Former CSUB presidents honored during Zelezny’s investiture week

Lauren Silvis, Reporter

On May 2 during a week of investiture events, Lynnette Zelezny, president of CSU Bakersfield, hosted the first Dedication to Past Presidents Event outside of the President’s Office.

Ana Santos, assistant to the Chief of Staff to the President said “This was all [Zelezny’s] idea. She wanted to take a day just to honor the presidents that came before her because they set up the university for her to take over.”

The festivities began inside the president’s office, where Zelezny had her first surprise for Horace Mitchell, CSUB president prior to her.

“Dr. Mitchell was honored by having the conference room inside the President’s Office dedicated to him,” said Thomas Wallace, Vice President for Student Affairs.

The plaque above the conference room door reads: President Emeritus Dr. Horace Mitchell Conference Room.

“He is certainly deserving, and he was very surprised,” said Wallace. But, that was not the only surprise Zelezny had planned.

The festivities continued outside, with about 60 people in front of the President’s Office.

After a few words from Zelezny thanking the sponsors of today’s event, Varner Brothers and Diana Wolf from Mission Bank, Mitchell was given time to speak.

During his speech, Mitchell said in his 14 years spent at CSUB he was involved with great leaders, from faculty and staff, to student government and even in the community.

“Part of our responsibilities as leaders of the university, we have a responsibility for positioning the university for the future. And I’m proud of what we’ve done in that regard, and I’m really happy that president Zelezny was chosen to be our president, and that she’s moving things forward,” said Mitchell.

After his speech, Michael Lukens, Chief of Staff to the President thanked the elected officials who attended the event beginning with Bruce Freeman, Council Member.

Joseph Lopez representing Congressman TJ Cox congratulated Zelezny.

“We are very proud to have you here in the city of Bakersfield,” said Lopez. “I always look up to my daughter and tell her you can do anything if you just believe. And then I show her all of the women in power right now.”

A special recognition from the Desiree Von Flue with the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, and a thank you to former Senator, Rose Ann Vuich and Senator Melissa Hurtado led up to the last surprise.

Zelezny revealed she also dedicated a bench on the patio outside the President’s Office to all the past presidents: Horace Mitchell, 2004-18, Tomas Arciniega, 1983-2004, Jacob Frankel 1974-82 and Paul Romberg 1967-73.

Mitchell sat with his wife, Barbara, on the bench and said, “This is a great university and I am honored to forever be a part of it thanks to Dr. Zelezny.”

Zelezny’s investiture week will close off May 3, with the Investiture Ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. followed by the Taste of Bakersfield community event in the Alumni Park.