Honoring our Legacy. Building for the Future.
Fortune 500 CEOs, New York Times best-selling authors, and Super Bowl champions all proudly claim Baker University, the first university in Kansas, as their alma mater. Since our founding in 1858, our university has positively shaped the lives of thousands and thousands of students. Baker University is an institution with a storied past and a vision for building a better future.
While standing in the center of our beautiful residential campus in Baldwin City, a person can turn 360 degrees and see three buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lady Margaret Thatcher dedicated our Osborne Chapel, which was moved brick by brick from Sproxton, England.
Abraham Lincoln personally donated to the construction of Parmenter Hall.
William Howard Taft, the 27th president of the United States, delivered the first speech on the topic of world peace 100 yards from where our current international studies courses are held.
Given the university’s rich tradition of academic excellence and historical significance—and our immaculate campus, which is a registered arboretum and Tree Campus USA award-winner—it’s no surprise that George Will once called Baker University a “Midwestern hidden gem.”
Baker University has a remarkable history. But a rich past is worth nothing without an investment in the future—a future defined by global connections, accelerated pace, rapid change, and increasingly complex issues.
Fulfilling the need for leaders, doers, and achievers is even more important today. Our graduates are responsible global citizens who think critically, communicate effectively, act ethically, serve generously, and live fully. Baker has achieved this by providing life-changing opportunities to our students and then sending them out into the world to change their communities. Baker has evolved to meet the needs of each generation while remaining committed to the vision set forth by our founders: to take risks, cultivate knowledge, and innovate. We’ve been built this way from the beginning—to serve our students and the communities they move on to. Our story is far from over and we are excited to lay the groundwork for changing lives well into the 21st Century.
Building for the Future
When students leave Baker University with a degree in hand, they have realized their potential to become confident, competent contributors to society. To continue to be the premier private university in the Midwest with a tradition of academic excellence, the university must continue to adapt and change. Under the direction and guidance of Baker University’s president, Dr. Lynne Murray, Baker University has been engaged in developing a comprehensive plan that fully aligns with our strategic plan, which will define the next 160 years of history
We are pleased to announce the public launch of Forever Orange: The Campaign for Baker University to raise $28 million to fund six priorities: the Baker Fund, endowed and planned gifts, endowed professorships, scholarships, student experiences and technology, and capital projects. By embarking on a comprehensive campaign, we can continue to fund scholarships for future leaders and achievers. We can create professorships and recruit outstanding faculty to ensure that Baker stands out as a thought leader in the region. We can enhance and modernize our facilities to better serve our students, staff, and faculty. And most important, we can grow together and create a better tomorrow. By joining this campaign, you can shape Baker University’s future.
As part of Forever Orange: The Campaign for Baker University, six priorities have been identified to propel the university forward for the next 160 years. The six campaign priorities are outlined here.
The Baker Fund
The Baker Fund generates much-needed support for the university’s most critical needs and greatest strengths. Because of their flexibility, gifts to the Baker Fund enable the university to meet immediate opportunities and needs.
These funds are primarily used to provide scholarships to deserving students. Gifts of any amount make a significant difference in the lives of our deserving students. And giving percentage is a key criterion in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings. So a gift of any size to Baker elevates the university’s prominence.
Endowed and Planned Gifts
Throughout our lifetime, most of us strive to make a difference in the lives of others. We give back, as we are able, to charities and organizations that are near and dear to our hearts, and for many, that includes Baker University. But as many of us make plans for the future, we must think about the legacy we want to leave after we’re gone. We must think about how to make the world a better place for future generations.
Through a planned gift you can ensure that Baker University will keep its doors open to qualified students and continue to offer life-changing opportunities at all four of our schools. Endowed unrestricted gifts pay tribute to the role Baker has played in our lives and allows donors to give back in a way that will sustain the university for generations to come. Planned gifts provide for a future gift to Baker through your financial and estate plans. Your support of Baker University honors and maintains our rich tradition of academic excellence and student engagement in a respectful, inviting, and values-based learning community. Donors who include Baker University in their estate plans are inducted into the Pulliam Society, an honorary association of donors recognized and appreciated by the university.
