Bakersfield College

President Sonya Christian Commencement

President Christian Archived Website

President Sonya Christian's Biography

President Sonya Christian pictured outside of the BC admin buildingIn 2013, Dr. Sonya Christian became the 10th President of Bakersfield College. Under her leadership, the College has focused on improving student achievement and learning by engaging faculty and the community.

By making data and information available, Christian has cultivated campus-wide ownership of advancing the college's mission. Christian was a math faculty prior to moving into the administrative ranks of dean, vice president, and now president.

Extended Biography

An advocate for continued education across social and economic boundaries, Dr. Sonya Christian has worked tirelessly to uphold and further that mission during her tenure as Bakersfield College President.

Christian began her three-decade career in education at BC in 1991, first as a math faculty member and later as division chair, then Dean of Science, Engineering, Allied Health and Mathematics. In 2003, Christian joined Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon as associate vice president for instruction, then vice president of academic and student affairs and chief academic officer. Christian returned home in 2013 after being selected as the 10th President in Bakersfield College’s prestigious history.

Under her leadership, Christian has maintained the institution’s 100-plus year history of quality instruction while shepherding BC through an exciting phase of expanded opportunities for current and future students. Accomplishments during her time in office include:

  • BC being awarded permission by the state to begin offering a Baccalaureate degree in Industrial Automation, one of only 15 California community colleges selected
  • earning a 2015 Exemplary Program Award from the Board of Governors for California Community College’s for BC’s ground-breaking “Making It Happen” mentoring program
  • the 2017 innovation award
  • the 2018 Chancellor’s Student Success Award.
  • Statewide recognition as a leader in the Guided Pathways movement

In 2016, Christian was named "Woman of the Year" by Californian Assemblyman Rudy Salas for her accomplishments at Bakersfield College. She was also named Woman of the year by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (2016); educator of the year by the Delano Chamber of Commerce (2018).

Christian currently serves as Vice Chair and Commissioner on the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). Christian serves on numerous boards including the:

  • Campaign for College Opportunity
  • Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce
  • Homeless Shelter Board in Bakersfield

Christian earned her bachelor of science degree from University of Kerala in Kerala, India; a master of science in applied mathematics from University of Southern California; and her doctorate from University of California, Los Angeles.