KASFAA Oz-Sociated Press, Winter 2003
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KASFAA School Spotlight:

Baker University Logo

Parmenter Hall

Chartered on February 12, 1858, three years prior to establishment of Kansas' statehood, Baker University was the state's first university. It is named for a distinguished scholar and bishop, Osmon Cleander Baker, who presided over the first conference convened in this new region by the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Instruction began in November 1858. It was at first preparatory only, but expanded after four years to include collegiate courses. In 1866, the University awarded its first bachelor's degree. For most of its first quarter-century, it struggled for survival in the face of almost overwhelming odds. But, new leadership drew Baker out of its depression to begin an era of expansion in the 1880s. Continued growth and achievements of alumni, including two Rhodes Scholars in the class of 1907, brought the institution widespread recognition.

In 1930, Baker broadened its geographic responsibility and reach through a merger with Missouri Wesleyan College of Cameron, Missouri, and proudly maintains that institution's heritage as well.

Weathering the strains of both the Great Depression and World War II, Baker has maintained a record of unbroken service for more than 140 years. Its' rich academic tradition includes four Rhodes Scholars and two Pulitzer Prize winners. Following World War II, the University embarked upon a program of expansion of its' physical facilities. During the past decade, Baker has renovated its' older structures and continued to increase its' endowment through the establishment of endowed chairs and professorships and expanded student scholarship funds.

New programs to serve the changing needs of new student groups have been introduced throughout the University's history. In 1975, Baker expanded horizons by developing a Master of Liberal Arts degree program for adult students in Kansas City. In 1988, this program was incorporated into the School of Professional and Graduate Studies, which offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs for adult students.

Baker Wildcat Mascot

In August 1991, the School of Nursing was established in the Pozez Education Center at Stormont-Vail HealthCare which serves as Baker University's Topeka campus. The school provides professional nursing education to meet the growing needs of the state and nation.

In keeping with its' mission to serve both recent high school graduates and life-long learning needs of adults, Baker University is composed of the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Professional and Graduate Studies, and the School of Nursing.

The College of Arts and Sciences, at the main campus in Baldwin City, has unique educational goals and offers a wide array of educational programs primarily to prepare young people for life in the 21st century. Through the School of Nursing at Stormont-Vail HealthCare in Topeka, Baker University prepares recent high school graduates and adult students for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Submitted by Lois McCurdy

Visit Baker University Online.

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