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Baker senior Tracy Light and John Richards, assistant professor of history, are working on a documentary.
Baker senior Tracy Light and John Richards, assistant professor of history, are working on a documentary.
Feb. 24, 2009
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University begins production on documentary

Baldwin City, Kan. — Baker University is beginning production on a documentary titled “Bauer, Baker and Baldwin City: Electrifying a Small Town’s Identity” after receiving a grant from the Kansas Humanities Council as part of its Kansans Tell Their Stories program.

The funding was made possible in part by a contribution from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ We the People initiative.

The short, five-minute digital documentary will tell the story of how Professor W.C. Bauer, Baker and Baldwin City were forever linked in 1906 when the young academic electrified the university and then the entire town. Baker’s collaboration with the Kansas Humanities Council will help spread the story of electricity’s arrival in Kansas, and how the acquisition of technology helped Baldwin residents become models of independence and self-sufficiency.

Tracy Light, a Baker senior from Naples, Italy, majoring in history and secondary education, conducted all of the primary-source research associated with the project. She will serve as the project researcher for the documentary.

“I found Professor W.C. Bauer inspiring,” Light said. “The fact that he came to Baker University and worked to update not only the University, but Baldwin City really says something about how special Professor W.C. Bauer was. He has made a lasting impression on the campus with all the work he accomplished.

“For a professor to take time, not only to educate students but take a personal interest in the University and town which he is working for, really shows the dedication and passion that he had toward his interests. I personally believe that Professor W.C. Bauer was one of the best things that could have happened to our University and city.”

John Richards, assistant professor of history, supervised Light’s original investigations during his laboratory course in historical methods. Susan Emel, professor of mass media and communication, will write the script for the documentary. Richards and Emel are both serving as humanities consultants for the project.

The university plans to premiere the documentary in the fall 2009 at Mabee Hall.

“The most rewarding thing for me by doing this project was that Professor W.C. Bauer's story will be heard and never forgotten,” Light said. “I hope that some day the Baker University campus tour guides will include his story in their trek across campus.

Principal funding for the project is provided by the Kansas Humanities Council, a nonprofit cultural organization promoting understanding of the history, traditions and ideas that shape lives and build community.


Baker University is committed to assuring student learning, and developing confident, competent and responsible contributors to society.