/designer of Fluxar Studios Inc. in Bakersfield until March 2011. He built an outstanding visual brand and reputation as a leading design firm in Kern County offering web, mobile and print solutions.
Since then, he's re-located to Los Angeles and worked for companies such as:
UI design for various Directv products within mobile, tablet & set top box devices.
UI design for web and mobile campaigns for the blockbuster video game release of Saints Row: The Third.
UI / UX for eBay and eBay Inc.
UI & UX designs for confidential digital products.
Conceptual site design for realestate.com.au. Art direction for web, mobile and tablet products.
Panjo makes a free, secure, feature-rich marketplace plug-in for community software platforms.
His current assignments include:
-- David Koeth
Mr. Danny Espineda Ordiz graduated from Delano High School in 1974 and immediately enrolled in courses at Bakersfield College. He transferred from Bakersfield College to Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo, majored in Architecture, and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree.
He graduated from Cal-Poly in 1979 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree.
In 1993, he established Ordiz-Melby Architects, Inc â€“ an architectural firm specializing in public architecture.
His corporation designed and built a plethora of education, community, commercial, religious and medical buildings, structures and memorials. Mr. Ordiz is responsible for the design and functionality of over sixteen education facilities in the Bakersfield College area of responsibility.
This includes the Robert F. Kennedy High School, a joint-use facility built in partnership with Delano Joint Union High School and Kern Community College Districts. This facility is an important part of the current Bakersfield College Delano Campus and services over 800-1000 BC students each year in addition to the high school students.
Mr. Ordiz is an example of how education comes full circle and changes a community. His impact on education through the facilities he designs is extremely noteworthy and makes him one of Bakersfield College’s Centennial Stars.
Rodney Palla is a a successful local farmer/dairyman who has been a firm supporter of Bakersfield College and the Bakersfield College Foundation.
In addition, generations of the Palla family have attended Bakersfield College and are strong, alumni community supporters of the college.
Rob Parsons began his career at Bakersfield College when he sold programs as a kid at football games (made three cents on each 15 cent program at Griffith Field, then five cents on each 25 cent program at Memorial Stadium).
He attended BC as a student from 1960-62, and later returned as a professor.
He has taught all of the physics courses, physical science, engineering, math, computer programming (in the Business Department), and co-wrote and co-taught Social Science 1-Science, Technology and Human Values. Through his work, Bakersfield College acquired the first instructional computer system at BC in 1976.
From 1983-1990 he expanded, formalized and directed the engineering and engineering technology programs. In 1985 restarted the 15-yr dormant Engineers Club.
With them, started the Design Challenge engineering design competitions. He has also had art pieces shown in the May Louise and Wiley Jones Art Gallery student shows in 2007 and 2011. In his own words, this diversity resulted from a six-year attention span, encouraged and enabled by summer job and educational program opportunities, and three sabbatical leaves.
Since his retirement, Rob Parsons has continued to be closely linked to Bakersfield College.
He became a Life Member and member of the Board of Directors of the BC Alumni Association about 25 years ago. In 2002, he helped establish the William A. Nielsen Awards for outstanding achievement in mathematics and also gives Parsons Family Scholarship.
He is also on the Executive Committee of the BC Archives Association and in 2011 worked under direction of Clayton Rippey to restore his iconic Renegade Knight mosaic.
Rob Parsons has seen, known and/or worked for every BC President (including Grace Van Dyke Bird!) and since 1960 have been a staunch advocate for the whole California Community College system, and for Bakersfield College in particular.
Hank Pfister (born October 9, 1953 in Bakersfield, California) is a former tennis player from the United States, who won two singles titles (1981, Maui and 1982, Newport) during his professional career. The right-hander reached his highest individual ranking on the ATP Tour on May 2, 1983, when he became World No. 19.
How he got started: Born into a family of tennis players, Pfister picked up his racket early and never looked back. “I really had no aspirations to be a professional tennis player,” Pfister said, laughing. “When you find you’re good at something, you tend to enjoy it—it was just something I had fun doing.” After undefeated seasons at BHS and BC, Pfister was given a scholarship to San Jose State and didn’t lose a match his entire first year. “I honestly still thought I was going to be a P.E. teacher.” That didn’t stop him from training with (and beating) John McEnroe during McEnroe’s early years.
Career highlights: You wouldn’t think anything could top competing with tennis greats Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi, and Arthur Ashe (and beating them), being a US Open Doubles finalist, reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the Australian Open three times, or being a two-time French Open Doubles Champion, but Pfister was rubbing elbows with Hollywood’s rich and famous. One “player party” had him on a couch between Kirk Douglas and Lloyd Bridges.
His heroes: Tennis pro Brian Gottfried, a friend, who happens to have been ranked #3 in the world in ‘77, makes the cut. But, for Pfister, tennis legend Stan Smith takes the cake. “I grew up watching Smith when I was in high school and college, when Smith was winning Wimbledon. To find myself playing him in front of 10,000 people later in life was surreal,” Pfister explained. Pfister would go on to beat Smith. Bakersfield Magazine
Harvel Pollard played football for Bakersfield College under Coach Frost in 1950 and returned to pay under Coach Homer Beatty in 1955. He played on the first Renegades team to play in Memorial Stadium.
Between his years at BC, Mr Pollard served overseas in the United States Air Force during the Korean War.
He went on to play for San Jose State where he made the Academic Honor Role and was twice names to the All-American Academic Football Team for all colleges and Universities. He earned both a BA and MA and returned to Bakersfield where he was a football and baseball coach for South and Foothill Highs for six years. In 1964, Harvel Pollard led the Foothill team to the South Yosemite League Co-Championship.
Mr. Pollard served as the defensive back coach for the BC Renegades for 27 years and is the proud patriarch of a family of BC Renegades
He has a daughter and 2 sons who attended BC. His 2 sons were both athletes
He has 2 grandsons who were BC athletes
Christy Porter, Owner-Operator of the Jasmine Nyree Day Center created the center after realizing through her own personal experience that Kern County needed a comprehensive and professional special needs day center that would provide the services necessary to reduce the pressure on families of children with disabilities.
Mrs. Porter is committed to providing safe, interactive and enriching activities for special needs children by recruiting committed and professional staff that provides quality services that enhance child functioning while working with families to receive supportive ancillary services essential for providing skills that can further assist special needs children in the home.
Born in Frederick, Oklahoma and the daughter of Mrs. Patricia Griffin, Christy comes from a family of six girls. A graduate of Foothill High School here in Bakersfield California, Christy took an interest in her academics and playing basketball. After graduating from high school, Christy went on to continue her education at Bakersfield College and Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
Christy has been married for 12 years to her high school sweetheart Joey Porter, Super Bowl winning, All- Star linebacker who currently plays for the Phoenix Cardinals.
Christy has four children, two boys and two girls. A business owner and innovative motivator of children and women across the country, Christy believes in investing in our children and communities. She is currently pursuing business ventures that will improve services to metropolitan Bakersfield.
