For any proof that Friday was a special night at Cal State Bakersfield, there was no need to look further than Emily Duran's twin daughters, Charlotte and Rebecca.
Duran, one of four to be honored as CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame inductees at an event in its 17th year, dressed up her 6-year-old daughters in bright blue dresses. Duran, the CEO of Kern Health Systems, matched with them in CSUB's school colors as she wore a gold dress.
"Of course it was my idea," Duran said. "I had to represent."
Duran posed for photos with her daughters and her family under a tent during an outdoor gathering before a ceremony inside the Doré Theatre. Duran also posed for photos with the other three inductees, including Cynthia Zimmer, Kris Tiner and Jennifer Thurston.
Tiner is an internationally recognized trumpet player and Bakersfield College's chair of performing arts. Zimmer is district attorney for Kern County. Thurston has been serving as a U.S. federal district court judge for the Eastern District of California after being appointed by President Joe Biden last year.
Zimmer said she took delight in socializing with her fellow inductees during the event.
"I woke up today thinking that I'm excited that I get to come here tonight," Zimmer said. "I'm so honored and humbled."
Each of the inductees felt the same. They graciously accepted well wishes from the estimated 230 guests.
Tiner said he had a packed Friday full of teaching. He brought some of his students, a jazz trio, to play under the tent to begin the evening. Thurston maintains a busy schedule, too. She manages more than 1,000 cases made up of felony criminal and civil actions.
However, Duran, Zimmer, Tiner and Thurston were not at CSUB on Friday to talk about work. Duran was excited to dress up her twin daughters.
Duran had a large entourage of family, friends and colleagues. Her parents, Serafin and Amelia Silva, were among them. They are from Delano, where Duran grew up and learned from their hard work, Serafin in the grape fields, and Amelia on a farm and mostly at home.
"It's a very special moment," Duran said of having her parents at the event. "They supported me throughout college, not just financially but also emotionally. I have an older son. I had him when I was 20 and they watched him when I had to go to school."
Her son, Caleb, is now 23 and serves in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Germany.
Many are familiar with Duran's story of coming from humble beginnings.
"As great of a story she has, she's an even better person," said Jake Hall, deputy director of provider contracts for Kern Health Systems.