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May 8, 2009

Contact: Steve Rottinghaus, Baker University public relations director, (785) 594-8330 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Olathe student selected as McGowan Scholarship recipient

Baldwin City, Kan. — Baker University has selected Jeff Skillman as the recipient of the prestigious William G. McGowan Scholarship, which will provide the Baker student $18,000 for his senior year in 2009-10.

thumb_JeffSkillman“Overall, I'm very excited about the prospect of pushing myself to new heights in terms of educational enrichment and I hope that I can leave a lasting impression on Baker's campus, much like the impression Baker has left on me,” said Skillman, of Olathe.

As part of the selection process for the scholarship, Skillman submitted essays addressing the contributions of William McGowan to the business world and telecommunications field. Skillman also demonstrated his potential and aspirations to transfer his academic knowledge into today’s business world. In addition to the essays, McGowan Scholar applicants must maintain a 3.0 grade-point average, have completed their junior year and be majoring in business or economics.

“Jeff is an outstanding individual who exemplifies the spirit of the McGowan Program and will grow the McGowan Scholar tradition at Baker started last year,” said Gary Irick, assistant professor of business and economics. “In addition to an impressive academic record Jeff's commitment to service and maintaining high ethical standards separated him from the other candidates.”

As part of the scholarship program, Skillman will be enrolled this fall in an independent study class, where he plans to study corporate governance. It will provide an opportunity for him to actively participate in collaborative learning experiences with peers and faculty.

“The idea behind the McGowan research project is to make a potential curricular impact on the business curriculum,” Skillman said. “I plan to try and come up with the basis for a corporate governance course that can be added to the Baker business and economics department. This is a very fundamental and essential idea that needs to be covered more thoroughly during our time at Baker.”

The McGowan Scholars program recognizes the academic achievements and excellence of students pursuing a major offered by an accredited business school. It is designed to encourage leadership ability, interpersonal skills, and a significant involvement in academic, campus and community activities. It also recognizes excellence of character, a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurial potential.

The McGowan Charitable Fund has established the McGowan Scholar program to provide selected colleges and universities with scholarships to help students who wish to pursue a business education. It is based on the experience of William G. McGowan during his college days. Though admitted to Harvard Business School to study for a Master of Business Administration degree, he did not have sufficient funds to complete his studies. However, he won Harvard's Baker Scholars award that provided the funds necessary for him to earn his degree and launch a successful business career.

Rand Ziegler, vice president and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Joe Watson, assistant professor of mass media; Alan Grant, associate professor of business and economics; and Irick served on the selection committee.

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