The Thayer Interim Presidency, 2021-2023

When Dr. Scott Thayer was named Interim President of San Bernardino Valley College, he was already an integral part of the team, stepping into the role after several years as Vice President of Student Services. He was also known statewide as co-founder of African American Male Education Network and Development (A2MEND), an organization comprised of community college educators aiming to improve academic success, boost engagement, and close achievement gaps for young men of color in higher education. 

Thayer was instrumental in transitioning the campus back to in-person instruction and operations. In August 2021, after more than a year of strictly virtual learning, SBVC reopened under the San Bernardino Community College District's Covid-19 guidelines, with everyone on campus required to wear a face mask and encouraged to get vaccinated. For the fall semester, of the 1,719 classes offered, 60% were online, 21% were in-person instruction, and 17% were the HyFlex model, which allowed students to attend in-person, synchronously online, or fully asynchronously via Canvas. 

Dr. Scott W. Thayer was named Interim President in 2021


Having been quiet for months, the campus quickly started coming back to life, with students hanging out and sports once again in competition. Wolverines also had several new opportunities to take advantage of, like the LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network. Through this partnership, SBVC students secure real-world work experience while earning their Career Technical Education (CTE) certificates and degrees, giving them a leg up once they are ready to apply for full-time positions. 

The first cohort of students who participated in the Volvo LIGHTS project also graduated in 2021. These five students enrolled in the Heavy/Medium Clean Vehicle Technology program in 2020, and received training with electric motors and batteries that SBVC was able to purchase thanks to the Volvo LIGHTS grant. Upon completing the program, each student received a $1,000 scholarship from Southern California Edison.

SBVC has the oldest machinist training facility in the Inland Empire, and the Machinist Technology Department celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2021. To mark the occasion, a Strong Work Force grant was used to replace old lathes and mills with new state-of-the-art equipment, including an electric servo press, CNC lathe, and vertical machining center. "My drive was to get enough new equipment so there were enough machines for students, and they would have a better learning experience," Miguel Ortiz, associate professor of Machinist Technology, said. 

The college continued to build momentum into 2022, with a slew of activities and celebrations. The SBVC 95th Anniversary Gala was held on April 1, and brought in more than $175,000 for scholarships, with major contributions from Amazon, Stater Bros. Charities, and Edison. The sold-out event doubled as a tribute to 95 distinguished SBVC alumni, who have made their mark in the Inland Empire and around the world. "We have produced over 850,000 global alumni in every field imaginable, winning so many awards, recognitions, and accolades they are difficult to count," Interim President Thayer said.

In April, SBVC broke ground on its new $95 million Applied Technology Building, designed as an LEED Gold building. The zero-emission building was planned with sustainability in mind, and earned recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council of Los Angeles before construction even began. Funding for the building, where students will received hands-on training in everything from HVAC technology to electric vehicle repair, came from the state of California, Measure CC, and local contributions. 

Representative Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm during their visit to the Applied Technology Center


SBVC's 2022 commencement ceremony was an even more jubilant celebration than in years past, as it was the first in-person graduation held in three years. Graduates who participated in virtual ceremonies in 2020 and 2021 were invited to take part in this event, which was also livestreamed on the SBVC website.

At the start of the fall semester, Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm visited campus to tour the Applied Technology Center and meet with students and faculty in the Clean Energy Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Training Program. They were able to see firsthand the skills students are being taught to prepare them for the future, and Aguilar said what they are learning at SBVC will help the country "meet our climate and energy demands."  

In September, Interim President Thayer led a delegation of SBVC faculty and counselors on a trip to Ghana, where they attended the All African Diaspora Education Summit at the University of Cape Coast. It was the first time SBVC participated in the conference, and the attendees learned about ways to better support Black students and create clear policies on diversity and hiring. 

The Campus Center underwent a change in November, when it was renamed the Lois Carson Campus Center. Carson was an educational pioneer who graduated from SBVC in 1965, was a member of California State University San Bernardino's first graduating class of 1967, and went on to serve as the first person of color elected to the SBCCD Board of Trustees. Following Carson's death in 2021, just after her 90th birthday, SBVC and the SBCCD wanted to find a way to honor her work and legacy, and decided that renaming the Campus Center was the right way to recognize the woman Interim President Thayer described as a "distinguished alumna, trailblazer, mentor, and advocate for so many of us."

The campus was abuzz with activity all throughout the fall and winter, as the George F. Beattie Planetarium, closed for two years due to Covid-19, reopened for Friday evening shows; Student Accessibility Services (SAS) held its Ability Awareness Week; the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S. program was relaunched; WinterFest returned; and the Theater Arts Department presented Little Shop of Horrors, its first post-pandemic production.

Lois Carson Campus Center


On the sports front, the 2022-23 academic year was one to remember. The men's basketball team reached the state's Elite Eight for the second consecutive season, and finished with a 27-4 record. Dominique Daniels scored 1,454 points in his two seasons with SBVC, second to the school record set in the 1960s by Ernie Powell, and made 91 3-pointers during the 2022-23 season. Armon Muldrew ended his SBVC basketball career with a record 145 3-pointers.

The softball team had its first postseason appearance since 2015, and Sofia Gonzalez was named the Inland Empire Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year. She finished the season with 130 strikeouts and her two-year career with 220 strikeouts — both school records.

Women's soccer goalkeeper Haley Weghorst had 30 saves in a game against Santiago Canyon, setting an SBVC record, and finished out the season with 104 saves. She is just the third known goalkeeper at SBVC to have more than 100 saves in a season. On the men's side, Ebrima Njie finished his two-year career with 13 goals scored, placing him fifth in the SBVC record books for most goals scored by a player.