Campus: CSU Bakersfield -- April 12, 2002

President's Medal Honorees Are Recognized For Service To CSUB

Sheryl Barbich, E.L. "Skeet" Varner and Gene Voiland were named as 2002 recipients of the President's Medal given by California State University, Bakersfield at the annual President's Associates Dinner Thursday night at Seven Oaks Country Club.

A crowd of 175 applauded the award recipients as they received their medals from CSUB President Tomas Arciniega.

"It is an honor and a pleasure for me to present these medals to these outstanding individuals," Arciniega said. "The President's Medal is awarded for leadership, commitment and service to the university, and I can't think of more deserving people."

All three honorees have a long history of community service and support for CSUB.

Barbich, a Delano native, has had a long career in banking and finance in addition to her consulting work. "We know Sheryl today because of her dedicated leadership to many community organizations and efforts," Arciniega said. " Over the last two years Sheryl has led a project of great importance to our community - Vision 20/20. She would be the first person to say that it is not a one-woman project, but I know of no other person who has expended as much time, energy, talent, heart and soul into this project. Whatever needed doing she did it, from raising money to finance its costs, to making presentations, to organizing neighborhood
meetings, to leading visioning groups, to organizing the implementation task forces."

Varner built his business, Varner Brothers, Inc., a Bakersfield-area refuse company, virtually from scratch. He also launched the Varner Scholarships in Business Administration at CSUB from scratch. But he does more than that, Arciniega said: "Skeet gets to know these students - their backgrounds, their families, their goals, their dreams, their ambitions. Each quarter Skeet comes to the campus to have lunch with the Varner Scholarship recipients. He inquires about their classes, their progress in school, their families and their general welfare. What Skeet may not realize is that he provides more than financial assistance to these students. He is providing hope, encouragement, and inspiration."

Voiland, president and chief executive officer of Aera Energy in Bakersfield, has enjoyed a career in the oil industry spanning three decades. He also serves on the CSUB Foundation Board of Directors, where he chairs the Long-range Planning Committee. He has been a longtime supporter of an engineering program for CSUB. "Gene shares our vision for a school of engineering at CSUB," Arciniega said. "He is a strong advocate for this program and has been very helpful to me and others in our pursuit of this program for Bakersfield. In that regard, he joins us in efforts to improve the quality of the public schools. He stands with us in encouraging students to prepare themselves in math and science and to pursue careers in math, science and engineering."

Arciniega also at the dinner told the crowd of CSUB's quest for quality. Quality, he said, is "something that I believe we have in abundance at CSUB. CSUB's quality is reflected into the community in multiple ways. The campus contributes in so many ways, and those contributions magnify the direct benefit to the community.

"Our mission is to expand CSUB's reach, and probably the most obvious and important way to do that is increase access. By access, I mean access to a quality education. Our faculty validates the seriousness of our commitment to accessing quality."

Arciniega noted the university's efforts to work with community organizations and people. "We've also formed collaborative relationships and linkages with other segments of the community," he said. "Collectively we have a mosaic of relationships that spell out and point to a positive future for this community.

"We've helped lay the foundation for the future economic development in this area. We're ensuring the quality of the workforce. We're becoming the principal provider of leaders for this area. We're building quality, responding to the pressing need for technology. We're providing what our graduates need to be competitive."

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