California State University, Bakersfield President Lynnette Zelezny has awarded the university’s highest honor, the President’s Medal, to philanthropist and agribusiness leader Barbara Grimm-Marshall for her commitment to uplifting and advancing the region through education, philanthropy, and innovation.
“Barbara Grimm-Marshall is an exemple of the highest ideals of community advocacy and engagement,” Dr. Zelezny said in a statement announcing the award. “Barbara has devoted her life to servant leadership, unlocking doors of opportunity in education through her innovative Grimmway Academy and Edible Schoolyard, where hope grows alongside the vegetables tended by valley schoolchildren. As an agribusiness leader in our nation, she has articulated the needs and values of our valley, and, as an employer, she has given thousands of families career opportunities in our region’s top industry.”
Mrs. Grimm-Marshall said she was surprised and honored to receive the President’s Medal. “I wish to thank President Zelezny for this incredible gesture,” she said. “As I have come to know President Zelezny, it has become clear to me that we share the fundamental belief that education, more than any other factor, will lead the families of our region forward. Together, we are opening channels of access to students who have the desire, the intelligence, and the drive to be, in many cases, the first in their families to attend college. We are united in our mission to change the conversation in Kern County so that our children say when I go to college, not if I go to college.”
In January, the Board of Trustees of the California State University approved the establishment of the Grimm Family Center for Agricultural Business at CSU Bakersfield, made possible by an extraordinary endowment created by Mrs. Grimm-Marshall and Kari Grimm Anderson that reflects their abiding commitment to the future of the region’s leading industry.
The $5 million pledge of support for the Center is the single largest gift in the 50-year history of the university. The gift coincided with the 50th anniversary of family-owned Grimmway Farms and honors the legacy of the company’s founders, Rod and Bob Grimm.
The Grimm Family Center for Agricultural Business will offer unprecedented educational opportunities to CSUB’s agribusiness students, who will learn by doing, getting experience directly out in the field, and working with experts immersed in the day-to-day enterprise of running successful agribusinesses.