Clayton is an internationally recognized painter whose teaching career was at BC. He has a local fan club of former students and local art followers. He is faithful to BC and makes a yearly trip back to Bakersfield for his annual show.
He donated a painting to BC when he was honored at a reception a few years ago.
He is generous in response to inquiries about his BC days. It was Clayton Rippey who designed our outstanding Renegade Knight mosaic pylon which stands at Haley and Panorama and is the symbol of BC.
-- Jerry Ludeke
Rosalina Chavez Rivera was born in Iramuco, Guanjuato, Mexico and migrated to the United States in 1970.
She attended Bakersfield College (BC) Â 1980 to 1981 and earned an associates degree in Business. She transferred and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB).
She went on to receive her Master’s Degree from National University, and met the requirements for an administrative credential through coursework at Fresno State University.
Rosalina began her career in education in 1986, as an instructor in Chicano Studies at Bakersfield College and Bilingual Education at the McFarland Adult School. Over the next decade, from 1986 to 1996, she held several different teaching positions in both elementary and adult education in McFarland and Delano.
From 1996 to 1999, she served as site resource teacher at Albany Park School in the Delano Union Elementary School District (DUESD). In 1999, Rosalina was promoted into administration as Coordinator of Special Projects. In 2002, she was assigned DUESD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. Rosalina Rivera became Superintendent of the Delano Joint Union High School District (DJUHSD) in 2007.
Under her leadership, the DJUHSD received numerous academic honors to include: California Distinguished Schools Awards; California School Board Association Golden Bell Awards; U.S. News and World Report Nation’s Best High School Awards; and National Title I Distinguished School Award.
Rosalina Rivera has been recognized for her service and advocacy on behalf of the Delano community and was:
Rosalina Rivera considers the core values of character, loyalty, commitment and excellence as fundamental principles for her life and career. Her association with Bakersfield College as a student, instructor and education leader demonstrates excellence and makes her a highly prized Bakersfield College Centennial Star.
Dr. David Rosales served in the United States Army in Vietnam from November 1967 to March 1968 during the Tet Offensive. He served as a military advisor to popular forces in Vietnam in I Corps and returned to home base at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, 18th Airborne Corps until May 1970. He attained the permanent rank of E-5.
He earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Medal
As a returning veteran, he enrolled at Bakersfield College working towards a transfer education program from 1971-1973. At BC, he was active in campus clubs and student government.
He transferred to CSUB and earned a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in History. He continued his education at USC, earning a doctorate in education.
In 1977, he was employed at the Employment Development Department as a Disabled Veterans Opportunity Program Specialist and began teaching as an adjunct faculty member at BC from 1975-1977.
In 1978, he became a full time faculty member at BC, supervising the Chicano Cultural Center and Chicano Studies program, and teaching History.
He was also an administrative intern in the Student Activities and Residence Halls Programs, Associate Dean of Students, and Dean of Instruction, eventually choosing to go back to the classroom, teaching American and California History until retirement in 2009.
In spite of these accomplishments, Dr. Rosales is most proud of his family.
He and his wife Irene have 3 children: Miranda, David, Jr. and Oliver. They all began their college carrers at Bakersfield College, and each graduated with honors. All three went on to complete their education - at USC, UC Davis and UC Berkeley. His son, Dr. Oliver Rosales, is a BC History Professor at the Delano Campus.
He and Irene have 5 grandchildren.
Patrick O. Shaffer is a native son of Delano, California. He graduated from Bakersfield College before getting a Masters Degree from Fresno State College.
His contributions to Bakersfield College have been numerous especially in the areas of the Delano Center, the Weill Institute of Bakersfield College and the Delano College Center Foundation.
He is one of the founding fathers of the Bakersfield College, Delano Campus. With little doubt, Pat Shaffer was instrumental in the Foundation’s development of the Delano Center since 1972.
Prior to joining the Bakersfield College Delano Center, he was a staff member of Delano High School where he taught social studies and art and directed student activities.
At BC, he served as an on-sight operations staffer in student services, counseling, registration and facilities management. He assisted the founding Dean of the Delano center and subsequently served as Assistant Dean, Interim Dean, and Dean of the center.
At Bakersfield College, he served as the Dean of the Weill Institute in downtown Bakersfield and developed many successful business programs there such as the Small Business Institute.
On the main campus, Shaffer worked diligently to expand the college’s foundation in donor support. His work in that area supported student scholarships and the new Bakersfield College Library.
Most notable about his time at BC is he brought education to students in a number of outlying areas, to include Delano, California.
Ralph Carpenter commented about his efforts in Delano. He said, “He has a good Delano connection; he was born in a railroad boxcar at Sierra Vista Ranch in Delano. He rounded up good people, found empty classrooms in various schools. Then a schedule of classes was announced and immediately 700 students signed up.”
This was the beginning of our Delano operations.
Pat Shaffer was a teacher and administrator for 33 years and has a lifetime of helping others achieve their dreams. Because of his efforts to bring higher education to Delano, Pat Shaffer deserves the recognition as one of Bakersfield College’s 100 centennial stars.
Photo: Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg accepted the award on behalf of Pat Shaffer.
Dr. Jack Schuetz (deceased) – died in Bakersfield on September 13, 2013 at the age of eighty-one. Pronounced “sheets”, he should be remembered as an outstanding local educator for whom the “Jack L. Schuetz Career Center” was named by the Kern High School District upon Schuetz’ retirement.
He was a 1950 graduate of East High School where he was an excellent student and athlete on the football and track teams. In 1949, he played on the first Blade football team to ever defeat the Drillers and the score showed the difficulty of the win, 20-19.
Of all his teachers and coaches, he respected his track coach Gil Bishop the most. He later stated that his father showed little interest in his activities and Gil Bishop became like another father to him. Under Bishop, Schuetz became an excellent sprinter in track and he helped Bishop’s EB track team win the first team title in history at the the West Coast Relays.
Schuetz entered BC in 1950, was quickly injured in football, dropped from school, and joined the Navy during the Korean War. He was twenty-two when in January of 1954 he returned to BC, reported to the track team coached by Chris Christensen and John Collins, and worked hard to return to the sprint speed he had before joining the Navy. He finished the season having been bothered by many injuries but respected for his hard work.
In the fall of 1954, the Metropolitan Conference was asking all the league schools to have cross country teams and that placed BC Athletic Director Gil Bishop with a difficult decision. His two track coaches, Collins and Christensen, had prior commitments and that left first-year AD Bishop needing to find a cross country coach.
Bishop was not a man to avoid a challenge; he first asked Schuetz to run for “Student Athletic Director” and he won the student election. Next, Bishop asked Schuetz to coach BC’s first cross country team. Schuetz had no experience in the sport but Bishop encouraged him and promised his help in making up training schedules, ordering transportation for trips, and buying uniforms. On many days, Schuetz was able to run some with his team, the team improved, but was only able to finish in the middle of the league teams at the end of the season. No worries; Bishop applauded Scheutz’ efforts and commended his successes.
