Cal State Bakersfield has revealed the four alumni who will be inducted into the 2019 Hall of Fame.
The college held a press conference on Wednesday, with President Lynnette Zelezny announcing the recipients: Charlotte Brandt, Tom Corson, Jeff Huckaby and Gene Tackett. They will be formally inducted on Feb. 15 at a gala at the Seven Oaks Country Club.
The Alumni Hall of Fame was created in 2006 to recognize alumni who have made significant contributions in their career fields and/or in their community, and whose accomplishments and careers have brought honor and distinction to the university.
“The individuals selected this year are exceptional,” Zelezny said. “Their professional accomplishments are a shining example of what can be achieved with a degree from CSUB. They demonstrate the positive impact and leadership to community that moves us forward and puts CSUB on the map.”
Bachelor’s degree in psychology, 1988
For more than 20 years, Corson has been part of the Kern County Network for Children, an alliance formed between Kern County and the county Superintendent of Schools office to help address issues children face, such as abuse and neglect, by providing services and resources.
Corson started out in 1997 as a project manager and now leads the organization as the executive director.
In the past, Corson has also served as a group counselor with the county probation department and has been a health educator and project coordinator for Clinica Sierra Vista.
He has also served on several community boards and has maintained ties with CSUB, such as by being a frequent classroom speaker.
Corson said he was surprised to be chosen as an inductee, in part because he said he wasn’t the best student.
“I was in special ed, so college for me was a struggle,” he said. “I had teachers that were very supportive. They knew what my skill levels were and helped me get through school. I learned how to learn here.”
While Corson said he’s not sure if he deserves the recognition, he hopes it can make a difference for the Kern County Network for Children.
“If this is a way I can get the message out (about the organization) and that as a community we need to advocate for kids and families, I’m happy with that,” he said.
Bachelor’s degree in petroleum land studies, 1989
Huckaby has been working for the Bakersfield-based Grimmway Enterprises, the world’s largest grower, packer and shipper of carrots, since 1998, starting as an organic farm manager. He has been promoted several times throughout his career and is now the president of the company.
Prior to working for Grimmway, he worked at Bolthouse Farms for several years.
In addition, Huckaby has served as a volunteer baseball and basketball coach, been on the boards of the Bakersfield Braves Baseball Club as well as Bakersfield Christian High School. He has been a frequent donor to CSUB’s baseball program.
He is also a member of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture and the Dean’s Advisory Council for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. He was also recently appointed to the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee.
“I was a little shocked, but I am honored,” Huckaby said about being a Hall of Fame inductee. “I’m sure there are a lot of other people more deserving.”
While Huckaby said his career took a different path than the petroleum land-management degree he sought at CSUB, all of the classes he took — such as sedimentology, ecology and biology — have been valuable.
“CSUB was a perfect place for me,” he said. “When I look at the course structure I went through, it set me up for my job extremely well, better than I would have ever imagined. Every one of those courses relate today to what I do.”
Master’s degree in cultural anthropology, 2004
Tackett has run his own business, Gene Tackett Consulting Services, for many years. He has provided advice to many on issues relating to business, politics, government and health. One of his career achievements was helping the Tejon Indian Tribe get state and federal recognition.
He was appointed to the ACTION National Advisory Council by President Jimmy Carter to advise Congress on the work of Peace Corps volunteers. Tackett served in the Peace Corps during the 1960s.
Tackett also served on the Kern County Board of Supervisors from 1977 to 1985.
Tackett has donated to CSUB over the years for various initiatives. He founded and provided funding for the Wendy Wayne Memorial Nursing Scholarship Endowment — named in honor of his wife, a fellow CSUB alumni who died of cancer in 2012 — and helped support the Kegley Institute of Ethics.
“I’m totally overwhelmed and proud,” he said. “I don’t really like honors, but then when you think about it, you’re really representing all the other 50,000 graduates. The four of us are only an example.”
Master’s degree in healthcare administration, 1980
Brandt has spent more than 60 years in the health field in Kern County, starting as a candy striper at Mercy Hospital. Brandt has spent most of her career as a nurse focused on kids and families and also spent time as a supervisor for Kern County Public Health.
Brandt spent a chunk of her nursing career with the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office. From 1980 to 2004, she worked as a school nurse.
Brandt has served as president of Links for Life and the California School Nurses Organization as well as on the boards of several education and child-welfare organizations. She has also lectured at CSUB and Fresno State.
Brandt was named the California School Nurse of the Year in 1989 and Kern County Registered Nurse of the Year in Leadership in 1999. She was also inducted into the San Joaquin Valley Nursing Hall of Fame in 2004.
Brandt was not able to attend Thursday’s event.