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CSUB Kegley Institute of Ethics announces the 2014 recipients of Wendy Wayne Awards for Exemplary Ethical Behavior

csub logoStrength, courage, and commitment to the most vulnerable in her community: These are the traits often associated with the late Wendy Wayne, affectionately known as the “Mother Teresa of Bakersfield.”  The award bearing her name commemorates her ethical character, and recipients are honored for their dedication to helping others. The 2014 honorees of the Wendy Wayne Awards for Exemplary Ethical Behavior, selected by the Kegley Institute of Ethics at CSU Bakersfield, exemplify those values. North High School student Elizabeth Pelzer has been selected for the Youth Award, and Bakersfield High School assistant football coach Lance McCullah has been selected for the Adult Lifetime Achievement Award.

Pelzer was selected for her genuine desire to help others and her persistence to see them through difficult times. Beyond her academic success, the nomination letter written by a school instructor tells the story of how Pelzer made it her mission to become friends with and stand by a fellow student struggling with her peers’ negativity towards her sexual orientation.  Not only did Pelzer befriend this young lady at school, but also after class, and successfully encouraged her to become more involved on campus and in the community.

McCullah was selected for his selfless role in bettering the lives of others while overcoming his own personal struggles.  He has not only struggled with drug abuse, but was also recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Despite those obstacles, McCullah has helped coach both the football and girls basketball teams for the Bakersfield High School, and has been a mentor for many of the players, teaching them valuable life skills.  As a deacon at First Assembly of God Church, he has served on over 35 missionary trips to Central and South America, helping to build churches, hospitals, clinics, and houses.

“Wendy was instrumental in helping to develop these awards,” said Christopher Meyers, Director of the Kegley Institute of Ethics at CSUB.  “I’m confident that if she were here, she would be the first in line to recognize Elizabeth and Lance – their character and their actions exactly exemplify the awards’ standards.”

The Wendy Wayne Awards for Exemplary Ethical Behavior are intended to honor the best among us. These annual awards—one for adults and one for youths (25 and under)—recognize persons who have either lived an ethically exemplary life or who have acted in a particularly impressive way during the previous year.  Previous Adult Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include Colleen McGauley (2012) and Wendy Wayne (2013, posthumously), and Victoria Scoggan (2013) for the Youth Award. 

The awards include a $5,000 donation on behalf of the adult recipient and a $5,000 college scholarship for the youth.  This year’s recipients will be honored during an awards ceremony by invitation-only on Tuesday, March 11th, at Seven Oaks Country Club. The Kegley Institute of Ethics receives ongoing support from Kern Schools Federal Credit Union and San Joaquin Community Hospital.  Special support for the Wendy Wayne Awards is provided by Kaiser Permanente. For more information, visit or contact Meyers directly at

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