Baker University

Baker University is a private liberal arts university located in Baldwin City, Kansas. Founded in 1858, it was the first four-year university in Kansas and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.[2] 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 on the campus in Baldwin City, Kansas. The School of Professional and Graduate Studies (SPGS) and the graduate branch of the SOE serve nontraditional students on campuses in Overland Park, Kansas, and online. The School of Nursing, which is operated in partnership with Stormont Vail Health in Topeka, offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).[3]

Baker University
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
PresidentLynne Murray
Students3,076 (Fall 2014)[1]
Undergraduates1,897 (Fall 2014)[1]
Postgraduates1,179 (Fall 2014)[1]
Location, ,
Campus10 acres
AffiliationsHeart of America Athletic Conference

Enrollment in all four schools has grown to a student population more than 3,000, with about 900 students on the Baldwin City campus. The College of Arts and Sciences offers more than 40 areas of undergraduate study. The School of Education offers several master's degree programs in addition to doctoral degrees in educational leadership (PK-12), higher education, and instructional design and performance technology. The School of Professional and Graduate Studies offers associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in business administration, organizational leadership, sports management, accounting, psychology, and criminal justice.


Baker University was founded in 1858 and named for Osman Cleander Baker, a Methodist Episcopal biblical scholar and bishop. The schoolwhich is the oldest, continually operating institution of higher learning in the statewas the first four-year 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.[4][5]


Baker University teams, known as the Wildcats, have only one official color: cadmium orange. The only other school in the country to have orange as their only 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 (Heart). 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 intercollegiate 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 23 sports: football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's 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, men's and women's bowling, men's and women's wrestling, and co-ed cheer, dance, and esports. The Heart conference consists of 13 schools in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and 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

Residential life

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. Irwin 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.[6][7]

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

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.[8][9]

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.[10]

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

Notable faculty


  1. "Higher Learning Commission".
  2. "Spiritual Life". 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2015-08-08.
  3. "Academic Programs". Archived from the original on 2015-08-11. Retrieved 2015-08-08.
  4. Blackmar, Frank, ed. (1912). "Baker University". Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc. Standard Publishing Company. pp. 129–32.
  5. "Old Castle Museum". Baker University. 2016-06-03. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  6. " | New Baker residence hall ready for students to return". 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2015-08-08.
  7. "Gessner Hall renovations completed". The Baker Orange. 2012-08-20. Retrieved 2015-08-08.
  8. "Phi Gamma Delta". 1931-01-01. Retrieved 2015-08-08.
  9. The Phi Gamma Delta, Volume 30, Issue 3. December 1907. p 218.
  10. "Alumni News". Archived from the original on 2014-04-24. Retrieved 2015-08-08.

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