Former Baker University Board of Trustee Don Parker, ’55, attended numerous football games throughout his life. Don passed away in 2018. Often by his side was his wife, honorary alumna Charlotte Parker.
Earlier this year, Charlotte received a call on her birthday and received a once-in-a-lifetime gift that will honor Don’s memory for years and years to come.
The call was from her and Don’s dear friend and longtime Baker supporter, Susanne Teel, ’69. Susanne shared with Charlotte that she had recently made a gift to Baker to replace the turf at Liston Stadium and that the new field was being named in honor of Don.
Don and Susanne shared many memories at Baker, serving on the Board of Trustees together and often watching the Wildcats at various athletic events. Susanne’s decision to have the field named after Don was easy and one she knew he would have taken great pride in.
“Don always wanted the very best for Baker and for our students,” Susanne said. “No one had more Baker pride than Don. It was only right to honor him in this way.”
Through her generous gift, Susanne also chose to honor the legacy of Baker alumnus, Tom Hedrick, ’56. Tom retired in November after more than 30 years as the voice of the Wildcat football team, and he taught sports broadcasting at Baker from 2005 to 2019. One of the suites in Liston Stadium will be renovated to become the Tom Hedrick Suite.
“When you think about Baker University sports, you naturally associate the name Tom Hedrick,” Susanne said. “He is truly a legend.”
This is not the first time that Susanne has made gifts to the university in honor of her Baker connections. Susanne is also a frequent visitor to campus, whether that is in the audience for music and theater performances, working closely with students in the parMentor program, or serving on the House Corporation Board for Delta Delta Delta sorority. Many know her by name and her friendly smile.
“To me it’s important to give to organizations that have impacted my life,” Susanne said. Baker University certainly continues to be a special place for me, and supporting our students is incredibly important. Don shared with me many times the need for the best turf for the safety of our athletes. I recalled his words when I learned of this opportunity. I believe he would be pleased that together we are preparing for the future of Baker University and for our students.”