At the 2012 Gala and Auction on March 3 in Overland Park, Baker President Pat Long proudly announced another gift from the Hartleys: $1.6 million toward the Ivan L. Boyd Center for Collaborative Science Education. It was also proclaimed that the 9,000-square-foot expansion to Mulvane Hall would be named Ross and Christine Hartley Hall.
"We enjoy giving back to the University," said Ross, a 1970 Baker graduate who had a successful career working with his father in the family's independent insurance company and co-founded NIC, Inc., a leading provider of electronic government services in the United States.
As a student, Ross took several classes—math, chemistry and physics—and labs at Mulvane. He and his wife strongly believe in the $10.3 million transformation of Mulvane, essential to preparing the next generation of scientists.
"I think anybody who gives philanthropically always discovers that they are the ones who gain the most pleasure, even more than the recipient," Christine said.
Ross and Christine both grew up in middle-income families in extreme southeastern Kansas, living comfortable lifestyles. As high school sweethearts, they never envisioned having the resources to be able to live in Wyoming's Jackson Hole valley with beautiful mountains as a backdrop, surrounded by abundant wildlife. Elk, grizzly bears and black bears are seen daily outside their home.
With a love for nature, the Hartleys admire the scenery of the Baldwin City campus. They take tremendous pride in helping enhance the landscape and providing a better future for students in science and math.
"We have seen great improvement and strides in the appearance of campus during Dr. Pat's tenure," Christine said. "The beauty of the campus is very welcoming to students and parents when they arrive. We think giving to the project is a great opportunity that will enhance student and career opportunities in math and sciences, which is the direction all leaders say we need to go in higher education. Baker is not standing still. It continues to grow. Pat and the Baker staff take pride in the campus. It makes us happy to support Mulvane Hall."