Event Calendar


BC’s Red & White Wine & Food Festival

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bakersfield College - North Stadium Lawn

5-7pm wine & food tasting
7-8pm BC Jazz Ensemble concert

Proceeds split between The Renegade Fund, Culinary Arts program, and BC Jazz Ensemble.

$50 in advance
$60 at the gate

Purchase your festival tickets online here

Sterling Silver Dinner

Saturday, February 01, 2014
6:30 in the Evening
Collins Campus Center
Bakersfield College
1801 Panorama Drive, Bakersfield, 93309
Please call Lisa Kent at 395-4800 for reservations

Sterling Silver Dinner Info and Menu
Sterling Silver Dinner 2014 Photos

Bakersfield College Receives Largest Gift in History

A Bakersfield philanthropist has made an unprecedented $14 million gift to the Bakersfield College Foundation, the largest donation ever given to a community college in the history of the United States. The philanthropist, Dr. Norman Levan, previously donated $5.7 million to Bakersfield College, at the time, the largest donation to a California community college on record. When combined, the two gifts increase Dr. Levan’s overall donation to Bakersfield College to nearly $20 million, $10 million higher than any gift from an individual on record.

Dr. Levan’s gift, announce March 24, 2011, is at least $3.7 million greater than the largest community college donation in American history, which was $10 million to Santa Monica College in 2008 from Eli and Edyth Broad. The next two largest gifts were Dr. Levan’s to BC in 2006, and $5 million from Henry Coil Jr., to Riverside City College in 2010.

Dr. Levan also recently donated $12 million each to St. John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M., and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Both schools are his alma maters, but it’s his gift to Bakersfield College that will forever be etched in record books.

“On behalf of current and future students and staff of Bakersfield College, I thank Dr. Levan for his incredible investment in our college,” said Dr. Greg A. Chamberlain, president of Bakersfield College. “This is history in the making, and a reason to celebrate across our entire community. Dr. Levan’s gift will benefit the community for years to come.”

Most interestingly, Dr. Levan is not an alumnus of Bakersfield College. His relationship with the college stems from a longtime friendship with a former Bakersfield College president, the late Dr. John Collins.

Dr. Levan sees it as a simple correlation: “Bakersfield College is an excellent school and one of the pearls of the Central Valley. It is deserving of support for that reason. Bakersfield College students leave stronger for their educational and career futures.”

Dr. Levan is professor emeritus and chief of the dermatology department at the USC Keck School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree in 1939. After serving in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II, he began a long and distinguished career in medicine. He established the Hansen’s Disease Clinic for leprosy at the Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center in 1962 at the request of state and federal health officials. At age 95 Dr. Levan still sees patients in his Bakersfield medical office. He now practices one day a week, seeing elderly or patients with specialized needs.

Overall, the endowments will:

  • Add $10 million (at current market value) to the Norman Levan Scholarship Endowment.
  • Add $2 million to the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities Endowment to continue its work.
  • Add $1 million to the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning Endowment to continue its educational services.
  • Create a new scholarship endowment of $665,000 to provide scholarships for students studying Hispanic or Native American cultures.

When fully funded, the Norman Levan Scholarship endowment will provide $500,000 in scholarships annually to students — 250 each year — to cover their fees, books and part of their living expenses for the year. BC awards $400,000 total annually from all its other scholarships combined.

“Dr. Levan’s gift is a continued reminder of the generous spirit that lives on in Bakersfield,” said Ken Vaughan, chairman of the Bakersfield College Foundation Board of Directors. “With this gift, the Bakersfield College Foundation will more than double the amount of scholarship money we distribute to Bakersfield College students each year. This gift will provide support and assistance to students who need it most.”

California Community Colleges create $67.7 million scholarship endowment

A three-year fundraising campaign has culminated in a permanent scholarship fund of more than $67.7 million, providing thousands of California Community College students with much-needed financial support every year. The California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment is the largest system-wide community college endowment in America and will offer long-term relief from the rising costs that keep many students from completing their education.

The endowment and subsequent fundraising campaign began in May 2008 with The Bernard Osher Foundation’s unprecedented lead gift of $25 million to the Foundation for California Community Colleges, the largest-ever single gift to a community college system in the nation’s history. The organization also committed up to another $25 million in match dollars as an incentive for the colleges to garner additional philanthropic support.

Over the course of three years, California Community Colleges raised $28.5 million for the fund, triggering $14.2 million in match dollars from the Osher Foundation. The resulting $67.7 million endowment will fund scholarships at each of the state’s 112 community colleges in perpetuity.

Bakersfield College was the second college statewide to meet its fundraising goal of the matching challenge. Bakersfield College’s allocation was $567,092. These funds were a bequest from the estate of Donna Joyce Litherland, a longtime Bakersfield College teacher and counselor. The scholarships awarded from the Litherland funds are for “full-time female students majoring in art,” per Litherland’s request.

In fall 2010, 42 students received $1,000 scholarships – 14 Osher scholars and 28 Litherland scholars. This fall 2011, Bakersfield College reached its final allocation of 56 $1,000 scholarships – 28 Osher scholars and 28 Litherland scholars.

“With its historic commitment, the Osher Foundation launched a new era of philanthropy for California Community Colleges,” said Dr. Paul Lanning, president and CEO of the Foundation for California Community Colleges. “Over the past three years, this fundraising challenge not only helped our system increase financial support to students who need it most, but it also created a powerful reference point for other donors that our system and students are worthy of this level of investment.”

“The significance of this initiative and the Osher Foundation’s generosity cannot be overstated: In addition to raising the level of philanthropy among our colleges, this scholarship endowment has been life-changing to countless individuals. At a time when community colleges continuously struggle to do more with fewer resources, this fund ensures that thousands of students every year will get the financial support they need,” said Dr. Jack Scott, chancellor of the California Community Colleges.

The California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment has already benefited thousands of the state’s community college students. Since its inception in May 2008, $2.7 million in scholarship funds have been awarded, with an additional $2.1 million to be awarded during the 2011-12 academic year. In future years, an estimated 3,380 students annually will receive scholarships from the endowment.

“From its beginning in 1977, The Bernard Osher Foundation has focused on scholarships to provide opportunity for higher education to a progressively diverse population of students,” said Dr. Mary Bitterman, Osher Foundation president. “While our grants traditionally went to institutions awarding baccalaureate degrees, Mr. and Mrs. Osher and our trustees developed greater familiarity with the importance and value of California’s community college system and determined to be of more help to students with significant financial challenges and a strong commitment to education and self-improvement.”

Dr. Bitterman also noted the Osher Foundation’s vision for the initiative. “We hope that the results of this campaign will be twofold - that California’s community colleges will be increasingly recognized as a treasured asset of the state, and that philanthropic funds will be released in ever larger amounts to support present and future generations of California’s community college students.”

With more than 2.7 million students enrolled, the California Community Colleges make up the largest system of higher education in the nation. Community colleges enroll the state's lowest income students. Full-time students have an annual median income of $16,223 and one-fourth of those students have incomes of less than $5,544 per year. Currently, over half of California Community College students have no resources to pay for college.

Relevant Links