The Inauguration of President Robin Baker
Robin Baker, the 12th president of George Fox University, addresses faculty, staff, board members, community citizens, students, and more than 25 delegates from institutions nationwide at the March 6 inauguration ceremony. A fast-changing world will require students to understand cultures beyond their own, he says. “If we are going to prepare students for the world that they will live in, we must help them become global people.”
Tite Tiénou, dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois, gives the inaugural address.
Former President David Brandt presents Bruin Jr. — calling it a “symbol that unites Bruins, past and present”— to President Robin Baker at the inauguration ceremony.
The festivities bring together many people who helped shape the president. He reflects on their contributions.
Doug and Patsy Baker, parents — “I appreciate many things about my upbringing — high standards for grades, performance in sports, and integrity. You could miss the mark at times, but there were two things that you were never to do: cheat or quit at anything. Mostly I remember two people deeply committed to the cause of Christ. They both loved the church and they took me and my brother and sister every time the doors were open. When we weren’t at school or sports we were in the church. I am deeply grateful for their love and for developing a home where Christ was at the center of everything.”
Bill Robinson, president of Whitworth University — “Bill is my newest colleague and has proven to be a wonderful friend. When I became president, he invited me to his campus. He had me come to cabinet and share a devotional. It was very meaningful to me. When he took me on a tour of campus, it was obvious that he is deeply connected at Whitworth and that he is a beloved president.”
Ken Austin, board member — “I have come to know Ken more personally in the last few months, and I am proud to call him a friend. He is thoughtful and caring, and he loves the community of Newberg. His life is a model of service. He and his wife Joan have reached out to Ruth and me and provided important support during the first months of my presidency.”
Mark Sargent, provost, Gordon College — “I first met Mark in 1998 at a Council for Christian Colleges leadership meeting. Mark was a former track athlete, and shared a concern for the liberal arts and the place of faith in higher education. We are both advocates for globalization and for diversity issues. He is an outstanding leader who walks closely with the Lord. Mark is one of the people I write or call when I have things I need to discuss.”
Scott Barton, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, East Central Oklahoma University — “Scott and I were in graduate school together at Texas A&M University and had the same advisor. We were also both Christians and knew that faith was central in our lives and work. Scott and I worked together and commiserated often. He has remained a close friend after graduate school as we have both gone on to become leaders at institutions.”
Rick Ostrander, dean of undergraduate studies, John Brown University — “Rick was one of the first persons I hired at Grand Canyon University. He and his wife, Lonnie, were wonderful additions to our faculty at Grand Canyon. Rick has a passion for sports, and we always connected well. Our young families shared many things and our wives became good friends as well.”
David Maas, professor of history, Wheaton College — “David is one of the most talented teachers and caring persons I know. When Ruth and I arrived at Wheaton for our first job, it was David who took us under his care and watched over us. David and his wife are deeply committed Christians and they continue to serve God well. David mentored me in the classroom, helped us as we became parents for the first time, and he encouraged me in my scholarship efforts. He is a great colleague.”
David Brandt, president emeritus, George Fox University — “Dave is a great mentor and friend and gave me many opportunities to lead at George Fox University.”
Aunts and Uncles — Donna and Dan Reid — “Dan is my mom’s brother and he was an important influence on my life. He was a great coach when I was growing up and he also carried his Christian testimony with him.” Leona and Sharkey Baker — “Sharkey and my dad coached my all-star game when I was a senior in high school. Like the rest of my dad’s family, he and Leona have a great testimony for the Lord.” Alice and Charlie Baker — “Charlie was a baseball coach at Paradise Valley High School and later an athletic director. He and Alice are faithful servants of the church and their leadership role in church and school was a testimony to me.” Sue and Gene Kantola — “We visit them often in Grants Pass, sharing holidays and family gatherings. They are very faithful Christians and also wonderful educators.”
Keith Baker, brother — “Keith and I were always competitors, which meant that at times we were fighting rather than sharing. We were on the same basketball and track teams. My brother has gone on to serve at Grand Canyon University for the past 26 years as athletic director. He is also an elder in his church. Their son, Brandon, graduated from George Fox University this past year.”
Deanna Haliburton, sister — “My sister is a high school administrator in Glendale, Arizona. She has become an outstanding leader and a constant supporter of my efforts. I admire her as much as she does me.”
Chris Osborne, former pastor — “Chris was our pastor when we were at Texas A&M. We served as the college directors at the church and came to love Chris and his wife, Peggy. Chris was someone with whom I enjoyed discussing theology. He has become one of the leading Baptist pastors in Texas. Like many others, he has encouraged me to live a life that is worthy of my calling in Christ, and his support was essential at a difficult time in graduate school.”
Ruth Baker, wife of 28 years — “We have been partners through much change and travel and she has been a consistent support to me. She has a strong commitment to Jesus and prayer, and her faith has always helped strengthen me. She has helped me grow in wisdom and see that sometimes it is better to judge with the heart than with the mind alone. I look forward to many more years at her side.”
Jacob, Rebekah and Tara Baker, children — “These three are the joy of my life. They are not perfect by any means, but they are wonderful. I have been able to watch them play sports, to listen to them play instruments, and to share in the joy of family play. Each has come to know Jesus, and I pray they find God’s calling on their lives as they grow and come to know more of Christ.”