CSU Alumni


John Nilon
John Nilon
Alumni Trustee
CSU Bakersfield
Masters in Public Administration, '88
B.A. Political Science, '79

John Nilon is the County Administrative Officer for Kern County. He is responsible for the development and management of a $2.8 billion budget and over $500 million in debt financing. He oversees county-wide policy development, human resources, health benefits, workforce and economic development, information services, purchasing, capital projects, and collective bargaining for 9,000 employees in 13 employee associations.

Mr. Nilon has experience in a number of leadership positions over his 30 year career with Kern County including Interim CEO for Kern Medical Center, Public Health Director, Director of Child Support Services, and Executive Director of Employers' Training Resource.

John maintains a deep connection with his alma mater as evidenced by his service on the CSU Bakersfield Foundation Board of Directors and as the President of the CSU Bakersfield Alumni Association. He has taught as an adjunct professor, served as a member of various campus committees and has been the commencement speaker during graduation exercises. In 2014, Mr. Nilon was inducted into the CSU Bakersfield Alumni Hall of Fame.

John’s commitment extends beyond the university and into his community as he gives time supporting the Network for Children, Red Cross, First Five Kern, California Living Museum, Community Foundation of Kern County, and Head Start of Kern County. John was also a contributor to a weekly newspaper column and was the host of three separate television series.

My Story, My CSU

  • My overall college assessment
    The unrivaled devotion of CSU faculty to ensuring the academic and professional success of their students is the hallmark of the CSU system. It is the key factor in my continuing at CSU Bakersfield for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. It is the same for my wife and her undergraduate and graduate degrees also at the Bakersfield campus. It is why my daughter obtained her undergraduate degree and credential from San Francisco State University and why my son has his undergraduate degree from CSU Channel Islands.
  • My college advice
    It is critical that you develop a relationship with your professors and be as involved as you can in campus activities. Over time, you will find that your professors become your mentors, friends, and then colleagues, forming relationships that enrich your personal and professional life. My 30+ year career with Kern County started when a professor referred me to another of his former students who had a temporary employment opportunity with the county.
  • My fondest college memory
    Being hired as an adjunct professor which enabled me to give back what had been given to me. Representing CSU Bakersfield on the Intermural Olympic Team was also quite memorable.
  • My favorite college course and my favorite professor
    Dr. Ray Geigle's Political Philosophy course was both engaging, rigorous, and deeply thought provoking. His course helped lay the foundation for my professional path in local government.
  • My proudest accomplishment
    My undergraduate graduation in 1979 and my induction into the 2014 CSU Bakersfield Alumni Hall of Fame.