At 11 a.m. on February 8, Baker University will commemorate its 160-year legacy during its annual Founders Day celebration. Dedicated to the school’s 1858 founding by what is now the United Methodist Church, the ceremony will focus on Baker’s beginnings, future, and longstanding relationship with the church. University Minister Emeritus the Rev. Dr. Ira DeSpain will deliver the keynote address: “A Faithful Legacy.” The event will include a performance by the Baker University Concert Choir.

Starting in 1992, DeSpain served as the minister to Baker University for more than 22 years before retiring in 2014. During his tenure, DeSpain preached more than 600 sermons on the university campus and officiated weddings for more than 300 couples who met at or attended Baker. DeSpain is a 1970 Baker graduate.

Dr. Lynne Murray, university president, is looking forward to highlighting Baker’s core values and vision for the coming years during the celebration.

“One of the hallmarks of Baker University is its great community,” Murray said. “I’m honored to share such an historic milestone with the Rev. Dr. Ira DeSpain, who represents the spirit of Baker’s Methodist traditions and who knows them so well. As Reverend at Baker for more than 20 years and as a Board of Trustee member, Baker is truly fortunate and honored that he will share this celebration with us.”

The celebration will be held at Baldwin First United Methodist Church in Baldwin City and is open to all Baker students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. Lunch will be provided after the ceremony in the Susanne Teel Dining Hall.

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