In the spring of 1955, John Collins was the new BC track and field coach and Schuetz had improved to be more than competent and was elected Team Captain. Schuetz graduated and transferred to San Jose State in the fall of 1955. He left his athletic days behind, concentrated on his academics, graduated with a B.S. and Masters in Education with an emphasis in Special Education.
Schuetz’ first teaching job was at East Bakersfield High School. He started a Special Education program and was assistant track coach for Chuck Weinman. Schuetz coached the sprinters and his best was the great sprinter/hurdler Billy Mackey who became the first local athlete to win the “Central Section Athlete of the Year”.
After three years at East High, Schuetz was offered a job as “District Director of Special Education”. In 1970, he completed a Doctorate at the University of Southern California and returned to serve the District for twenty-seven years all in Special Education. Dr. Schuetz helped develop the Ruggenberg Center near Foothill High School and, when he retired in 1993, a new school was being opened for the developmentally disabled and the District named it the “Jack L. Schuetz Career Center”.
In 2009, Dr. Jack Schuetz was inducted into the B.C. Track & Field and Cross Country Hall of Fame for his support of B.C. as the school’s first cross country coach and as a sprinter/Team Captain for Coach John Collins.
In talking to his students and family, a behavior theme stands out: Jack Schuetz had a gift of analyzing what a student needed to do to develop his own abilities and then could and would help direct and encourage each student to take those important developmental steps.
Harriet Sheldon graduated from Kern County Union High School, went to Bakersfield College, and went on to earn MA’s in both Physical Education and Counseling from the University of the Pacific.
She taught at both the high school level and at the University of the Pacific and eventually returned to Kern County and Bakersfield College where she was a professor, counselor, and eventually an Associate Dean of Student Services and Counseling.
She also served on a multitude of community services as a board member, including the American Cancer Society, the Bakersfield Camp Fire Council, and the Kern County Committee for Drug Abuse, and served in the Red Cross during World War II.
Until recently, she continued in private practice as a Marriage, Family, and Child Therapist.
In the midst of all of these accomplishments, Harriet Sheldon was also a standout athlete—competing in tennis, golf and softball in her school years.
After graduation, Ms. Sheldon continued to excel in golf; she was Bakersfield Women’s Golf Champion five times and Kern County Women’s Golf Champion five times.
In addition, she coached the women’s tennis team at Bakersfield College, leading it to a Northern California JC Regional Tennis title.
Dr. Robert Sheldon was the team doctor for many years along with Dr. Clerou, attending all games. Dr. Sheldon was an all-conference guard for the Renegades in 1936 and went on to Stanford to become an ear-nose-and throat doctor, later attending Harvard. He worked with Dr. Romain Clerou as a team Doctor for the Renegades, splitting his time between Bakersfield College and Bakersfield High School.
Dr. Sheldon has been active in community projects including BC’s first football support group known as the Wingback Club starting in 1953 before he had to return to Navy duty.
The Sheldon Trust, supported by both Bob and his wife Harriet, who coached and was a counselor at BC, has been generous to BC causes andÂ scholarships.
As the Team Doctor, Sheldon worked with Dr. Clerou in serving BC until 1978 and BHS until 1986.
Dr. Robert Sheldon was the team doctor for many years along with Dr. Clerou, attending all games. Played football at BC. Active in community support of BC thru Helmet Club & others. Harriet Sheldon played tennis at BC. Became tennis and golf women’s champion in Kern County. Taught PE at BC and counseling. Ended up as Head of the Counseling Department.
The Sheldon Trust (supported by both Bob and Harriet) is very generous to BC causes & scholarships.
-- Jerry Ludeke
When you pause to look at the life of Mary Kay Shell, two phrases stand out - breaking boundaries and serving the community.
During her storied career, Mary Kay Shell was unafraid to move into areas not traditionally held by women. She started work in her grandfather’s welding and auto repair shop and at 17 became a cub reported for the Bakersfield Californian, and other male dominated field, and continued in journalism until the 1980’s.
She also had a strong desire to learn to fly and became the dispatcher at La Cresta Airfield in order to pay for lessons, earning a pilot’s license.
She was the first woman to serve as Mayor of the city of Bakersfield and only the second to serve as a county supervisor.
During her political career she was known for winning elections when the political odds were against her, and upon her retirement from public office, the Bakersfield Californian called her “the most popular politician in Kern County history”.
During her time in office and after, Ms. Shell dedicated herself to serving our community and improving life for all who live in Bakersfield.
Included in these accomplishments are the founding of the Beautiful Bakersfield Committee, the formation of an organization to build a memorial to Medal of Honor recipient Larry Pierce, creating the Bakersfield Historical Preservation Commission, establishing the annual Bakersfield Prayer Breakfast, and her personally most memorable achievement, the building of a lighted soccer field in an underserved area of the city in coordination with AYSO.
Her work has been recognized in the naming of the Mary K. Shell Journalism Scholarship and the Mary K. Shell Mental Health Facility. You might recognize Ms. Shell as a community participant picking up trash in vacant lots, the mayor who took on Johnny Carson over his disparaging comments about Bakersfield, or as a valued member of the Bakersfield College Foundation.
Her life has been an example of both success and public service, and while Bakersfield College would love to claim responsibility for molding her into the woman she became, at the very least, we can very proudly point to her as an example of an alum whom our current students would be wise to emulate.
Ed Simenson began his career in education as a teacher at East high school. He left during WWII and served as a marine pilot in Asia flying over the “hump” between China and Burma. After the war, he returned to Bakersfield and was hired by Bakersfield College as a teacher and Athletic Director (1946-1954).
In 1953, he became Dean of Students, college President from 1958 to 1968, and finally the first Chancellor of the Kern Community College District from 1968-1978.
Much of what we see today as Bakersfield College happened under Dr. Simenson’s watch, and his lasting impact can still be felt as he was the individual nominated for this award more often than anyone else. In his nominations, he was described as “politically astute, well connected, a visionary with a true compass.”
“He was a leader of the community college movement both statewide and nationally during its period of greatest expansion and was one of the founders of the League for Innovation in the Community College. Much of the excellence of BC today is due to his work.”
“His style of management would be described as “governing with an open hand”.
To stay close to his faculty, he ate most of his noon lunches in the Faculty Cafeteria and could be found conversing with anyone and everyone. His vice-presidents and deans came up through the ranks and earned tenure from their years as teachers.
When there was a problem, everyone was expected to work through the “chain of command” and his administrators were given a lot of leeway for decision making, and I do not remember any administrators being fired during his tenure and the campus at all levels ran smoothly and without noticeable disruptions because “Si” controlled the mechanism and worked out problems to the benefit of everyone concerned. Bakersfield College was a productive and happy place to work.”
With all of these accomplishments, when this individual asked Dr. Simonsen what his most enjoyable job was in education, his response was “in the classroom”.
Bakersfield College would like to acknowledge tonight the debt that we all owe to the dedication of this man, Dr. Ed Simenson.
President of the college and then the college district for probably 20 years. Politically astute, well connected, a visionary with a true compass.
-- James Houck
Si was the third president of Bakersfield College and the first Chancellor of the Kern Community College District. He was a leader of the community college movement both statewide and nationally during its period of greatest expansion and was one of the founders of the League for Innovation in the Community College.
