Portland Business Journal names President Robin Baker as one of its 2023 Executives of the Year

April 18, 2023

President Robin E. Baker

NEWBERG, Ore. (April 18, 2023) – George Fox University President Robin Baker is among a group of C-level executives the Portland Business Journal is recognizing for exceptional performance over the previous year. The publication named Baker one of its 2023 Executives of the Year in the president category. He will accept the award at a luncheon on Thursday, May 11, at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland. 

A special publication of the Portland Business Journal on May 12 will feature Baker and the other leaders selected by a panel of executive judges for the honor. Honorees hold a strong record of innovation in their fields, outstanding performance in their businesses, and a clear track record of meaningful community involvement. 

Approaching his 16th year as president, Baker is the longest-serving college president in Oregon. He was appointed the 12th president of George Fox on July 1, 2007 after spending the previous eight years as the university’s provost. During his tenure, he has overseen significant expansion in the number of facilities and academic programs receiving national accreditation. He also helped the university weather the pandemic and a challenging higher education environment. S&P Global recently affirmed its A- (stable) long-term bond rating for George Fox. 

Under Baker’s leadership, George Fox’s enrollment has grown 24 percent, making it Oregon’s largest private college. More than 4,000 students are enrolled in classes at the university’s campus in Newberg, Oregon, and at teaching centers in Portland and Redmond, Oregon. George Fox offers 60 undergraduate academic programs, degree-completion programs for working adults, and 19 master’s and doctoral degrees. U.S. News & World Report classifies George Fox University as a “Best National University” category, and ranks its engineering program among the top 25 percent nationally for schools that don’t offer a doctoral degree in engineering. 

Baker has led a significant expansion of healthcare education programs at George Fox. In 2006, the university launched its undergraduate nursing program, which U.S. News & World Report today ranks among the top in the country in its category. The university’s doctor of physical therapy program launched in 2012 and the Physician Assistant (PA) program began in 2021. George Fox will further expand education in healthcare by launching a new doctoral program in occupational therapy in the fall of 2024.

George Fox is also one of Oregon’s leading producers of educators, offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the education field. The university has developed innovative programs, such as an accelerated elementary education degree-completion program, to help address the teacher shortage in rural Oregon schools. 

In addition, Baker has initiated new efforts in globalization of the curriculum and helped implement the university's Act Six program, which offers full four-year scholarships to urban student leaders. When the program started 15 years ago, fewer than 200 ethnically diverse students were part of the undergraduate student body. In the fall of 2022, nearly 750 students came from ethnically diverse backgrounds. 

Under Baker’s leadership, community service has become a vital piece of the student experience at George Fox. Classes are canceled once a year for Serve Day, when more than 2,000 students and employees volunteer on community projects at more than 100 different sites. Other opportunities to serve the community include youth science classes taught by George Fox students, a student-staffed Behavioral Health Center, and a student-staffed physical therapy clinic.

The university continues to adapt with changes in technology. The university offers several degrees online and the George Fox Digital initiative helped enroll first-year students during the pandemic. It now produces compelling online content for flexible digital learning opportunities.

A former college athlete, Baker has invested in the university’s NCAA Div. III sports programs, which last year won the McIlroy Lewis All-Sports Trophy, recognizing the best overall team finishes in the Northwest Conference. During his tenure, the women’s track team and the women’s basketball team have won NCAA national titles, and the women’s golf team annually finishes in the top 5 nationally. In 2014, Baker went against national trends and brought football back to George Fox after a four-decade absence. Since then, George Fox has added lacrosse, E-Sports and cheer as team sports.

Baker is also a national leader in higher education. He serves as one of the commissioners for the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the accrediting body for higher education in the Northwest. He also holds the following volunteer positions:

In addition to investing in academic excellence, Baker has made marketing and enrollment a priority, building the university’s brand as a Christian university where students will be known personally, academically and spiritually. 



Carly Reumann
PR and Communications Manager
Office: 503-554-2101