2015 Hall of Fame

Catherine E. Bennett, Class of 1980 and 1991

Catherine Bennett

Catherine Bennett graduated from California State University, Bakersfield with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She returned to CSUB, receiving her Masters of Business Administration in 1991. Catherine is a specialist in appellate law certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. She prosecutes and defends appeals and writs in the California Courts of Appeal, California Supreme Court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and she has five published appellate cases. She is a former president of the Kern County Bar Association and served on the State Bar of California Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services for five years. Catherine has been a supporter of many Bakersfield organizations, including the Women’s and Girls’ Fund, CASA, and Global Family. She has shown dedication in volunteering her time and efforts while leading through advocacy and excellence. She is a hands-on donor and in 2014, Cathy began teaching and facilitating an all-volunteer committee of the Women’s and Girls’ Fund to allocate over $30,000 each year in social-change grants.

Kathleen O’Neal Gear, Class of 1977

Kathleen Gear

It is no surprise that Kathleen O’Neal Gear is a bestselling author, living in the foothills of Wyoming with a herd of buffalo and beloved Shetland sheep dogs. Kathleen was raised on a small farm near Tipton, California with both parents also working as writers. Kathleen won her first writing contest at the age of twelve. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree Cum Laude from CSU Bakersfield in 1977. After receiving her B.A., she studied archaeology and the history of religions at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. She received her Master’s degree “With Distinction”, Summa Cum Laude, from California State University in Chico, and conducted Ph.D. studies in American Indian History at the University of California in Los Angeles. Kathleen moved to Wyoming in 1980, becoming the Wyoming State Historian in 1981, and later, Archaeologist, for the U.S. Department of the Interior. The federal government awarded her two “Special Achievement Awards” for outstanding management of America’s cultural heritage. Gear’s work has appeared in more than 100 nonfiction publications in the fields of archaeology, history and publishing as well as the history, health and conservation of the North American bison. She is also the author of 43 novels across multiple genres, including titles among the NY Times, USA Today and international bestsellers. There are 17 million copies of her books in print.

She was selected as the “2000 Outstanding Alumna” from the School of Arts and Sciences by CSU Bakersfield. In 2005, People of the Raven, which she co-authored with her husband W. Michael Gear, won the Western Writers of America “Golden Spur Award” for the “Best Novel of the West”. She was the 2005 inductee into the Women Who Write the West Hall of Fame. In 2008, she and Michael received the "Literary Contributor of the Year Award" from the Mountain Plains Library Association.

Geoffrey B. King, Class of 1976

Geoffrey King

Geoffrey King earned his B.S. in Accounting in 1976 from California State University, Bakersfield. He has been a shareholder in the Barbich, Hooper, King, Dill, Hoffman firm since 1985, now providing 38 years of public accounting experience for the company and the community. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the California Society of CPAs (CSCPA). He has served on the AICPA Peer Review Board and as chairman of the CSCPA Peer Review Committee. Geoff was awarded the 2001 CSUB Alumnus of the Year. His experience in business and accounting has given him the ability to provide knowledge and leadership to assist the many organizations he has been involved with in their success.

Geoffrey has been a supporter of higher education through participation and financial contributions at CSUB and other institutions. He has provided financial support for scholarship programs, Athletics, Business and other educational departments and facilities. As a long time CSUB athletic supporter, Geoff has regularly attended Roadrunner Basketball games since the team’s inception and is a long-standing member of the Roadrunner club. He also supports other CSUB teams, including soccer, swimming and baseball. He is currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the CSUB Foundation.