Professors at Baker University know their students and are personally committed to their success from the moment they step into their classroom. Not only does our faculty motivate students inside the classroom, but they also engage them as partners and colleagues in research and discovery.
Competition is intense for the best faculty, particularly at a private liberal arts university like Baker. Endowed professorships advance the university by encouraging excellence in teaching and providing significant opportunities for our faculty members. Gifts for endowed professorships enable the university to hire the best and the brightest faculty members—a necessity for a university to remain competitive. Endowed professorships also help fund collaborative efforts that promote student participation and interdisciplinary teamwork.
Currently, 97% of Baker students receive funding to help pay for their education, and for some, this can make the difference between a dream and a reality. While some of their aid comes from federal grants and loans, for many of our students, the gap is bridged with endowed scholarships funded by Baker University alumni and friends. These endowed scholarships can make a college experience less stressful by allowing students to focus on their studies, gain leadership skills through extracurricular activities, and build relationships on campus that will last a lifetime.
Endowed scholarships are critical because they provide permanent funding for programs on which students can count—year after year. Just as scholarships have made a difference in the lives of those who have received them, they have also made a difference in the university as a whole. A gift of an endowed scholarship enables a donor’s impact to last well into the future, and it enables the university to attract and retain generations of high-achieving and deserving students.
As enrollment in each of our schools continues to grow, the need for scholarships has never been greater. Your support will help deserving men and women at each of our campuses earn a Baker University degree.
Student Experiences and Technology
At Baker University, students form the core of our mission: They are the reason we exist. They will become the next generation of leaders, hard-hitting journalists, scientist at the forefront of life-changing research, and entrepreneurs that alter the landscape of the business world.
Through the Forever Orange campaign, we have identified the study abroad experience and much-needed technology upgrades as important facets of the student experience.
Your support can provide students with the opportunity to study abroad and acquire the international perspective that is required in today’s interconnected world. Students who study abroad count their travel memories among the most transformative (and fun) of all their collegiate experiences. Students who study abroad are more likely to graduate in four years, have a higher GPA, and experience greater commitment to their chosen major and profession.
State-of-the-Art Equipment and Information Technology
Whether they are aspiring journalists or inquisitive researchers, students must have access to state-of-the-art technology and classrooms that enhance instruction, promote hands-on learning, and build innovators and explorers in all fields. As information technology has become an integral aspect of the modern classroom, staying current and on the cutting edge transforms instruction, research, and study across academic disciplines.
The physical landscape of our college campus is ever changing, and we must continue to meet the needs the 21st century college student. As Baker University continues to redefine itself, our learning and living spaces must also be redefined and reimagined. Investing in our campus and facilities is essential for creating the exceptional learning experiences that will continue to attract exceptional students.
Our athletic and performance spaces must be modernized. Our facilities must match the talents and aspirations of the students, faculty, and staff that use and depend on them. This campaign will revitalize and build spaces that bring the entire Baker community together.
Capital improvement projects as part of the comprehensive campaign include, but are not limited to, additional renovations to Rice Auditorium, improvements to our athletic facilities, and much-needed updates to various academic buildings on our Baldwin City campus.
It’s been more than 160 years since Baker University was founded in Baldwin City, Kansas, by pioneering Methodists who found bare land and dared call it a campus, who saw turmoil and saw an opportunity to quell it with education, and who held the same ideas and dreams that we do today.
Since then, Baker University has continued to be ambitious, while maintaining a sharp focus on our mission and what is most important: to educate and nurture new generations and send them out into the world to do good. As we embark on this campaign, we honor the work of our founders and past students.
But we also look to the future and think about future generations. We think about the students that have yet to arrive on campus that will someday make a difference in the world. We think about our community and our faculty who will help to shape their lives. We think about all that we can accomplish through this campaign and we bring these aspirations to our community, to our loyal alumni, and to our biggest supporters and ask for you to come together and make our visions a reality.
Our students today are the beneficiaries of those who have been generous in the past. Thanks to the time, energy, and generosity of countless people who came before us, Baker University is in a position of great strength and stability. Now is our time to ensure our university continues its inspiring trajectory. A successful campaign will directly affect students now and in the future, leaving a legacy of support of which we can all be proud. A successful campaign will help Baker University to remain Forever Orange.