Much of the excellence of BC today is due to his work
-- Robert Allison
As Database Editor of the Los Angeles Times, Jack hunts down and analyzes data for news and investigative projects.
His most recent major project was an analysis of seismically vulnerable buildings in Los Angeles. Prior to that, he conducted an analysis of student test scores for a series “Grading the Teachers,” and contributed to investigations of construction abuse in the community college system and the rising toll of prescription drug overdoses.
He has been at The Times 43 years, covering local and state government, criminal justice, politics and education.
He was the lead writer for our coverage of the infamous North Hollywood Shootout, winner of a 1997 Pulitzer Prize. Between 2005 and 2008, he made five trips to Iraq on loan to the foreign desk.
Patricia Smith is an alumnus of Bakersfield College.
She served as a corporal in the United States Army Active Duty from 1984-1987 in Darmstadt, Germany with the 11th Air Defense Signal Battalion.
She also served served in the Army Reserves with the 396th Military Police Detachment in Bakersfield 1987-1989.
Pat Smith earned Master's degree in Organizational Management.
She was employed with the Kern County Probation Dept. as a Probation Officer assigned to Investigations in the Adult Division and worked for a non-profit organization for 20 years working to rehabilitate violent offenders in a residential community corrections program.
Became BC Adjunct in 2010 and became Full-time BC Instructor in 2013 in Criminal Justice.
Judy K. Snyder was a student at Bakersfield College in 1970 to 72. It was hard for her—when she was sixteen her mother died suddenly of an aneurism, and her father suffered an emotional breakdown. Judy was pretty much on her own. But she was very hard working and volunteer-oriented.
She co-founded a school club called “Sisterhood” to support and educate people about women’s issues, including sexual assault. Later, she and another woman co-founded a 24-hour crisis response program for sexual assault victims. This was an all-volunteer group called Rape Hotline of Kern County, and it was the first such program in existence in the county.
Since California law mandated that county hospitals had some form of counseling for rape victims, KMC invited the Rape Hotline to be its program, giving volunteers one pager that they shared among them. Judy established a telephone hotline facilitated through the county hospital switchboard; developed and coordinated onsite protocol for county and private hospital emergency rooms; served as liaison to legal, medical and mental health agencies; co-wrote a grant to secure funding; recruited, trained and supervised volunteer and employed staff; and frequently represented the Hotline at media and public speaking events.
She never stopped volunteer work and has been active in many causes. Professionally, she channeled her desire to help people into what is now her profession, Allied Health Coordinator at San Joaquin Valley College, Bakersfield, CA.
Her work includes administrative and compliance oversight for allied health students, maintaining clinical extern site compliance, meeting JHACO and State of California regulations for eight allied health programs for students: health assessments; vaccination schedules; procedure declinations; drug screening; Criminal, SKIP (SS), HHS, CASO, OIG, National BGC background checks. Responsibilities include Training Center Coordinator of AHA BLS CPR and First Aid training on several SJVC campuses, supervision of CAMA faculty and senior students during end-of-program completion, developing and coordinating community and health industry volunteer opportunities for allied health students, and much more.
She has helped students gain work in medical facilities all over the county—and physicians speak very glowingly of her.
Her volunteer activities after the Rape Hotline include work with Girl Scouts, care management of the elderly, Kern Medical Reserve Corps, CSUB Alumni Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and with breast cancer awareness, among others.
She is a BC graduate who never left the community and who has spent her life devoting her energies to helping other people.
-- Gloria Dumler
An inspirational example of a local high school student taking Bakersfield College, Delano campus classes then graduating from a California University. She continues her lifeâ€™s journey to places she never thought she would experience.
In 2009, Thalia Solorio started full time at the Bakersfield College Delano Campus following graduation from Cesar E. Chavez High School (CCHS).
At CCHS, she took advantage of early college opportunities, and came to BC already having 20 college units under her belt. While a high school junior and senior, she concurrently enrolled at BC, Cerro Coso College and CCHS.
Although quiet and reserved, Thalia had a deep interest in Communication and Film studies.
She graduated from Bakersfield College in May 2011 with a double major in Communication and Liberal Studies. She transferred to the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and majored in Film and Media. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2013.
She was recently selected to be a Cultural Ambassador by Spain’s Ministry of Education. As a Cultural Ambassador, she will spend a year teaching children and teenagers about North American customs and language.
Thalia is a first generation college student and role model for current and future BC students. Her determination, success, and desire to learn, experience life, and help others do the same, more than justifies her selection as one of BC’s 2013 Centennial stars.
Image: Thalia Solorio's brother, Jorge, accepted the award in her honor, as was in Spain as a Cultural Ambassador for Spain's Ministry of Education.
Carol Sorrell currently holds the title of Chief Operating Officer at Bakersfield Family Medical Center. In this position, she has total responsibility for Bakersfield Family Medical Center as well as Coastal Communities Physicians Network in San Luis Obispo, through Heritage Provider Network.
Prior to Bakersfield Family Medical Center, she was Chief Executive Officer for Kern Health Systems, a position she held for 17 years.
Carol is a Registered Nurse who obtained her Associate of Science Degree in Nursing from Bakersfield Community College 1980. She graduated from California State University Dominguez Hills with a Bachelors of Science and obtained her Public Health Nurse Certificate in 1990.
Upon graduation from Bakersfield College, Carol began her nursing career working in the emergency room at Kern Medical Center. She soon moved up to management roles in the Utilization Review and case management areas of the hospital.
She was subsequently recruited by Kaiser Permanente in Bakersfield to assist with start-up operations for that Health Plan. She was with Kaiser for 7 years, before she was recruited as part of the start-up team for operations at Kern Health Systems.
Carol began her career with Kern Health Systems in 1994 as the Chief Operating Officer and was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in January 1996.
Since their beginnings as a start-up operation, Kern Health Systems has since grown into the largest HMO in Kern County, providing health care to120,000 members.
Carol has been and continues to be a strong supporter of Bakersfield College and its nursing program. She is very proud of the fact that her father, Bob Edmonds, worked as a professor of Psychology at Bakersfield College until he retired in 1997.
In addition to her many professional accomplishments, Carol is also a devoted wife and proud mother of three boys.
Mr. Stevens is a local radiologic technologist and manager of the radiology department at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. He graduated from the Radiologic Technology Program in 1972 and began working as a technologist for local hospitals. He continued working in the field and eventual became the manager of Bakersfield Memorial Hospital in 1994.
He served as one of the first Clinical Instructors for the radiography program in the 1980s and as an been active as an advisory committee member. During his early career, he helped form focus groups to help students study for the national and State of California registy exams. He is very committed to the BC program and sucess of students.
Mr. Stevens displays his professionalism through his continue interest in students of Bakersfield College as they do their clinical rotations through Memorial Hospital. He acts as a role model and mentor for his staff technologist and the radiography students.
Gary serves on various committees at Memorial Hosipital, but he especially enjoys his work on the Employee Recognition in Action committee. He finds satisfaction in not being recognzied himself but in celebrating the positive actions of others.
