CSUB’s Kegley Institute of Ethics Announces Recipients of the 2017 Wendy Wayne Awards

California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) and its Kegley Institute of Ethics today announced Dr. Thomas Larwood and Ms. Yoceline Aguilar of South High School as the recipients of the 2017 Wendy Wayne Awards for Exemplary Ethical Behavior. The recipients will be honored at an invitation-only dinner ceremony on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at the Stockdale Country Club.

The annual awards recognize one youth and one adult from the community whose ethical character and behavior have had a profound impact on the lives of individuals from Bakersfield and Kern County.

Dr. Thomas Larwood

Dr. Larwood, who will be honored posthumously, was a model of ethical behavior throughout his lifetime and was extremely committed to community service.

“Tom Larwood was a model of ethically exemplary behavior throughout his life, displaying consistent and deep dedication to the well-being of others -- whether patients, the homeless, or the Boy Scouts. He was also a humble man who most likely would say, ‘I really did not do anything special; I merely lived my life as a doctor and citizen,’” said Philosophy and Religious Studies Department Chair and nominator Dr. Jacquelyn Kegley.

Dr. Larwood was a medical missionary in Korea and a lifelong volunteer for many organizations in Kern County, including the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, PTA, Friendship House, Bethany Homeless Center, Bakersfield Symphony, United Way and the Kern Solar Energy Society.

Even after his retirement, Larwood volunteered in the local history room in the Beale Library and served as advisor to several nursing homes. Larwood also was a sponsor for the Eagle Scouts, serving for decades as a doctor at Camp Kern.  He was an equally diligent and lifelong advocate for the valley fever vaccine project, working with Dr. Hans Einstein. He was seen as “always consistent, humble and faithful – a brave, ethical, delightful man,” according to his nomination letter.

“Dr. Tom would have been very humbled with this award.  He truly was a selfless man dedicated to serving his patients.  He was a man dedicated to upholding the dignity of others. He demonstrated this by his outreach to help research valley fever,” said Vice President Mission Integration, Dignity Health, and nominator Sister Judy Morasci.

Yoceline Aguilar

At a young age, Ms. Yoceline Aguilar learned to stand up to bullies and always considered the feelings of her classmates, whether they were being teased or bullied at school. She has a compassion for others and decided at age 12 that she was going to teach kindness, responsibility, humility, and self-love to younger children at her church, after convincing her mother and pastor that she was ready for that responsibility.

Ms. Aguilar has “taught by example with the sense of love and attentiveness she radiated when engaging students one-on-one in conversation, asking them how they’re doing in school,” according to her nomination letter.

She has the patience to teach the children in her class who are autistic. At home, she helps her brother, who has ADHD. She plays the piano at church, bakes cookies for children, and practices piano, all while taking AP classes and leading extracurricular activities at South High School.  She also has served as a junior nurse volunteer at Mercy Hospital, where she translated for patients and hospital staff. Aguilar’s commitment to service is impressive because in her own life, she struggles with family issues related to immigration proceedings. The associated emotional and financial difficulties make her commitment to others all the more remarkable.

“Yoceline Aguilar displays an incredible sense of commitment and compassion to serve the community by teaching children at her church about the value of kindness, self-love, and responsibility, qualities that remind her to ‘practice what she preaches,’” said South High School College Site Coordinator Catalina Mendiola. “Despite the adversity Yoceline has confronted in her life, this young woman marches on with courage and a deep appreciation for the love her parents have given her.”

In the future, Yoceline plans to work for the United Nations and attend to the needs of others around the world.

“These awards are easily the most inspiring of KIE’s annual events,” noted Christopher Meyers, KIE’s director. “The recipients remind us we can always do more – help more, support more, give more – to make our community a better place for all.”

Wendy Wayne was a key member of the organizing group that founded the awards in 2011.  They awards were renamed in her honor upon her death in 2012. They are now dedicated to sustaining her legacy and commitment to service and exemplary ethical behavior by recognizing individuals whose behavior embodies these values. Each year, nominations are accepted by the Kegley Institute in a youth category and in an adult category recognizing a lifetime commitment to ethical behavior.

The event is co-sponsored by Kaiser Permanente and San Joaquin Community Hospital. For additional information, contact Dr. Christopher Meyers at cmeyers@csub.edu or call (661) 654-6253.

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