CSUB receives million-dollar gift from Chevron



President of Cal State Bakersfield, Lynnette Zelezny, thanking William Lacobie, vice president for Chevron’s San Joaquin Valley Business Unit, for the gift of $1 million at Walter W. Stiern Library Dezember Reading Room held on Feb. 25th, 2020.

Gabriela Reyes, Reporter

  CSU Bakersfield has received a million dollar gift from the Chevron Corporation. The gift was revealed at an on campus event Feb 25. 

  The event was filled with faculty and staff members. Special guests’ speakers included Vice President of Chevron’s San Joaquin Valley Business Unit Billy Lacobie, a CSUB scholar athlete and alumni who is a current Chevron employee, Garrett Pierce, and CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny. 

   Zelezny recapped the commitment that Chevron has had with the community. 

“Chevron has demonstrated its corporate conscience again and again over the decades in areas of concern and opportunity across the spectrum. It’s that commitment to education that brings us here today to announce and celebrate a major transformational gift. A gift that signifies Chevron’s hopes for the future of our region,” Zelezny said.  

  Zelezny highlighted the commitment that Chevron has had to CSUB, and attributed the completion of the FabLab, a digital fabrication lab open to students and public, to the generosity of Chevron and their previous support. She mentioned the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, or SURE, is also being powered as a result of Chevron’s contributions to the school. 

    “I am absolutely ecstatic. It is a gift that is going to directly impact our students, our faculty, and also help us with student success and innovation. This is a very powerful and transformational gift,” Zelezny said. 

  The benefits from the partnership between Chevron and CSUB have been notorious, since it has helped the building of infrastructure in the school and the improve the quality of education that students from school of Natural Science, Mathematics, and Engineering (NSME). 

  Former CSUB electrical engineering student and current Chevron employee Garrett Pierce spoke about the importance and the impact the partnership with Chevron had on his education. 

  “In 2013, CSUB opened the doors to a brand-new, 5000 square-foot engineering building. When the doors opened to that building, I was so excited to get my hands on it. Chevron’s contributions were instrumental in making this possible. I certainly knew that if my circuit did not work properly, that it was an error in my design and not faulty equipment,” Pierce said. 

 “My journey to becoming engineer would not have been possible without Chevron’s commitments to building CSUB’s engineering program.” 

  Chevron’s Vice President of San Joaquin Valley Business Unit, William Lacobie opened his speech by addressing Chevron’s purpose to enable human progress, as he tied the company’s success with the prosperity of the community. 

  “We contribute to local community by making strategic social investments in three core areas: education, economic development, and health. Our education investments are centered on science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM. Chevron has continued to support the growth and development of the NSME program through additional donations over the years,” Lacobie said. 

  He also mentioned how Chevron funded the first FabLab in the UC and CSU systems, and continued sharing the impact that the company has had in the education sector. Lacobie then proceeded to present the $1 million dollar gift to CSUB. The gift will be going towards the SURE program, the FabLab, and a new machine shop. 

  Kathleen Madden, dean of NSME, provided more information about the SURE program. 

“There is still time for students to apply. It is pretty much for incoming students and rising sophomores. We have a lot of other opportunities for the upper class.” 

  Madden said that the next building on campus will be an engineering building. This will make space available in the existing module, which will eventually be the location of the new machine shop.