He has been activiely involved in local sports through his association with the Southwest Little League, AYSO, Southwest All-Stars, Path Blazers at his church, and currently as coach of the Stockdale High School freshmen baseball team.
Mr. Gary Stevens is a star of the Bakersfield College Radiologic Technolgy program as a graduate and mentor in the radiography field.
Jan Calvin Stuebbe was born on July 26, 1951, in Henderson, Nebraska, to Reverend Calvin and Marie Stuebbe.
Jan spent his early years in Nebraska and South Dakota before his family moved to Shafter when he was a freshman in high school. He was an outstanding quarterback, basketball player, and track athlete at Shafter High School, from which he graduated in 1969. Jan held many records at the school, including a pole-vaulting record that stands today. Jan played football and pole vaulted at Bakersfield College before transferring to Colorado State University, where he was one of the nation’s leading passers in 1973.
While at Bakersfield College, Jan met the love of his life, Debbie Dunlap. They were married in Denver, Colorado, on April 20, 1973. Jan and Debbie had three sons--Jacob, Andrew, and Tim.
After graduating from Colorado State University in 1974, Jan accepted a position as teacher and head football coach at McFarland High School. He taught and was head football coach at Shafter and Centennial High Schools before becoming athletic director at Bakersfield College in 1998. He was recently honored by being named one of the 100 Stars for the 100-Year Celebration of Bakersfield College--individuals who had made significant contributions to the success of BC. Jan was inducted into the Shafter High School, Bakersfield College Alumni, and Bakersfield College Track Halls of Fame.
Jan retired in 2011. He enjoyed traveling extensively with Debbie and playing golf. During retirement, he wrote and published “How to Be a Lousy Leader,” a practical, to-the-point book filled with useful and insightful advice for leaders and aspiring leaders.
Bill Thomas began his connection with Bakersfield College as a faculty member in political Science for four years.
He began his career in politics as member of the California state assembly, and was elected to the Ninety-sixth United States congress and served there in thirteen succeeding Congresses. He was chair of Committee on House Oversight, Committee on House Administration, and of Committee on Ways and Means before his retirement.
Bakersfield College would like to acknowledge Mr. Thomas in particular for his direction of $1 million dollars in funds to develop William M Thomas Planetarium, which sets BC apart from our peers. The planetarium supports our instruction in Astronomy and has provides shows for over 4,500 K-12 students per year.
Dr. Bill Thomas was born and raised in Bakersfield and graduated from North High in 1969.
He was a three sport athlete excelling in football, basketball, and baseball. He continued playing baseball at Bakersfield College for two years under Coach Walt Johnson and then went on to play for UCLA as a starting pitcher. He graduated from UCLA with a degree in Biology and was accepted into UCLA’s School of Dentistry.
After graduating from dental school, he came back to Bakersfield and has been practicing for 36 years. He continued his commitment to Bakersfield College in the early “80s when he was a clinical instructor for the Dental Assisting program.
He and his wife Linda have three daughters; Laura is a Director at The Rubicon Project in West Los Angeles, Katherine is a doctor in San Francisco, and Julie is a Speech Pathologist in Bakersfield. Julie played basketball for two years at Bakersfield College under Coach Paula Dahl.
Bakersfield College is proud to be part of the history of individuals such as Dr. Bill Thomas and his family and we are grateful to have this opportunity to thank Dr. Thomas for his involvement in our institution.
Ross was honored by being named to the 1933 “All-Central California JC Conference Football Team” as a center. His coach was Theo “Spud” Harder. Ross today at age 101 is the oldest known living Renegade athlete and may also be the oldest living former BC student.
-- Bob Covey
Michael Tivnon graduated from UC Irvine and is a Board Certified in Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Surgery.
He has served as a team Doctor for Bakersfield College since 1980.
Dr. Michael Tivnon has diligently taken care of BC athletes for 33 years.
Shirley taught mathematics from the 1970s (maybe earlier) through the 1980s
Shirley demonstrated exceptional merit and achievement by her teaching excellence, involvement in BC committees, and loyalty to Bakersfield College.
Shirley introduced me to the teaching of mathematics. I had just started teaching 8 hours a week in the Math Learning Center when she asked me to substitute for her classes while she attended a conference. She gave me instructions and seating charts, and acted like she knew I would do a good job. Her faith in me helped me to think that I could do a good job, and I set out to accomplish that. I became her "standard" substitute, and through this opportunity, I learned of her teaching style and student engagement techniques.
Shirley was one of my first mentors - I wear a friendly smile, use humor in the classroom and include comics on the cover of each test just like she did.
There was one weekend when we were attended the same math conference session, but were in different locations in the room. There was a question and answer session, and the speaker on the stage made a derogatory comment about COmmunity College students. Shirley jumped to her feet, told that speaker that he was out of line and expressed her confidence and appreciation of community college students.
I never forgot her strong reaction in this situation, and admired her position that every person should have an opportunity to learn.
Shirley touched the lives of many students and colleagues while she taught at Bakersfield College. She is definitely a STAR.
-- Rebecca Head
Mary Trichell is the owner of the W. A. Thompson Distributing Companies serving Kern County and the high desert areas of California.
She was born and raised in Bakersfield, attending local schools and graduating from East Bakersfield High School. Mary attended both Mills College and Bakersfield College, but she credits East High and Bakersfield College with providing her with the skills to be successful.
In fact, three generations of Mary’s family have attended Bakersfield College.
Upon the death of her husband, Ray Trichell, in 1995, Mary continued to carry on the tradition of maintaining and growing a locally-owned business as well as giving back to the community.
In addition to her business responsibilities, she has served as a director of the California Beer and Beverage Distributors, CSUB Foundation and is a member of the Rotary Club of Bakersfield (downtown). She was inducted in the Bakersfield College Alumni Hall of Fame in 1999.
In 2010, she was honored with the Miller Coors Legend Award for her passion and perseverance in the beer business. She has been awarded the Miller High Life Achievement Award as well as multiple President’s Awards for sales execution and quality standards.
She was named the Person of the Year for 2013 by the Kern County Fair Board for her many years of support of the fair and the Junior Livestock program.
She has been a lifelong supporter of Bakersfield College in all phases including athletics, the arts, and academics. Whenever a need arises, Mary Trichell is one the first to be there, offering her time treasure and talent.
She has three children (all of whom returned to Bakersfield after college to be a part of the family business) and three grandchildren.
Mr. James “Jackrabbit Jim” Tyack (deceased) – 1929-1932. His nickname became “Jackrabbit Jim” for his outstanding running speed. He was arguably the best athlete in the San Joaquin Valley in 1931 and 1932. In football he played running back and quarterback and was the team’s high scorer. Tyack helped BJC’s football and track coach, Theo “Spud” Harder, win league football titles in 1929 and 1932 and league track titles in 1931 and 1932.
