The Maples

A letter from President Murray
May 8, 2015, 5:17 pm
Filed under: Universitywide

Dear campus community,lynne_murray

As Spring Commencement and the conclusion of my first academic year draws near, I write to you filled with gratitude for the opportunity and optimism for the future. The quality education Baker University delivers was evident from my first day on campus, and it only continues to impress. I remain appreciative of a dedicated faculty and staff that are driven to meet and exceed Baker’s standard of excellence while improving our positioning and generating more revenue.

For a moment, though, let us celebrate Baker University’s many victories from the 2014-2015 school year. Our students, faculty, and alumni from each of our four schools have brought great distinction to the university during the past nine months. We’ve seen Fulbright Scholars, Kansas Teacher of the Year nominees, nationally published authors, lobbyists on Capitol Hill and a host of regional and national award winners from nearly every discipline on campus. Students, I am so proud to be your president.

I want to thank the faculty and staff, too, for enabling and empowering our students to achieve at this level. During the final two weeks of the semester we will have more time to celebrate, but I want to personally thank every member of the Baker community for making my first year so memorable.

I look forward to seeing you all during our upcoming Commencement ceremonies and encourage everyone to attend to support those members of the Baker family who will be walking across the stage.


Baker Proud,


Dr. Lynne Murray

Commencement ceremonies begin this weekend
May 8, 2015, 5:17 pm
Filed under: Universitywide

Baker University will honor more than 300 undergraduates and 180 graduate students at three commencement ceremonies at the Collins Center on the Baldwin City campus.Commencement

Undergraduate degrees for the School of Professional and Graduate Studies will be conferred at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 9. Graduate degrees for the School of Education, School of Professional and Graduate Studies will be conferred at 4 p.m., Saturday, May 9.

At 1 p.m., Sunday, May 17, Baker will confer degrees to undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education and School of Nursing.

Tony Brown, the chairman of Baker’s Master of Liberal Arts program, will be the keynote speaker at the two May 9 ceremonies. Aaron North, the vice president of education at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, will speak at the May 17 ceremony.

All who are celebrating Commencement Day are invited to attend brunch at the Long Student Center dining hall, at the corner of Sixth and Dearborn streets from 10:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. both days. Graduates will be honored guests of the university and will receive a complimentary ticket. Friends and family are welcome to attend for a fee of $8, which will be paid at the door. No reservations are necessary.

Immediately after the commencement ceremony, receptions will be held to honor graduates and their families and friends on the lawn north of the Collins Center. The rain location is the Long Student Center lobby.

For more information on commencement, go to:

Baccalaureate service planned for May 17
May 8, 2015, 5:16 pm
Filed under: Universitywide

The traditional baccalaureate service will be held at 9:30 a.m., Sunday, May 17, at First United Methodist Church, 704 Eighth St., in Baldwin City. It precedes the undergraduate degree commencement ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education and School of Nursing. The Rev. Kevin Hopkins, minister to the university, will deliver the message at baccalaureate.

The processional line will form at 9 a.m. Faculty, administrative staff and trustees who plan to march will meet in front of Constant Hall (618 Eighth Street). All degree candidates will meet in front of Case Hall with choir members in front and others in whatever order they wish. The flag bearers will form in front of the degree candidates between Case and Constant Halls. Please follow the directions of the marshals for the processional.

Professor John Richards will assist professor Martha Harris with the processional. At the direction of the marshals, the line will proceed up the stairs and into the sanctuary. Harris will lead the processional with the university mace, followed by the flag bearers, degree candidates, faculty, trustees, administration and the chancel party. The recessional march will reverse the order of the processional march (last in, first out). The flags and banners will remain in place after the service. Harris will lead the recessional with the university mace, followed by the chancel party then the trustees, administration, faculty and degree candidates.

