The Joanne M. Howard Hall for Applied Health Sciences is officially open after the Baker University community came together for a ribbon-cutting and grand opening ceremony on October 20. Baker’s Department of Applied Health Sciences now calls this building home.
The renovation project was made possible by a $2 million gift from the family of Joanne Morrison Howard, PhD, who graduated from Baker in 1962 and passed away in 2018. Additional gifts were given by Don, ’69, and Cindy (Horn), ’70, Rogers; Tony, ’66, and Ann Eisel; and Don and Dona (Shaw) Johnson, both ’70.
During the ceremony, Howard’s husband, Cleve, son Nathan and his wife, Andrea, and their three children had front-row seats, along with her sister Trudy (Morrison) Wright, ’66, and brother John Morrison. Don and Cindy Rogers were also on hand.
Dr. Erin Holt, professor and chair of the Department of Applied Health Sciences, believes the new facility will support academic and experiential excellence in the programs under the Howard Hall roof.
“The collaborative learning environment of Howard Hall will enhance students’ educational experiences, allowing them to continue to be emerging leaders in graduate and professional programs, in research opportunities, and in public health and exercise science industry careers,” Holt said.
A Dedicated Space to Prepare for Allied Health Careers
Baker students in the Department of Applied Health Sciences, who are preparing for allied health careers, shared their excitement about the building.
“Now, we have a beautiful building to call our own and learning spaces to hone our skills,” said Grant Thompson, an exercise science major.
Joanne Howard considered Baker an important stepping stone in her education and career. She was a pioneer, serving as the first female faculty member at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. And, while at the University of Miami, she received several teaching awards. Her family is pleased that her namesake building will provide students who aspire to careers in public health, research, biomechanics, physical and occupational therapy, and exercise science the physical resources to prepare for jobs in these important fields.
“Dr. Joanne Howard laid the groundwork for her long career as an undergraduate at Baker University, and now so many students will benefit from her giving spirit and dedication to education,” said Baker University President Lynne Murray.
Howard Hall contains classrooms, labs, meeting spaces, and faculty offices for one of the most quickly growing departments on campus. Following the ceremony, students gave tours of the new building, and explained how each of the new spaces will be used.
New Educational Opportunities
“When we first started moving into the building, I had so much fun watching the faces of the students as they entered their new collaborative learning spaces for the first time,” Holt said. “Our first few weeks in the space and watching the finishing touches come together continuously raised the level of excitement for the opportunities Howard Hall allows.”
To conclude the ceremony, mass media student Caitlin Mooney presented a special gift to the Howard family. Mooney took monthly photos of the progress of the renovation and created photobooks for family members.
The Howard Hall renovation project started in November 2022. Members of Baker’s facilities staff worked with vendors and construction crews to transform Jolliffe Hall, which was built in 1940 and served as a residence hall until the summer of 2008.