News for March

News for March

Pat Long and Cal CinkBaker President Pat Long and retiring Professor of Biology Cal Cink

Following the Baker Board of Trustees meeting on Friday, Feb. 14, a banquet was held in Overland Park in honor of the combined Baker faculties. The deans of the University announced faculty promotions and tenure grants that the board had finalized and voted on that very afternoon. The following faculty promotions for the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Nursing were announced:

  • College of Arts and Sciences | Ray James was promoted to associate professor of music and Tom Peard to professor of philosophy.
  • School of Nursing | Marlene Eicher was promoted to assistant professor, Della Anderson to assistant professor, Jeanne Mann to associate professor, Ruth Ohm to professor and Libby Rosen to professor. Carol Trahan was named faculty emerita.

Also announced and honored were members of the University’s combined staffs and faculty that will retire at the end of the semester or within the next several months. Those recognized for their service and who will retire this year included Associate Professor of Music Ray James, Professor of Biology Cal Cink, Vice President and School of Nursing Dean Kathy Harr, Vice President and School of Education Dean Peggy Harris and Minister to the University the Rev. Ira DeSpain. Ruth Sarna, who recently retired as director of student health services, was named nurse emerita. Congratulations to one and all who were honored for their many years of service and dedication to the University.

Homecoming Dates Set for 2014

Write it down now because it is early this year: September 26-27. The Annual Sports Banquet and Athletic Hall of Fame Induction is on the 26th and the Homecoming football game is on the 27th. The earlier date allows October to be the month in which the University holds its fall meeting of the Board of Trustees, Baldwin City holds its annual Maple Leaf Festival and Baker holds the inauguration of its 29th president, Dr. Lynne Murray.

Students’ Artwork on Display at Holt-Russell Gallery

Artwork of Baker CAS students will be on display until April 12 at the Holt-Russell Gallery in Parmenter Hall. After April 12, the next exhibition will open on April 24 and feature the work of senior art major Alex Coffey. The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is no charge for admission to either of these shows.

Students Honored

Fifty-nine Baker students have been recognized by Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges for 2013. The students were honored for their grade-point average, campus involvement and leadership as well as personification of Baker’s mission and vision. Congratulations!

Responses From a Previous Arbor

1). Hey, Jerry...thanks for sending the Arbor! Let me know when you are going to be in NYC. Maybe I can come down from Boston and we can catch up. My daughter Jen is the NYU Soccer Coach and she went to St. John’s in Queens, where she was All-Big East in soccer. My oldest daughter went to Marquette and is now living in Chicago. I am in Mansfield, Mass., a suburb of Boston. If you are anywhere around, let me know, love to get together. —Jim Leaverton, ’81 Thanks, Jim! It would be great to see you again! Following the Wandering Wildcat trip in June to Bermuda we will be staying in New York for two nights (8th-9th) and we will be having two special alumni social events. Please come join us!

2). For some reason known only to computers, I did not receive anything from Baker for a long time—until now. I have told you before that I was born and reared in Baldwin. My Dad was the head of the chemistry dept (Professor E.J. Cragoe). Thus, my connection with Baker was injected into my very being. Now, at 94, I probably know more about Baldwin and Baker than anyone living. I haven’t been back since my 50th reunion. In two years, 2016, will be my 75th. I hope you will have some sort of honor to bestow upon any survivors. I plan to be there. Orange remains one of my favorite colors. Hail!! And Love, Mary Cragoe Carter Luecke Magalee, ’41

Mary, I remember many of our conversations through the years . . . from Chicago to Baldwin City to your homes in California. I may be one of the only persons remaining at Baker who knows of your father and his longtime service to our Department of Chemistry. I am so happy to hear that you are already making plans to attend the 75th reunion of your graduation. I am certain that there will be some activities for you and others from your class to attend in which you will be honored.  Jerry (Orange is my favorite color too!)

Board of Trustees Meet, President-Elect Murray in Attendance

The Board of Trustees held its annual winter meeting on Friday, Feb. 14, with its retreat the next day. Agenda items included reports on the University’s strategic plan, the 2014-2015 budget, the budge for the current year and updates on new programs and fundraising. President-Elect Lynne Murray was on campus that week and observed the proceedings of the meetings as well as attended Founders Day activities.

Wandering Wildcats, Still Time to Get on Board! Where Do You Want to Go Next?

For general information on our June 2014 trip to New York and Bermuda call me (Jerry Weakley) at 1.785.594.8332 or our travel advisor, John Novotny at Travellers in Lawrence, Kan., at 1.800.382.6700 for specific questions, pricing and information regarding deviations from the set travel plan. Time is running out for making do it today!

