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CSU Bakersfield Alumni Association Announces 2019 Alumni Hall of Fame Recipients

California State University, Bakersfield’s Alumni Association today announced four 2019 Alumni Hall of Fame recipients in a press conference at the Walter W. Stiern Library.

These individuals were chosen based on their significant contributions in their chosen field and/or in their community.

Charlotte Brandt (Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration, 1980)

Now a retired nurse, Brandt has more than 60 years tending to the health of Kern County children and families as a nurse, as well as into her retirement, during which she has continued her family’s long tradition of philanthropy.

She traveled the county, from Buttonwillow to Rosamond, treating families with chronic health problems, teaching parents how to nurture their kids and developing standards of care for healthcare providers and agencies. From 1980 to 2004, Brandt worked for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office as a school nurse who teamed up with other types of caregivers to address children’s health and educational needs, individually and collectively.

Brandt was named California School Nurse of the Year in 1989 and Kern County Registered Nurse of the Year in Leadership in 1999. She was inducted into the San Joaquin Valley Nursing Hall of Fame in 2004.

She also chaired the Brandt Scholarship Foundation committee before it became part of the CSUB Foundation and has lectured at CSUB and Fresno State.

Tom Corson (Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, 1988)

Corson has spent 30 years bringing together neighborhoods, agencies and community leaders to improve the lives of Kern County children struggling with poverty, abuse, health crises and educational inequities.

Since 2004, Tom has led the Kern County Network for Children, which provides child abuse prevention services, oversees a one-stop resource center for foster youth and develops other countrywide strategies to help kids and families succeed.

Corson has been doing the work since his college years, first as a group counselor with the Kern County Probation Department, then a health educator and project coordinator with Clinica Sierra Vista. Since 1997, he has been a project manager and then executive director at the Network for Children.

One of Corson’s crowning achievements is the opening and expansion of the Dream Center, where 200 foster kids a week come for health, education and transportation services, use of shower and laundry facilities, computer and internet access and just to hang out.

Jeff Huckaby (Bachelor’s Degree in Petroleum Land Studies, 1989)

Huckaby is president of Grimmway Enterprises, the world’s largest grower, packer and shipper of carrots and the nation’s largest grower of organic vegetables. It is Bakersfield-based, but farms in seven states and sells worldwide.

He is a fourth-generation farmer. After graduating from CSUB, he began his career with Wm. Bolthouse Farms supervising the processing of baby carrots. He moved up the ranks to general manager, before Grimmway hired him in 1998. He became the organic farm manager and then general manager of its Cal Organic Farms Division. Under his leadership, the company’s organic acreage grew from several hundred to more than 40, 000 acres.

Huckaby serves the local community through his church and as a volunteer baseball and basketball coach. He also is a generous supporter of CSUB baseball through the Hot Stove Dinners. He also is a member of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture and the Dean’s Advisory Council for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently appointed him to the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee.

Gene Tackett (Master’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology, 2004)

Tackett is the owner of Gene Tackett Consulting Services and has been a longtime fixture in local politics as an elected official, consultant and activist.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in south Asian studies from UC Santa Barbara in 1969 and improved potato yields in north India for the Peace Corps during the 1960s. During his time in the Peace Corps, he met his wife, Wendy Wayne, and after backpacking around the world for eight months, they settled in Oildale to work on Gene’s first political campaign for the Kern County Board of Supervisors.

A Democrat in a Republican-dominated county, Tackett served on the board from 1977 to 1985, during which time he was a key member of the resistance to a proposed nuclear plant in Wasco. Career milestones include: helping the Tejon Indian Tribe fight for federal and state recognition

and being appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the ACTION National Advisory Council to advise Congress on the actions of Peace Corps volunteers.

He has gone on to operate Gene Tackett Consulting Services, offering expert advice on business, health, politics, law and government.

Tackett has been a generous financial contributor to CSUB for a wide range of initiatives. He founded and largely funded the Wendy Wayne Memorial Nursing Scholarship Endowment and helped guide the growth of the Kegley Institute of Ethics.

For more information on the CSUB Alumni Association, please visit the website.

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