In 1932, Tyack ran 100-Yards in the BJC school record 9.6 seconds that stood until Jesse Bradford ran 9.5 in 1958. Tyack also in 1931 ran 21.6 seconds for the 220 that was a BC, Conference, and State JC record. At the Conference Track Meet, he was the high point scorer for the league both years winning the 100 and 220 in 1931 and 1932, the Shot Put in 1931, the Broad Jump (22’ 7 ½”) in 1932, and anchored his team’s Mile Relay to the win in 1931.
He played professional baseball from 1933 to 1943 and finished his career playing for Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics. He came home in 1943 and started a tire store he called Tyack’s Tires and each year since he and his family have supported high school athletics with a trophy or plaque in his name to the outstanding athlete at each high school.
At BJC, in the 1931-1932 school year, Tyack played and lettered in four sports – football, basketball, track, and baseball. No BJC/BC athlete has duplicated that other than Hiram “Hi” Stanley who did it also in the 1931-32 school year.
Grace Van Dyke Bird came to teach at what was then called Bakersfield Junior College in 1917, after her graduation from the University of California, Berkley with majors in French and architecture. She quickly emerged as a leader, and in 1921 she was named dean of the college, the title then assigned to college chief executives. (Her successors would all be called President, so in 1976 the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees conferred upon her the title President Emeritus.)
Bird was one of the first to suggest use of the term community college instead of junior college, arguing that community was more descriptive of the institution's role. A woman of vision, she encouraged instruction in job skills as well as quality education for students transferring to four-year colleges.
The first woman to head a public community college in California, Bird was popular and widely respected as an educator and administrator. Her peers elected her president of the California Junior College Federation, forerunner of the California Association of Community Colleges. She is widely credited with building community college articulation relationships with high schools and the state colleges, particularly the University of California. In 1950, Bird was tapped for a position in the UC Office of Relations with Schools, with responsibility for community college affairs. She remained there until her retirement in 1960. In 1976, she was named Berkeley Fellow of the University for the lifetime of service she had rendered to education in the state. She died in 1986 at the age of 94.
Peg Levinson wrote a wonderful description of Grace Van Dyke Bird.
“To me the most significant intellectual characteristic of Miss Bird is her tremendous knowledge of many subject matter fields. She is not only familiar with most academic areas; she knows them. At Bakersfield College it was not at all uncommon to see her discussing with a student some problem in calculus or in philosophy and actually giving him, along with her counsel, first class instruction on the problem at hand. When our instructor in architecture was ill, she was able to substitute for him. As a matter of fact, I would guess there was NO academic field in which she would not have performed adequately. Outside of the academic field, Miss Bird had extensive interests in all student activities. She was a good deal more than an avid football fan. You would find her almost any afternoon at football practice, taking every bit as much interest in the running of plays as the coach did.
But Grace Van Dyke Bird was not just an administrator or an academic. She had strongly held beliefs that she fought for, including voicing her strong opposition to the internment of Japanese American students in World War II. She also had an obvious sense of care for her students. One of the most prized possessions in our Archives today are letters from Grace Van Dyke Bird to BC young men serving overseas during World War II, individually keeping them apprised of the goings on at BC and giving them her own, personal hopes for their safe return.
What an honor it is to look to such a leader as one of our first presidents. I doubt that any of us today could hope to accomplish all that she did in her lifetime, but maybe through this honor to her we can remember who she was and be proud.
If she were alive today, Grace Van Dyke Bird would approve of the innovative library that bears her name. An educational innovator herself, Bird would applaud the use of technology, the emphasis on teaching and learning, and the community focus of the facility.
Bird came to teach at what was then called Bakersfield Junior College in 1917, after her graduation from the University of California, Berkeley. She quickly emerged as a leader, and in 1921 she was named dean of the college, the title then assigned to college chief executives. (Her successors would all be called President, so in 1976 the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees conferred upon her the title President Emeritus.)
Bird was one of the first to suggest use of the term community college instead of junior college, arguing that community was more descriptive of the institution's role. A woman of vision, she encouraged instruction in job skills as well as quality education for students transferring to four-year colleges.
Bakersfield College's library has borne Bird's name since the Panorama Drive campus was built in 1956. As plans for the 1996 building unfolded, one thing was clear from the start: the facility would continue to bear the name of Grace Van Dyke Bird.
-- Bonnie Suderman
Cris Velasco participated in the music program at BC and subsequently transferred to UCLA majoring in music composition. Upon graduation he secured an agent and almost immediately had success as a composer of video game music. His website http://www.monarchaudio.com/ provides more detail. Here is a bio from the site:
Cris Velasco is a multiple award-winning composer of epic orchestral, dark experimental and modern hybrid music scores for video games, film and television. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in Music Composition, Velasco pursued his passion to write music for visual media; his first major release was composing for Sony?s blockbuster God of War.
A prolific and versatile composer, Velasco has become one of the most sought-after composers in interactive entertainment, scoring many major titles including Company of Heroes 2, Mass Effect 3, Borderlands 2, ZombiU, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, God of War 3, Tron: Evolution, Borderlands, God of War 2, Darksiders, Clive Barker's Jericho, and many more.
Velasco also composes for independent films, trailers, and commercials for high-profile clients such as Coca-Cola, Disney, Lexus and Mercedes. His music has been licensed for numerous movies, documentaries and television shows. In addition, Velasco arranged, orchestrated, and conducted multiple arrangements of the Monday Night Football theme currently airing on ESPN.
Cris Velasco?s orchestral music is performed in concerts worldwide and has received numerous accolades including "Best Original Score" from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, "Best Original Music" nomination from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, NBC News' "Best Video Game Music of 2012", GameTrailers' "Best Soundtrack of the Year" and IGN's "People's Choice Award - Best Overall Music".
Cris Velasco lives in Los Angeles and is represented by Soundtrack Music Associates.
After Attending Bakersfield College, Phil Walker continued his education, eventually earning a PhD in education.
Dr. Walker founded International Christian Ministries and is the Chancellor of Africa Theological Seminaries.
At the request of leaders from Eastern Africa, his organization founded ATS to provide leadership training to Africans, allowing students to stay in local leadership positions while gaining access to formal leadership training and a full college degree.
ATS now has campuses in 6 African countries and is fully accredited.
Chuck Wall grew up in Bakersfield, all his life he was told it was mental problems that inhibited his own learning and progress. He was treated as if he was mentally retarded.
But at 19, his world changed dramatically, when a doctor diagnosed him with retinitis pigmentosa. Wall says, "The doctor said you are going to go blind because of this retinitis pigmentosa and I went home, I was pretty excited. I told my folks, 'Wow, I'm going blind, I'm not mentally retarded.' I started life all over again.''
Dr. Wall then went on to earn a Ph.D. from UCLA in the combined fields of Management and Educational Administration. In addition, he holds a B.A. and an M.B.A. from San Francisco State University in the areas of management, marketing and group dynamics.
Dr. Wall taught in the Business Department of Bakersfield College until 2006. Dr. Wall has been Professor of the Year for the State of California Community College system.