Dr. Pat and Dennis Long, along with my wife, Patti, and I certainly hope you will consider joining us for this fun adventure.

President-Elect Lynne Murray has expressed an interest in continuing to offer trips for alumni, former students, parents, faculty, donors and friends of the University under the banner of the Wandering Wildcats. Several trips have been suggested by interested individuals, which I will list below. But, I would like to hear more ideas so that we can attempt to keep this travel group directed toward travel of potential interest to the widest array of our publics. In no particular order are the following previous suggestions:

  • China tour and cruise of the Yangtze
  • River barge cruise though Europe
  • Cruise and tour of the Galapagos Islands
  • Cruise of the Caribbean
  • Cruise and tour of French Polynesia
  • Cruise and tour of southeast Asia
  • Photography safari of Kenya, Africa

Here is a list of the more recent trips the group has taken. Therefore, we would most likely at this time not reconsider for 2015: Alaska tour and cruise; France barge trip and tour; England, Scotland, Ireland; Hawaiian Islands cruise; Australia, New Zealand, Fiji; Mediterranean cruise; Greek Island cruise.

Please send thoughts, ideas and recommendations on those listed above or new ideas of your own to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Baker Trivia Answer for February

The Question

What is the historical significance of Robert Hall Pearson Park? Where is it located?

The Answer

We received several answers. The first was  from former Baldwin resident and Board Chair Cecil Miller, ’53.

“In answer to your trivia question, Robert Hall Pearson Park is located east of Baldwin (near Black Jack Park) and it is the site of some wagon wheel tracks from the Santa Fe Trail. If that is not right, then it is where you and Patti used to go to park.” (Editor’s reply: Well, you are in the right area, at least on one of your responses. I'm just not going to tell you  which one!)

Our second reply came from “Mr. Reliable” . . . Jim Foreman, ’79, another former Baldwin City resident. Jim quoted his sources and replied in some depth.

“This park is named for Robert Hall Pearson who was born in Yorkshire, England, April 1st, 1828. In 1832, he and his parents immigrated to America, locating at Allegheny City, Pa. He lived there until the California gold fever swept over the United States. In 1853 and early 1854, Pearson was in California. During this time, the Kansas-Nebraska bill was in Congress.

Pearson left California for Kansas in 1855 to take advantage of new opportunities. In 1856 he fought in the Battle of Black Jack. Soon after, he purchased over 200 acres of land (south and east of the current city of Baldwin City) which included the very land the battle was fought upon. This battle is generally recognized as the first armed battle between pro- and anti-slavery forces involving John Brown. Pearson fought on the side of Brown as an opponent of slave ownership.

In his later life, Pearson became a successful farmer and business man. The second home he built on this property was built in 1890 and it still stands today. It is being carefully restored by the Black Jack Battlefield Trust. He died in 1906. To see more on the Robert Hall Pearson Farmstead at the Black Jack Battlefield  and Nature Park go to

More on the Battle of Black Jack: Some historians consider the Battle of Black Jack to be the first true battle of the American Civil War. The Story Continues official event that is cited as the beginning of the war is the attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, by Confederate troops on April 12, 1861.

The exact site of the battle is located near U.S. Highway 56, about three miles (5 km) east of Baldwin City, and is near the designated area of the Robert Hall Pearson Memorial Park by the state of Kansas in honor of one of Brown and Shore's fighters who gave a handwritten account of the battle. Signs placed throughout the battle site point out where the battle started and ended. Efforts are under way to preserve both the Pearson Memorial Park and the Ivan Boyd Prairie Preserve across the road that contain the imprint of prairie schooners and wagon trains that made their way across the country following the course of the Santa Fe Trail.”

(Jim, thanks for your research and for sending these findings in for our readers’ benefit!)

Institutional Data Extracted from the 2013-2014 Fact Book

I was recently going through the newly completed FactBook for 2013-2014 when I ran into data that I thought was of particular interest. So naturally, I thought I would share it through the Arbor. The following are 10-year averages related to the Baldwin City campus first-time freshman conversion rates and academic profiles. (Some numbers have been rounded to the nearest whole number.)

  • Number of applications completed annually...696
  • Number of applications accepted...642
  • Number of first-time freshmen enrolled...225
  • % of completed applicants accepted...93%
  • % of accepted applicants enrolled...35%
  • Mean high school GPA...3.47
  • Mean composite ACT score...23.2
  • National mean composite ACT score...21.0

Alumni and Campus Activities

March 27...After Hours event for Dallas-area alumni and former students, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Gordon Biersch, 7401 Lone Star Dr., Suite B120, Plano, Texas 75024.

