BC holds 13th annual Sterling Silver event hosted by Tami Mlcoch

Charr Davenport, Reporter

Bakersfield College and the Bakersfield College Foundation held their 13th annual Sterling Silver event on Saturday, March 6. In previous years, the Bakersfield College Foundation’s Sterling Silver event was a dinner reception, however, due to COVID-19, this year’s event was a televised tribute. The event was hosted by Tami Mlcoch of 17News on KGET and featured Executive Director of the Bakersfield College Foundation Cheryl Scott and Bakersfield College’s President, Sonya Christian, as speakers. 

The event started with Scott giving a brief explanation of what the Bakersfield College Foundation is and what it does for students. “Established in 1975, the foundation has a rich history of supporting the college, with help from those we’re honoring this evening,” said Scott. “The single greatest category of support is in the way of scholarships. Nearly half a million dollars of scholarship money was distributed to more than 500 students this school year.” Scott proceeded to explain that scholarships were the initial reason that the Bakersfield College Foundation was made 46 years ago before continuing to talk about other areas the funds go, examples including the augmentation of classrooms, extracurricular activities, and necessary equipment needed for some degree programs, as well as travel costs for the Umoja African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) Program and the Bakersfield College Chamber Singers. 

Following Scott, President Christian gave some words on Measure J, a bond approved by voters in 2016 that gave colleges in the Kern, San Bernardino, and Tulare counties 5 million dollars to renovate campuses.  

“Measure J has been the largest funding campaign undertaken by the Bakersfield College Foundation,” said President Christian. “Because of the phenomenal effort and support of our Kern County voters, Bakersfield College is, as we speak, undergoing a monumental renovation and revitalization, transforming our learning spaces, which will greatly benefit future generations.” So far, a new Veteran Resource Center and a new Welcome Center have been built using the money from Measure J, along with renovations made to Memorial Stadium. 

The first award of the event was given posthumously to Margaret “Peggy” Haight, who was awarded the 2021 Individual Philanthropist of the Year, along with a memorial platter that reads “Bakersfield College’s sweetheart. Peggy lived simply, and simply loved Bakersfield College. She wanted to help students succeed in any way she could.” A memorial bench was also placed in her memory in 2019. 

Patricia Mettler was also posthumously awarded the 2021 Individual Philanthropist of the Year award, as well as a platter that reads “Patrica Mettler’s legacy gift will forever support agriculture education at Bakersfield College, keeping alive her family’s history of shaping agri-business in Kern County,” which was given to her nephew, John McFarland. With the funds Mettler had given to the school, the Patricia Mettler Early College Ag Pathway, also known as the Agricultural Pathways Early College program, was established. 

The third award of the event was the 2021 Corporate Philanthropists of the Year award, given to Greg and Mary Bynum of real estate company Bynum, Inc. “Mary and I would like to thank you for this honor,” said Greg Bynum as he and Mary Bynum accepted the award. “We’re very thankful to have the opportunity to support Bakersfield College. We have such fond memories of our time at BC and are elated to contribute and to see the future direction of Bakersfield College and the impact it has on our community.” 

The final award of the event was the 2021 BC Foundation Service Medal, given posthumously to former cheer coach and professor Becki Whitson along with the title “BC’s Best Cheerleader. Whitson died from cancer in December 2020. Whitson’s daughter, Nicole Scanlon, accepted the award on her behalf.  

“Thank you for this honor, as BC was so important to my mom,” said Scanlon. “She loved what being a Renegade meant and she was so proud of all that she accomplished through her many roles on the campus. She is missed but her impact will be felt forever.”