He has received international acclaim for his creation of the “random act of kindness” movement which has resulted in some 350 television and radio appearances including the Oprah Show, CNN, The Hour of Power, and he has been honored by the U.S. House of Representatives for his humanitarian work. He has worked for the President of the United States developing a stage production about the future of America and designed a desegregation program for the nation’s schools.
He has authored or co-authored six books and numerous articles. In 2010 he was once again named one of the 50 most influential people to live in Kern County, California since its creation in 1894. Not ever one to rest on his laurels, Dr. Wall has also won several blue ribbons for his wood working and ceramic creations and carried the olympic torch for the summer Olympics.
But to really understand the impact Dr. Chuck Wall has had, you should listen to his students. To do so, I went to the most reliable of sources, Rate my Porfessor.com.
Here are a sample of the comments.
I took him years ago and went on to get my PhD. and I'll have to say that off all my professors this man was the greatest.
Dr. Wall is the MOST inspiring person you will ever meet, and if you show any amount of effort and interest in his classes he will reel you in and make you succeed! He is old school in the best sense of the word.
I really respect Dr.Wall and his willingness to not just be about political B.S. but instead do the right thing for the good of all... He is also a very powerful speaker...The Best Teacher I have seen in a long time.
We are proud to award Dr. Chuck Wall one of the 100 Stars of Bakersfield College
Dr. Chuck Wall was not only a well-respected professor of communications at Bakersfield College for many years, but he's world-renowned for his accomplishments with his "Random Acts of Kindness" movement that has garnered attention from shows such as "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "Live with Larry King." He has also worked alongside presidents (Nixon) and spoken in front of world leaders such as Pope John Paul II. Dr. Wall has never forgotten where he's from and has always given back to his students and his community. I'm so lucky to have had him as one of my professors when I attended, and to call him a friend and mentor to this day over a decade after our friendship started. I know I speak on behalf of the thousands of students Dr. Wall has taught over the many years he's been in education, that when we think of Bakersfield College, we think of Dr. Chuck Wall.
-- Nathan M. Gutierrez
Chuck is the outstanding (and blind) business professor whose class assignment to commit "one senseless act of kindness" took on world fame. He has done more, in that one way, to put Bakersfield College on the international scene. He has kept that movement going nicely. Chuck has written several well-respected business books, carried the Olympic Torch in 2002, and is a sought-after inspirational and business speaker.
-- Jerry Ludeke
James Wall currently serves as a Trustee and Vice-Chairman of the Financial Executives Research Foundation and as Chairman of the Research Committee. Previously he was the National Treasurer and Board Member of Financial Executives International and Area Vice President of the Western Region. He is the 2009 recipient of the FEI National Distinguished Service Award.
He retired as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Core-Mark International (NASDAQ, $5 billion revenues) in December, 2006.
Previous assignments had been as the Chief Financial Officer of Memec PLC (Private, $1.6 billion revenue wholesale semiconductors), Chief Financial Officer of Metricom, Inc. (NASDAQ, wireless internet carrier controlled by Paul Allen) and Treasurer and Controller of Air Touch Communications, Inc. (NYSE, market cap $60 billion, wireless telecommunications).
He also served as Corporate Vice President and Treasurer of ICN Pharmaceuticals (NYSE, $500 million revenue, pharmaceuticals); Treasurer of Ultramar Inc. (NYSE, $2.6 billion revenue, petroleum refining and marketing); a concurrent assignment as Chief Financial Officer and Board member of Unimar Company (AMEX, $500 million revenue, petroleum exploration) while Treasurer of Ultramar PLC (LSE, $3.5 billion revenue, fully integrated petroleum); and as a senior field agent in the Internal Revenue Service Office of International Operations.
Wall has arranged over 125 financings and merger and acquisition transactions totaling in excess of $100 billion.
Wall received an Associate in Arts from Bakersfield College, Bachelor of Science degree in international marketing from California State University at Los Angeles and a Master of Business Administration from the University of California at Los Angeles. Wall also did doctoral work in accounting, finance and management at Pace University and attended the Harvard Graduate School of Business Program for Management Development. He is a certified public accountant licensed in California.
James Wall currently serves as Trustee and Vice-Chairman of the Financial Executives Research Foundation. In 2009 he received the National Distinguished Service Award from the Financial Executives International. He retired in 2006 as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Core-Mark International (NASDAQ, $5 billion revenues.
Wall has arranged over 125 financings and merger and acquisition transactions totaling in excess of $100 billion.
James Wall is the brother of our Charles "Chuck" Wall of Kindness Campaign fame.
-- Chuck Wall
Whitney Weddell attended BC from 1983-84. Whitney has taught at several Middle and High Schools throughout the Greater Bakersfield area. In 2001 she was honored as the Bakersfield City School District Social Science Teacher of the Year and in 2006 she was honored as the Kern County Teacher of the Year.
Whitney is a founding member and chair of the Bakersfield LGBTQ, the local Non-Profit organization that organizes Bakersfield Pride every October. Beyond the community created for over 5,000 people who attend Pride annually Bakersfield LGBTQ also creates community through local groups that meet monthly and sometimes weekly. Perhaps the most important work of the Bakersfield LGBTQ is its work to end bullying and create safe spaces for teens in their own schools.
In the past 4 years the Bakersfield LGBTQ have been the primary anti-bullying group county-wide. They've been instrumental in crafting campus anti-bullying policies and they have, hand-and-hand with Bakersfield PFLAG, nurtured the growth of our high school Gay Straight Alliances from just 4 clubs to 19 county-wide today.
On top of everything else Whitney does she is also the person you are most likely to see from our LGBTQ community when you turn on the news. Whitney's clear soundbytes have been featured in our local TV newscasts hundreds of times over the last decade.
Whitney truly is a shimmering rainbow star of our community.
After graduating from Arvin High, Jim Wren was recruited by John Collins to attend BC and run cross country and track.
He had not planned on attending college, nor had any member of his family before him. But he credits John Collin’s influence on changing life’s path.
He ran on Coach Collins great 1955 Renegade cross country team that was ranked #1 nationally, ran well in track, went to Sacramento State and returned to Bakersfield to teach and coach at West High School.
He was one of two outstanding track coaches in Bakersfield for over a decade
Mr. Wren then moved into high school administration where he made a lasting impact. He was a vice principal and principal at West High, a Principal at North High, and worked at the Kern High School district until his retirement in 2012.
Mr. Jim Wren was recruited in 1956 by B.C. track coach John Collins in the summer after he graduated from Arvin High School. College had not been something his family and friends had done and he had not planned to attend a college until Collins talked to him.
That talk changed Wren’s life. He ran on Coach Collins great 1955 Renegade cross country team that was ranked #1 Nationally, ran well in track, went to Sacramento State, graduated, and returned to Bakersfield to teach and coach at West High School He was one of two outstanding track coaches in Bakersfield for over a decade, earned an Administrative Credential, became the Principal at West High School, and later became the Commission of Athletics for the Kern County High School District and all because of John Collins and Bakersfield College.
-- Bob Covey
Louie Wright played Football and ran track for the Bakersfield College Renegades from 1971-1972 when he received the High Point trophy for track and field. He then transferred to San Jose State and after his career in college football.
