There was only one word used to describe the state of Bakersfield College Thursday: strong.
President Sonya Christian presented her seventh State of the College address to a full house during the school's annual Opening Day ceremony, where she noted overall growth and several initiatives and partnerships taking place this school year.
"My job today is to let you know the state of Bakersfield College has never been stronger," she said. "At BC we just don't say words, we prove it through data."
One area where the college has grown is in student population. During the last five years there has been a 46 percent increase in students. The 2018-2019 school year had 36,992 students enrolled, compared to 25,335 students in 2013-2014.
BC has also experienced a 25.9 percent increase in the number of full-time equivalent students the last five years, surpassing the state's overall 1.5 percent increase.
Christian also addressed rumors about a possible recession in the United States, but assured Opening Day attendees they have nothing to worry about regarding the college's finances.
"At Bakersfield College you can relax and do what you do when you wake up and that is to focus on our students," she said. "We do have strong reserves and we've been so smart with our finances."
The tentative general unrestricted budget for 2019-2020 is $124,606,315 with a tentative $11,947,421 in reserves.
Christian also spoke on the recent mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton and made mention that public safety officers and cadets would be present throughout the day. To keep the campus and community safe, if people see or notice something suspicious, she encourages them to say something.
After the address, various panels took place and presenters spoke on the Early College program, where students in high school can earn college credit and even their associate's degree by the time they graduate from high school, baccalaureate degree offerings, the BC Southwest campus, health care and equity.