April 12...Annual Scholarship Auction and Gala, Overland Park Convention Center, Overland Park, Kan. 6 p.m.

May 2...Spring meeting of the Board of Trustees.

May 10...SPGS, GSOE commencement.

May 16-18...Alumni Weekend activities.

May 18...CAS, SOE, SON commencement.

May 31-June 10...Alumni travel with Wandering Wildcats to Bermuda and New York.

Help Baker Recruit Its Next Class

Please consider those among your family, friends, church or social activities who have a student that would benefit from and find future success through enrolling at Baker in Baldwin City. Thanks in advance for your help in this most important activity. For questions and more information, call Angela Martin Butell, ’93, director of recruiting at 785.594.4569.

Woman’s Basketball Goes 26-5 and No. 1 in HAAC

With its first-place finish in the standings of the 2014 HAAC women's basketball regular season, the Wildcats are ranked No. 13 nationally and received the No. 1 seed in the HAAC tournament. After beating Evangel and Missouri Valley last week in the tournament, they will face No. 2 MidAmerica Nazarene in the championship game tonight in the Collins Center, going for their 20th straight win. The 26-5 Wildcats went 17-1 in the HAAC regular season and as the conference’s regular season champion earned an automatic berth in the upcoming NAIA national tournament, the first Baker team to do so at the Division I level. Congratulations Coach Ben Lister and all the members of the team.

Shoemaker is Baker's first wrestling national champion

Freshman 133-pound Bryce Shoemaker became Baker's first wrestler to earn a national championship at Saturday's NAIA national tournament at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka. Junior 149-pounder Nick Haugen took home eighth place and an All-America honor.

Four track athletes earn All-America status

Four Wildcats earned All-America honors at the NAIA national indoor track and field meet in Geneva, Ohio, last weekend. Earning medals at the meet were Tyler Sloan fifth in the 60-meter hurdles, Kayla Hannam fifth in the triple jump, Jeremy Gathright fifth in the 400 meters and Billi Pipes seventh in the 200 meters.

Question for March

This is really not so much a trivia question as it is a search for important information. It comes as a result of a question I was recently asked by a member of the Board of Trustees. I feel that the question needs to be asked to a wider audience so that the information obtained may be made available.

The Question

Who among Baker’s former students and alumni have received the Purple Heart or other high military honor for their service to the country?

The Answer

I will list the names I receive in the next issue of From the Arbor. Have a question that you believe would make a suitable monthly trivia question? Please send it to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it."> This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Protect Your Future Plans for Baker


I have recently become aware of a case in which the testamentary plans of a couple will most likely not be realized by the university they intended to give a gift to. The total amount of loss is well into the millions of dollars. Sadly, this is not the first case I have heard of.

In each case, donors had made a testamentary commitment to a university and even communicated that plan either in writing or in person to a member of the university staff. Unfortunately, they stopped short of providing a copy of the portion of the will or trust that applied to that particular and specific bequest. And, in each of these cases, the institution never received the gift that had been originally planned by that donor.

How does this happen? In this most recent case, the trust documents were lost. How can you help ensure that your plans remain intact? One thing you can do if you plan to leave a testamentary gift of any nature to Baker (or a charity) is please inform the staff of your plan and then follow it up with a copy of the portion of your testamentary plan that shows what you were planning at the time of the creation of the document. Also, it would be extremely helpful for you to provide the name(s) of your trustee or executor. In this way, the charity has something to pursue through the legal system should an event of such a nature occur.

For more information on how to protect your eventual plans, you can contact either your own legal representative or contact me at  785.594.8332 (office), 913.449.9540 (cell) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view more articles dedicated to the latest news from Washington, savvy living, health, personal planning, gift stories, finance news, and timely articles related to business and taxes visit this webpage.

*This information is provided only for your consideration and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult your own professional advisor before acting upon this or similar information.

As Dr. James Chubb, ’22, used to say when he visited classmates and alumni while on the road for Baker, “Please remember to leave something for Baker in your will!” And if you do, send a copy of your plan to us.

Have a Great Month of March

I’ll write again in April. Jerry Weakley

Jerry L. Weakley, ’70, MBA ’92
Vice President for Endowment and Planned Giving
P.O. Box 65, Baldwin City, KS 66006
1.785.594.8332 | 913.449.9540
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Baker is proud to be accredited by and affiliated with the United Methodist Church.