Dec. 3, 2008
Commencement ceremonies planned for Dec. 13-14
Baldwin City, Kan. — Baker University’s fall commencement ceremonies will be Dec. 13 and 14 at the George F. Collins Sports and Convention Center on the Baldwin City campus. More than 600 students are candidates for degrees.
The keynote speaker for the first ceremony on Dec. 13 is Ethan Whitehill, chief executive officer for Two West, Inc. After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and communications from Westminster College, Whitehill earned his Master of Business Administration degree from Baker. Before founding Two West, Whitehill served as a writer and producer for a leading travel and hospitality advertising agency and as a creative supervisor for a Fortune 1,000 energy company. During his career, he has directed award-winning creative efforts for various clients, including Sprint, Time Warner and Holiday Inn. At Two West, Whitehill leads one of the fastest growing branding and communications companies in the Midwest. Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., with an office in Los Angeles, Whitehill’s team blends behavioral science and design to create breakthrough ideas for brands in transition. Two West has been recognized as an Inc. 5,000 Fastest Growing Private Company in 2008, a Greater Kansas City Chamber Top 10 Small Business in 2007 and an Inc. Inner City 100 company in 2004. Whitehill serves on the boards of DeLaSalle Education Center and International Relations Council.
Dick Hedges, a 1960 graduate of Baker University and a member of the Kansas Board of Regents, will speak at the 4:30 p.m. ceremony on Dec. 13. Hedges retired in 2003 after a distinguished career in education. His career includes teaching, coaching, and principal and vice principal positions at four Kansas high schools – Baldwin High School, Columbus High School, Fort Scott High School and Hutchinson High School. He served as the president of Fort Scott Community College from 1983 to 1991 and then worked as the vice president of Ward/Kraft Printing in Fort Scott. In 1995, he became the director of the Johnson County Technical School and in 1999 he was named to a second term as president of Fort Scott Community College. Hedges has served Fort Scott as a city commissioner and mayor. He is a past president of the Kansas Association of Community Colleges and the Jayhawk Athletic Conference. He is a founding member of Leadership Fort Scott, a past president of Fort Scott Rotary and the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Bourbon County Economic Development Team, and a board member of the First United Methodist Church in Fort Scott. Hedges received two degrees from Pittsburg State.
On Sunday, Dec. 14, Tony Brown will deliver the keynote address. A professor at Baker since 1990, Brown received his bachelor's degree from Wabash College, earning recognition in the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society. He earned his master's and doctoral degrees from Vanderbilt University. During his tenure at Baker, Brown has received several teaching awards, including the Distinguished Faculty Award, the Most Outstanding Professor Award and the Kopke Award for Distinguished Teaching. He has served as the director of the First Year Student Program, director of the University Honors Program and as chairman of the psychology department. He has been active in the Baldwin City community, serving on the City Council, as vice president of the Black Jack Battlefield Trust and in numerous offices in the Baldwin City Lions Club. Brown retired from full-time teaching in the spring of 2008 to pursue other professional opportunities. He is currently State Representative-Elect for the 10th District of the Kansas House.
Baker University is committed to assuring student learning, and developing confident, competent and responsible contributors to society.