Inside-Out prison program reaches milestone, receives media attention
May 8, 2015, 5:15 pm
Filed under: Universitywide

Jake Bucher, associate professor of sociology, has led a group of Baker students and inmates since 2009 in the Inside-Out prison program at the Topeka Correctional Facility. On Wednesday, the program reached a milestone, “graduating” its 100th inmate. The Kansas City Star and KSNT-TV provided media coverage of the program earlier this week. To see the stories, go to and

Front page of the KC Star on May 6

Front page of the KC Star on May 6

Senior honored with international award
May 8, 2015, 5:12 pm
Filed under: College of Arts and Sciences

Known for being instrumental in creating a community that promotes diversity and well-being of students on the Baldwin City campus, Baker University senior Alexia Nyoni was recently presented the David

Alexia Nyoni

Alexia Nyoni

Merchant International Student Award for Achievement. The award honors one international student who demonstrates exceptional accomplishments in the areas of scholarship and service.

Originally from Harare, Zimbabwe, Nyoni is a member of Baker’s Delta Pi chapter of Phi Beta Delta, an honor society for international scholars. Founded in 1986, Phi Beta Delta has 200 chapters worldwide.

“It felt like all my hard work had finally paid off,” said Nyoni, who received $500 for the honor. “When I came to Baker, there were not that many international students. I have seen the numbers grow as we attract students from different places across the world. These students bring together a mixture of different cultures. It is great to see the diversity on campus. It provides us opportunities to learn something different, adapt and become culturally enriched.”

Judy Smrha accepting the award on Alexia's behalf at the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society conference two weeks ago in California.

Judy Smrha accepting the award on Alexia’s behalf at the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society conference two weeks ago in California.

Part of the campus community since January 2012, Nyoni had not been to the United States until she became a student at Baker. An uncle who lived in Wichita received a master’s degree from Baker in the mid-1980s and recommended the university to her family. Nyoni and her parents researched Baker online and were impressed by the university’s liberal arts background and academic offerings.

“I wanted to spread my wings and see other places,” said Nyoni, a double major in accounting and business management.

At Baker, Nyoni helps organize social events for international students and coordinates activities for International Education Week in November. Baker is home to 20 international students, representing 13 countries.

“Her role is critical for Baker as we work to create effective community-building programming after our international student population doubled in size this fall,” said Judy Smrha, assistant dean for student engagement and success.

Sophomore named Student Leader of Month
May 8, 2015, 5:08 pm
Filed under: College of Arts and Sciences

Brittney Harmon, a sophomore from Americus, Kansas, was named the Baker University Student Leader of the Month for April.

A graduate of Northern Heights High School, Harmon majors in religious studies and communications. She is president of Active Minds, a university admissions assistant, a Baker ambassador, and a member of Delta Delta Delta, parMentors and Total Equality Alliance.

The nomination form for the leadership honor stated the following:

“Brittney contributes to the Baker community in several ways. Most recently she has taken to spearheading the revival of a campus LGBT+ Interest Group. Shedding light on this minority group is crucial, and her passion for the cause is something that makes me feel lucky to call her my friend and fellow student.”

Brittney Harmon

Brittney Harmon

Eleven seniors to be inducted into Alpha Delta Sigma
May 8, 2015, 5:07 pm
Filed under: College of Arts and Sciences

Eleven Baker University seniors will be inducted at 10:30 a.m., May 16, into the Alpha Delta Sigma honor society. The students are Jacqueline Albin, psychology; Charles (Zach) Aldrich, business (finance) and economics; Caroline Berblinger, English (literature) and sociology; Kacee Britton, business; Katelyn Doolittle, biology; Hannah Geenens, Spanish and secondary education; Brandon Haefke, biology; Rachel Haley, psychology; Sydney Johnston, English (creative writing) and history; Benjamin Sobek, French and Spanish; and Dustin Turner, business (management) and computer science. All 11 are graduating in the top 10 percent of their class. Faculty and staff are welcome to attend the ceremony.


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