Wright was drafted by the Broncos in the 7th round of the1975 NFL Draft as a left corner-back.
During his pro career, Louie Wright was twice selected as the Bronco’s most valuable player, was one of only nine Broncos in history to be selected to five Pro-Bowls, played in two Super Bowls, made the All-NFL Team in 1977, helped the Broncos to four Division Titles, and was named Bronco Team Captain in 1984, 1985, and 1986.
He was inducted into the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame in 1993.
Louie Wright is now a teacher at GateWay High School, in Aurora County, Colorado.
He started his college experience at Arizona State but returned toÂ BC for the 1971 football season and the 1972 track season. He lettered in both sports and was the ’72 BC Most Valuable Athlete as the high point scorer on the Renegades’ track team that won the Metropolitan Conference, Southern California, and State meets.
He did not start a game for BC in football, then he transferred to San Jose State on a track scholarship, set the Spartan’s Long Jump record at 25’ 7” and in football won the left-cornerback starting spot. He was named to the 1974 college football All-American Second Team. He was selected by the Broncos in the seventh round, earned the starting position at left-cornerback, and started 163 of his 166 career games. He was twice selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player. He was selected and played in five Pro-Bowl games, helped the Broncos win four Division Titles, and was named the Broncos’ Team Captain in 1984, 1985, and 1986.
-- Bob Covey
Bob Young was a 1934 alum of Bakersfield College who would truly be categorized as one of the most multi-talented BC alum that we can boast of. He was a Renegade track athlete who set the school “Broad Jump” (long jump) that stood until 1959 and ran the mile relay.
He went on to run for the UCLA Bruins and in Young was chosen to run the 4x400-Meters Relay at the 1936 Hitler’s Berlin Olympics.
At the Olympics, he ran the second leg and was the fastest on the team -- helping his mates place second to Great Britain. He became the first person from Bakersfield J.C. and Kern County to become an Olympian. He was also a member of world record setting 4x880 (2 mile) relay team that set a world record later that year.
On his return to the states, Bob Young started his next step in life—marrying his sweetheart Alice Gyder, and they remained together 72 years and raised two sons. He bought a farm near Shandon and was insightful enough to be one of the first 5 near Paso Robles to grow the first grapes.
Mr. Robert C. “Bob” Young (deceased) – He was a 1934 Renegade track athlete who set the school “Broad Jump” (read “Long Jump”) record at 23’ 8 ¾” that stood until 1959. He also ran on the BJC Mile Relay and running on that relay team at the 1934 West Coast Relays caught the attention of UCLA track coaches Harry Trotter and “Ducky” Drake.
He was recruited to be a Bruin and started at the school in the spring of 1935.
He lived with Coach Drake and his wife and worked in the Bruin Training Room to pay for his education. In 1936, UCLA needed a half-miler so Young added that race to his Mile Relay duties and was the fastest 880 and second fastest 440 man on the team.
When it came time to decide what he should run to make the 1936 U.S.A. Olympic Team the coaches and Young picked the 400-Meters and in that event at Randalls Island, New York, he made the Olympic Team to run the 4 x 400-Meter Relay at the Berlin Olympics.
At the Berlin Olympics, he ran the second leg in the Olympic Finals and ran his leg in 46.89 seconds, the fastest on the team in helping his mates place second to Great Britain. He became the second person from Bakersfield and the first from Bakersfield J.C. to become an Olympian.
With the silver medal, he became the first from Kern County to win an Olympic Games medal.
On the ship home from Germany, the U.S.S. President Calvin Coolidge stopped first at South Hampton, England, and the team was taken to London for a relays competition with Great Britain. The meet was held at the famous White City Stadium, site of the 1908 Olympic Games, and the announced featured race was to be the 2-Mile Relay (4 x 880 Yards). The problem was that the U.S. had brought to Europe only three 880 runners.
Assistant coach Dean Cromwell remembered Young defeating his U.S.C. Trojans in the 880 during a spring dual meet and asked Young to run the second leg of the relay against the Brits. The U.S. team of Charles Hornbostel (Indiana University), Young, Harry Williams, and Olympic 800-Meters champion John Woodruff, who won the Olympic Games 800-Meters, won the race easily and set a new World Record of 7:35.8.
For the spring of 1937, Young was the UCLA Track Team Captain and was permitted to run a few 220-Yard Dash races where he recorded a best of 20.8 seconds. Young placed second in the 440 at the National Championships in Milwaukee and placed second in the 400-Meters at the Pan American Games held in Dallas.
His major was Economics and he decided to step into the next page of his life. He had met a pretty girl at Kern County Union High School named Alice Gyder and they were married on July 14, 1939 and lived together seventy-two years.
They bought the farm where Gil Bishop and is sister were raised near Shandon twenty miles from Paso Robles, raised two boys, and raised the first grapes grown in the Paso Robles area on irrigated land. They were one of five vineyards near Paso Robles that today boasts over two-hundred.
Born in Bakersfield, Betty Younger knew she would be an artist as a young child.
She attended local schools and eventually earned her Master’s Degree and Teaching credential.
She taught art at the secondary level and has continued her commitment to art and art education to this day. She is a strong advocate of public art, creating sculptures that all of us can see and enjoy throughout the city of Bakersfield, including the beautiful work we dedicated today at Bakersfield College.
She works with different types of metals, including stainless steel, bronze and copper. Her work, “The Eternal Flame” received a silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Art Competition and is now in the permanent Olympic Art Museum. Her piece, “The Olympic Spirit” was awarded fourth place in the 2004 Olympic art competition.
Betty Younger and her husband, Milt, joined with the Arts Council of Kern County to open a modern gallery that bears their name, “The Younger Gallery: Contemporary and Functional Art” where local artists are able to show their work and view the work of others.
Betty Younger still serves Kern County as a member of the Arts Council, and the Selection Committee of the 100 Stars of Bakersfield College is proud to honor Betty Younger for her continued commitment to improving the lives of all of us in this community through her art.
Milt Younger was also born in Bakersfield and, like Betty, knew what he would be from an early age—a lawyer.
He graduated from Stanford law School, where he was awarded the Order of the Coif, and was admitted to the California Bar in 1957.
Mr. Younger thinks his decision to become a lawyer might have started with a comment from his first grade teacher, “You like to talk so much you would make a good lawyer.” In 1957 Milt Younger returned to Bakersfield to work for Morris Chain and he counts Morris Chain, another of our Bakersfield College 100 stars, as his mentor.
In this practice, Milt Younger concentrated on personal injury claims. Throughout his career in Bakersfield, Milt Younger has been a tireless supporter of a multitude of worthy causes. He has been the President of the Henrietta Weill Foundation, chairman of the Center for Kern Political Education, President of the Bakersfield Symphony, served on the California State University, Bakersfield founding board and served as a trustee in the California State University System.
A few of the many honors Milt Younger has received include the Consumer Attorneys of California Presidential Award of Merit for protecting the rights of California consumers, and awards from the California Teachers Association, the Black American Political Association, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Kern County Sikh Community.