The Alumni Hall of Fame event recognizes and awards past alums


Photo by Brizna Fregoso

Fatyma Cendejas, Features Writer

The Alumni Hall of Fame event recognizes and awards past alums for serving and making positive changes in the community. The 2022 alums are Paula Parks, Stephen Neal, Terri Church and Connie Perez-Andreesen. Each alumni brought many different aspects of their personal achievements. The event was held at the Dore Theatre, and the award ceremony took place inside the theater while the rest of the event was set up outside the Dore Theatre with an elegant reception. Appetizers and desserts were served to guests along with water, champagne and wine. 

  Dr. Paula Parks is an English professor at Bakersfield College. One of her goals is to promote equity in our community. Paula Parks said, “I am doing everything I can to promote equity inclusion at Bakersfield College and to grow the UMOJA program”. She is also the coordinator for the UMOJA program at Bakersfield College. According to the UMOJA website, “Student’s study works by Black authors in their English classes, are paired with a mentor, work with the UMOJA ASTEP counselor to plan and stay on track to graduate, and participate in academic and cultural events”. She states, “CSUB I appreciate the encouragement because I will still keep working”.  

   Parks graduated in the year 2001. Her affiliation with CSUB is working closely with Darius Riggins, part of the outreach here at Cal State Bakersfield. Paula Parks helps her students from Bakersfield College transfer into CSUB. She had “really great experiences with the professors. I learned a lot and I enjoyed the program. Dale Moody was one of my professors. He was one of my committee members as well as Bill Perry, he was also in my committee and learning from him was very special.” Paula Parks concluded her speech by quoting an African proverb, “Walk like you have three thousand ancestors walking behind you, and if you see the stage the way I do, it’s crowded, all my ancestors are up here, especially my mom and my dad”. 

  Connie is the inspirational woman you aspire to meet. She is the type of woman you read in magazines or see in movies. Meeting her was unreal, and hearing her story was very sentimental and moving. She is a powerful Latina woman that is showing us that we can accomplish our goals. Her parents immigrated to the U.S, and she went through all the struggles that being first generation college students comes with. Nothing stopped her from accomplishing her goals and being the woman, she is today.  

  Connie said, “There were really no role models, like women of color”, so she became that role model, she became that powerful image for us all. When asked about her most memorable moment she said her beautiful baby girl, Valentina. Connie’s sister, Janeen, and her husband Rodrigo, own a successful salsa business called Kuali Salsas. Connie’s mom was present at the event and she gave her mom a special thanks. Connie said “La persona que se merece ese reconocimiento es mi mamá… Gracias por todos sus sacrificios…ojalá este reconocimiento te haga orgullosa de que hiciste la decisión correcta de venir a los Estados Unidos… muchas gracias, este honor es para ti.” (The person who most deserves this recognition is my mom. Thank you for all your sacrifices. I hope this recognition makes you very proud that you made the right decision coming to the United States. Thank you so much this honor is for you ). Connie is very grateful for all the sacrifices that have been made for her to come a long way, “My parents came to this country to give me a better life… If it wasn’t for my education from CSUB I wouldn’t be able to help my family”. Connie is a chief administrator officer and National Vice President of United Farmers. She graduated in 2001, with a degree in business and administration, with a concentration in accounting. 

 Stephen Neal is a wrestling coach here at CSUB. He graduated in the year 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education. Stephen was looking forward to going to college for football; however, that took a turn and he caught the attention of the CSUB wrestling coach, Darryl Pope. Pope who stated in the video presented at the event, “We had been following him throughout the season.” Stephen says that the CSUB wrestling program is a very important factor for many of the athletes because many of them would not have attended college if the wrestling program was not there. “I encourage you to give back to the school to whatever program that you see has a value and really help others have the opportunity that I had and others have had as well,” said Stephen Neal. Neal earned 3 super bowl rings with the New England Patriots. Darryl Pope shared that he was very fortunate to have been signed by the Patriots as he has no college football experience. 

  Terri is a chief nursing officer. She graduated from CSUB with her Bachelors of Science in Nursing in 1990. Terri worked very hard to get where she is today. She attended BC to graduate much quicker and got a job at San Joaquin Hospital as Vice President of patient care. She went back to school at Cal State Bakersfield. Terri wanted to further her expectations on medical life, and learn more about patient. Terri is described as a kind person, she put her patients first. Terri is most proud of the pediatrics from Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. According to CSU Bakersfield, “During her time there, the hospital has opened a more than 100-bed patient tower, an outpatient infusion center for cancer treatment, and Kern County’s first comprehensive pediatric program. It has expanded its heart care, become a certified primary stroke center and partnered with the Grossman Burn Center to open a burn-service line”. She claimed that when her kids were younger, and they needed any medical care, Fresno or Los Angeles would be the place to go. Terri took a turn on that reality, and made a change for the community with a part sponsorship from Bolt House Families. Terri says, “I think I loved the excitement of taking care of patients that were so ill.” She ends with “What an honor to do your job and someone acknowledges you for it, so thank you very much Cal State.” 

  As you read, the CSU Bakersfield Alumni class of 2022 are very successful and important in the community. Paula Parks, is an English professor at Bakersfield College and started the UMOJA program. Stephen Neal, was a professional football player for the New England Patriots, and is now involved with our wrestling team. Terri Church, stands as chief of nursing officer at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, and has been recognized in many places as an outstanding woman to our community. Lastly, Connie Perez-Andreesen, serving as a chief administrator officer and National Vice President of United Farmers, got many recognitions including Businesswoman of the Year by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.