Bakersfield College lost one of its most generous sweethearts on October 21, 2018 with the passing of ninety-four year old Margaret C. “Peggy” Haight. A long-time neighbor of the college, Peggy frequently walked on campus and regularly attended BC events, including Foundation board meetings.
Back in 2008, Peggy created a stir when she appeared at the Foundation Office with a grocery bag full of money. (The campus still talks about her “Paper Bag Donation.”) The $100,000 she dropped off that day added to the $200,000 she had given previously. Her total giving approaches $1.2 million and touches various parts of BC, including culinary arts, nursing, industrial arts, the performing arts, and the library.
Because of concerns for her safety as a single senior citizen, her giving during her lifetime was anonymous. That suited Peggy because she never sought recognition. She simply loved Bakersfield College and wanted to help its students succeed in any way she could. She was particularly fond of President Sonya Christian and her accomplishments as a woman leader.
Peggy was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as Margaret Catherine McGinnis and spent her formative years in Toledo, Ohio, and Lansing, Michigan. She married Harry C. Haight in 1948. They later moved to California where, in 1961, she achieved her B.A. degree from then Sacramento State College. Peggy worked for the Department of Motor Vehicles in Los Angeles and later as a social worker for the Kern County Department of Human Services. Widowed in 1985, Peggy never remarried.
After retirement, Peggy volunteered at the Kern County Public Library and the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Peggy was a private person with a keen mind and dry sense of humor, who cared more about helping others than her own comfort. Her life’s project was making a difference at Bakersfield College, and she will be remembered for her kindness to the people she touched at BC and her generosity.