Bakersfield

Ruth Gayle Batey is an esteemed, beloved and visionary member of the Bakersfield community; champion of student development, academic success and graduation; philanthropist; and supporter of California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB). She was awarded the CSUB President’s Medal in 2015 and is the longest-serving member of the President’s Community Advisory Council. After graduating with a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University, she began her career in education, which led to her lifelong interest in helping students and others succeed. She and her late husband, Ben, left the field of education to become successful real estate developers and builders as founders and owners, with their son, Bryan, of Batey Construction & Realty. The Bateys built nearly 1,000 homes in Bakersfield. They helped lay the foundation for growth in northwest Bakersfield, making it one of the city’s most desirable residential areas. They also built extensively in southwest Bakersfield neighborhoods, including Stockdale Estates, Haggin Oaks, The Oaks and Seven Oaks – the communities surrounding CSUB.

Gayle and her husband gave $50,000 to create Project BEST (Black Excellence in Scholarship and Teaching) to address low high school graduation rates among male African American students in the Kern High School District. Project BEST continues as a partnership among the Kern High School District, CSUB, the local business community, parents and students, providing academic support and scholarships. She similarly supports initiatives to increase the number of female university students who study mathematics and science.

In 2013, Gayle presented three gifts totaling $400,000 to the Kern County Museum Foundation to create, enhance and sustain the Batey Gardens to beautify the museum grounds. Based on Gayle's vision, the Tejon Ranch Conservancy Partnership was started in 2015 to provide internships, expose students to science-related careers and help the Tejon Ranch Conservancy better understand the area’s natural resources. She helped establish the Gobalet-Batey Foundation Endowment Fund to provide motivation and support for undergraduate biology students who will pursue a graduate degree in a science- or medicine-related discipline. She has provided funding for students in CSUB’s Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory for GRE preparation, testing fees, graduate school application fees, travel and laboratory supplies. This funding has helped more than a dozen students get into graduate school.

Gayle is a co-founder of the Ben and Bryan Batey Fund at the Kern Community Foundation. She also committed $500,000 to finance the Batey Family Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Research Fund at the University of Southern California's Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute to research the diseases that claimed Ben’s life. She has made a substantial gift to support the building of the Larwood Health Center at Camp Kern, a Boy Scouts camp, in honor of Dr. Tom and Pauline Larwood.

In recognition of her lifetime commitment to education, leadership, philanthropy, service and her distinguished achievements, which embody the values of California State University, Bakersfield, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Bakersfield are proud to confer upon Ruth Gayle Batey the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.