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Four Inducted into CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame

Four California State University, Bakersfield alumni who made significant contributions in their chosen field and/or in their community were inducted into the CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame on Friday, Feb. 16.

The Alumni Hall of Fame inductees are:

Jeremy Adams

CSUB degree(s) earned: Credential, 1999; master’s degree in education, 2000

Jeremy Adams is a highly decorated Bakersfield High School civics teacher best known as founder of the Earl Warren Cup Constitutional Competition, the Super Bowl of local school competitions. How impressive is it? Adams has landed question-posers President George W. Bush, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, among many other big names.

He’s written two books, including one, The Secrets of Timeless Teachers, that’s been widely used by public school districts in California, and contributed to The Washington Post, C-SPAN and The Educator’s Room. He writes a regular column for the Huffington Post.

Jeremy is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, infusing every talk with wit, wisdom and enthusiasm, and he will be the first classroom educator inducted into the CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame. It would be just the latest honor he’s earned; Jeremy has been named Kern County Teacher of the Year (by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office) and California Teacher of the Year (by the Daughters of the American Revolution). He was a semi-finalist for California Teacher of the Year (by the California Board of Education) and a finalist for the Carlson Family Foundation National Teacher Award.

Jeremy has maintained strong ties to CSUB, as a lecturer, commencement speaker (not once but twice), a keynote speaker, and CSUB Alumni Board secretary.

Bryan Burrow

CSUB degree(s) earned: MBA, 2000

Bryan, a founder of the CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame, is a well-known community leader and businessman who in recent years has been credited with transforming the nonprofit Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. Under his leadership, the BSO saw its attendance rise 67 percent and its endowment grow to more than $2.3 million.

Since achieving his MBA, Bryan has spent almost two decades in business and management. He has served on as many as seven nonprofit boards, gaining a reputation as one who brings a new vision to nonprofits as well as a strong fundraiser. His involvement with CSUB includes being past chair of the President’s Community Advisory Council, past president of the Alumni Association, an adjunct professor, and helping make the Party in the Park a staple event. Bryan was CSUB’s 2010 alumnus of the year.

Bryan is currently chief operations officer of Sierra School Equipment Co., a family-owned business founded in Bakersfield. He’s also a Kern County Civil Service commissioner, ensuring equitable and fair employment practices are followed for county government employees.

He’s also served in other board / council positions, including with the: BSO (treasurer/secretary), Leadership Bakersfield Advisory Council (past chair), Kern Ag Foundation Board of Directors (past president), Bakersfield Adventure for the Mind, Bank of America’s Foundation Leadership Team, Olive Drive School Site Council, Discovery Elementary School Site Council and CSUB Council of One Hundred.

Edward Paine

CSUB degree(s) earned: Bachelor’s degree in business administration, 1980

Edward Paine has had long, successful careers in the insurance and real estate businesses while also generously donating his time and money to children’s, healthcare and university causes.

He was a life insurance agent and benefits broker from 1975 to 2007 and then helped his son build a now-very successful real estate business. At the height of the market they were selling some 300 homes a year locally and 500 statewide.

In 2013 Edward saved from closure the Mercy Child Development Center, a daycare center for kids ranging in age from infancy to about 10. What was a money loser is now breaking even; most importantly, it’s serving about 150 youngsters as the California Ivy League Preparatory Academy.

Edward’s community service includes being part of the group that ramped up development of the local Boys and Girls Club in the 1990s; service on the Mercy Hospital Community board; and a 15-year (and still current) tenure on the CSUB President’s Community Advisory Council. He’s heavily involved with St. Philip the Apostle Church and is a board member of Our Faith, Our Family, Our Future for the Diocese of Fresno.

Edward is also a generous CSUB donor, believing universities “won’t be great unless people like you and I give back a little of ourselves.”

Debbie Wood

CSUB degree(s) earned: Bachelor’s degree in nursing, 1982; master’s degree in education, 2000

Ensuring the health and well-being of local children has been the life’s work of nurse Debbie Wood for more than 30 years, including with Mercy Hospital, the Kern County Public Health Department, Delano Union School District and, since 2002, the Bakersfield City School District.

One of her more notable accomplishments is a recent BCSD effort to establish health centers treating many of its 30,000 students, a large percentage of whom are un- or under-insured. She wrote grants, created community partnerships and worked with state legislators to secure the funding.

She earlier implemented annual eye exam clinics for elementary students throughout Kern County, working with optical companies, doctors and nonprofit organizations. Debbie, currently BCSD’s school health coordinator, was also a driving force behind the Healthy Start Collaborative at the Bakersfield City and Delano Union school districts, helping families overcome barriers to learning and school attendance.

And she’s taught in the CSUB Nursing Program for nearly 20 years, mentoring students both inside and outside the classroom. The work is vital: Kern County has long struggled to grow, recruit and retain qualified nurses.

More information on the CSUB Alumni Association is available in CSUB Alumni.

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