Cal State Bakersfield students selected President Horace Mitchell to receive the college’s Unity Award for his contributions to promoting diversity and collaborations, university officials announced.

Students presented the award to Mitchell — who is retiring in June — during the third annual CSUB Unity Breakfast as part of the university’s Black History Month celebration.

“President Mitchell is a true leader who promotes excellence in everything he does,” said Airivia Carmon. “As a student, I have admired and looked up to President Mitchell and am proud to call him our president.”

Mitchell called the award an honor.

“It is meaningful for me to have students recognize our significant efforts in promoting diversity and encouraging collaborations in everything that we do at CSUB.”

Previous winners include CSUB Vice President for Student Affairs Thomas Wallace and Assistant to the President for Equity, Inclusion and Compliance Claudia Catota.


Cal State Bakersfield was named one of the nation’s most affordable colleges by Best Value Schools, a group that ranks public and private four-year colleges and universities in the United States.

CSUB ranked as the sixth most affordable across the nation in 2018.

“When this ranking on affordability is ranked with our No. 3 ranking for upward mobility of our students in a 2017 Equality of Opportunity Project report, it validates our commitment to access, affordability, quality and degree completion,” CSUB President Horace Mitchell said.

Best Value Schools noted that the semester tuition rate of about $6,000 was “astonishingly low,” especially when paired with the programs the campus offers.

“With a state-of-the-art research and media center, theaters, galleries and a recreation center devoted to the school’s Division One athletic teams, CSUB plays a pivotal role amidst Central California’s rural communities by tackling its mission to develop the intellectual and personal potential of each undergrad,” Best Value Schools announced in a press release.

Best Value Schools also noted CSUB’s “respect for its students’ diverse interest and goals” as evident in the university’s vast degree program.

The search was limited to campuses with more than 4,000 undergraduate students, and excluded online and vocational colleges.


State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson named Fruitvale Jr. High School as a “school to watch,” praising it along with 22 others statewide as a model of academic excellence, social equity and responsiveness to the needs of young adolescents.

Fruitvale was listed as the only school to watch in Kern County.

“Congratulations to these schools for doing excellent work to help students believe in themselves, set high goals and dream big,” Torlakson said. “These schools are outstanding examples of how educational innovations can keep students engaged and learning throughout a transitional time in their lives.”

The State Superintendent’s office highlighted Fruitvale Jr. High School for its forensic medical science program, which allows students to experience science hands-on and use their skills of analysis, inquiry and observation.

Fruitvale will celebrate its recognition during a ceremony Feb. 23 on campus.


For the second year in a row, Bakersfield High School’s Virtual Enterprise Business Team won the state competition, sending them to the nationals in New York this spring.

Virtual Enterprise is a competition that challenges high school students to create a fictional product, then launch a fictional business complete with financial plans, operational expenses and anything else a real business would account for.

The winning team this year, Bakersfield High School’s “Anomalous,” created a line of sustainable juices and snacks that help alleviate food waste.

“We take imperfect produce from farmers that have minor bumps and bruises and turn them into high-quality juices. In doing this, we are helping to reduce food waste and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas we put into our atmosphere,” Emily Frank, a member of the team, said.

Jake Stuebbe, the northern California regional director of Virtual Enterprise International and a Stockdale High School teacher, described the venture as “the best hands-on program out there.”

Students across Kern County produce business plans for products with a wide range of uses. Teams this year created watches similar to FitBits catering to those with diabetes that would deliver glucose readings. Last year’s winners dreamed up a business that sells honey, lip balm and other bee-related items to consumers, while renting bees to farmers to pollinate crops.

“Students are learning by doing,” Stuebbe said.

The victory came after months of hard work, students said.

“After school, weekends, holidays, we were together Christmas Eve — every waking second we were together practicing this plan,” Anomalous CEO Madeline Rivera said.

They’ll head to New York in April for the national competition.

Name suggestions wanted for new school

Bakersfield City School District officials are accepting suggestions for the name of its new school site on the corner of Belle Terrace and Cottonwood roads.

The school, planned as a STEAM Academy, is currently being designed.

School board officials are asking for suggestions with the following criteria:

  • Individuals, living or deceased, who have made outstanding contributions to BCSD and/or the Bakersfield community.
  • Individuals, living or deceased, who are/were local, state or national figures who have made significant contributions to the community, Kern County, or the United States.
  • In recognition of the specific geographic area or locales in which the school or building is located.
  • Authors, poets, historical figures who have attained national prominence in the fields of education, science, the arts, statesmanship, civic leadership or an early pioneer of Bakersfield, Kern County or California.
  • Former United States Presidents, living or deceased.

Persons wishing to submit a name should submit it in writing with supporting rationale by March 29 to The Office of the Assistant Superintendent, Business Services, 1300 Baker Street.