Baker University

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Baker University
Baker University crest.png
Type Private
Established 1858
Affiliation United Methodist Church
President Lynne Murray
Students 3,076 (Fall 2014)[1]
Undergraduates 1,897 (Fall 2014)[1]
Postgraduates 1,179 (Fall 2014)[1]
Location Baldwin City, Kansas, U.S.
Campus 10 acres


- Baker accents with blue (sports) and black (academics).
Nickname Wildcats
Affiliations Heart of America Athletic Conference
Baker University wordmark.png

Baker University is a private, residential, university located in Baldwin City, Kansas, United States. Founded in 1858, it is one of the oldest universities in Kansas[2] and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.[3]

Baker University is made up of four schools. The College of Arts and Sciences and the undergraduate courses in the School of Education (SOE) are located at the campus in Baldwin City, Kansas. The School of Professional and Graduate Studies (SPGS) and the graduate branch of the SOE serve working adults at campuses in Lee's Summit, Missouri and Kansas City, Missouri, Overland Park, Kansas, Topeka, Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, and Wichita, Kansas. The School of Nursing, which is operated in partnership with Stormont-Vail HealthCare in Topeka, offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.[4]

Enrollment in all four schools has grown to a total student population more than 3,000, with more than 900 students on the Baldwin City campus. A 2014 survey by the Kansas City Business Journal listed Baker University's MBA program as having the largest enrollment for MBA programs in the Kansas City, Missouri Metropolitan Area.[5]


Old Castle Hall, built in 1857-58 as the original home of Baker University
Parmenter Hall, the most recognizable building on Baker's main campus.
Baker Wildcats football team (white uniforms)
Baker pep squad leading cheers at a game

Baker University was founded in 1858 and named for Osmon Cleander Baker, a Methodist Episcopal biblical scholar and bishop. The school was the first university in Kansas and funds were raised by local donations and donors from the East. Baker's first president, Rev. Werter R. Davis, a minister and Civil War officer, served from 1858 to 1862. The original campus building, now known as Old Castle Museum, houses a museum of the University and Baldwin City.[6]


Main article: Baker Wildcats
Official Athletics logo

Baker University teams, known as the Wildcats, have only one official color: orange. The only other school in the country to have orange as their official color is Syracuse University. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Region V competing in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC). In 1890 Baker University won a 22-9 victory against the University of Kansas in the first intercollegiate football game to take place in Kansas. Since 1978 women have been competing in sports at Baker.

Baker was one of the first NAIA schools to take part in the Champions of Character program, which emphasizes respect, servant leadership, integrity, sportsmanship and responsibility. Baker has been a member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference since the organization's inception in 1971. The school competes in 19 sports: football, men's and women's basketball, cross country, track and field, baseball, softball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball, women's bowling, wrestling, and co-ed spirit squad. The HAAC conference consists of 10 schools in four states which are located in southwest Iowa, southern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, and throughout Missouri.

The athletic programs have garnered three individual national championships, 100 All-Americans, and over 100 conference titles. More than 40 Wildcats annually are named NAIA Scholar-Athletes for their success both on the field and in the classroom and a select few have been named Capital One Academic All-Americans.

Campus life[edit]

Residential life[edit]

Baker University has three residence halls and two apartment buildings for students living on campus. Gessner Hall provides suite style living arrangements for 152 male residents. It was built in 1966, and the building was renovated in 2012. Iwrin Hall provides suite style living arrangements for 150 female residents. The newest residence hall is the New Living Center, which houses 190 students in 48 rooms. The New Living Center is the largest on campus, with three stories and six wings totaling 52,000 square feet.[7][8]

Horn Apartments and Markham Apartments make up the Baker University apartment complex. The complex houses 96 students, selected through an application process. Each furnished apartment is made up of four private bedrooms, which share a kitchen, a living room, and two bathrooms.

Fraternities and sororities[edit]

Greek life at Baker University can trace its beginnings to 1865. Baker student James C. Hall left the school to attend Indiana Asbury University for a year, during which he was initiated into the Lambda Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta. Hall returned to Baker University where he and six other students were able to petition Phi Gamma Delta and secure a charter as the Phi Chapter. Additional students were initiated over the next couple years, but the fraternity was short lived at Baker. In 1868, the student members began to become dissatisfied with conditions at the university. Five of the members transferred to Northwestern University in 1869, and they transferred the fraternity charter with them and continued to operate their chapter at Northwestern.[9][10]

The modern-day Greek system at Baker traces its beginnings to 1889 when the Alpha Omega men's fraternity was established. Six Baker women responded by forming a local sorority in 1890. That local sorority petitioned Delta Delta Delta and became the Lambda Chapter in 1895, installed as the first chapter of a national Greek women's organization on the Baker campus. Alpha Omega was later installed as the Gamma Theta Chapter of Delta Tau Delta in 1903, after multiple unsuccessful attempts petitioning Phi Delta Theta. Baker University is currently home to eight Greek letter social fraternities and sororities. All are chapters of national organizations, except for Zeta Chi. Founded on May 23, 1905, Zeta Chi is one of the oldest independent fraternity west of the Mississippi River. Alpha Kappa Alpha became the first historically black Greek organization to establish a chapter on Baker University's campus, when it did so in the 1970s. Zeta Phi Beta is currently the only historically black Greek organization with a chapter at Baker.[11]

Interfraternity Council Panhellenic Council National Pan-Hellenic Council
Phi Gamma Delta, Phi Chapter, 1865–1869 (chapter transferred) Delta Delta Delta, Lambda Chapter, 1895–present Alpha Kappa Alpha, (inactive)
Delta Tau Delta, Gamma Theta Chapter, 1903–present Alpha Chi Omega, Omicron Chapter, 1908–present Omega Psi Phi, (inactive)
Kappa Sigma, Beta Tau Chapter, 1903–present Zeta Tau Alpha, Sigma Chapter, 1912–present Alpha Phi Alpha, (inactive)
Zeta Chi, 1905–present Phi Mu Zeta Alpha Chapter, 1916–2011 (inactive) Zeta Phi Beta, Pi Sigma Chapter, 2006–present
Sigma Phi Epsilon, Kansas Alpha Chapter, 1910–present Kappa Alpha Psi, Rho Chapter, 2009–2011 (inactive)
Theta Kappa Nu, Kansas Alpha Chapter, 1924–1932 (inactive)
Tau Kappa Epsilon, Xi Kappa Chapter, 1972–1976 (inactive)

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Higher Learning Commission". 
  2. ^ "Bake University – History". 
  3. ^ "Spiritual Life". 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2015-08-08. 
  4. ^ "Academic Programs". Retrieved 2015-08-08. 
  5. ^ [1] Archived February 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
  7. ^ " | New Baker residence hall ready for students to return". 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2015-08-08. 
  8. ^ "Gessner Hall renovations completed". The Baker Orange. 2012-08-20. Retrieved 2015-08-08. 
  9. ^ "Phi Gamma Delta". 1931-01-01. Retrieved 2015-08-08. 
  10. ^ The Phi Gamma Delta, Volume 30, Issue 3. December 1907. p 218.
  11. ^ "Alumni News". Retrieved 2015-08-08. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°46′39″N 95°11′16″W / 38.77750°N 95.18778°W / 38.77750; -95.18778