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Forever Orange campaign raises $41.3 million

Baker University celebrated the end of its most successful fundraising campaign, Forever Orange, with a gala on May 7 with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends. At the event, University President Lynne Murray announced that the initiative had raised $41.3 million, more than double its initial goal set in 2016.

“During this campaign we have acknowledged Baker’s rich history while looking forward and securing the means that will ensure every Baker student has access to an exceptional education that prepares them to make contributions in their fields and to their communities. I cannot express how grateful and proud I am to be able to say that together the Baker community has made a lasting impact on this future.”

Dr. Lynne Murray

The campaign was launched with a goal to support six priorities.

Baker Fund

Unrestricted gifts to the Baker Fund are used at the university’s discretion to meet immediate needs and take advantage of emerging opportunities. The campaign raised $9.7 million for this priority.

Endowed & Planned Gifts

Endowed and planned gifts secure a future contribution through a donor’s financial or estate plan; $7.5 million was raised for this priority.

Endowed Professorships

The Forever Orange campaign raised $3 million for endowed professorships. This includes a $1.2 million gift from the Swogger Foundation honoring Glenn Swogger Sr., who graduated from Baker in 1915, to establish the Swogger Foundation Humanities Professorship and the Primary Texts Endowment Fund to help Baker students develop their critical analysis skills and enhance Baker’s liberal arts foundation.

“The Swogger family’s gift has allowed the faculty to dream big,” said Dr. Joanne Janssen, associate professor of English and Swogger Chair of Primary Texts. “Often, as professors, we must downsize our big ideas to fit available time and resources. This gift, however, allows us to pursue unique educational experiences for students. Endowed professorships create lasting legacies for our generous donors, support innovation programming, and open up pathways for new possibilities in teaching and learning.”


During the campaign, $9.5 million was raised for scholarships. Grace Duddy, a junior studying elementary education and psychology, has received several scholarships.  

“My ability to participate fully in the Baker community and establish myself as a leader and advocate is due solely to the generous scholarships I’ve received,” Duddy said. “The lack of financial burden on myself and my family is what made it possible to be here. Since tuition is not a stressor, I’m able to focus on what I’m truly passionate about and give back to campus.”

Student Experiences

The student experiences priority focused on making study abroad available to more students and technology upgrades; $3.9 million was raised. 

Capital Projects

The campaign raised $7.7 million for capital projects. One of these projects is phase I of the Athletic Capital Cornerstone Project, which will be completed this summer. Contributions to the project include a $2.12 million paramount gift from Ross, ’70, and Christine Hartley and a $1 million grant from the Sunderland Foundation.

“It’s no secret that our Baker athletic teams are fierce competitors.  Now our athletic facilities will match the caliber of athleticism that our student-athletes put in every day,” said Gary Sollars, a 1972 graduate and cochair of the Forever Orange campaign.

Donors Honored With Pinnacle Awards

During the gala, Pinnacle Awards, which honor donors who have given $1 million or more to the Forever Orange campaign, were announced. Recipients were Martha “Marty” Mather, ’49; Everett Mealman, ’51; Gene, ’51, and Greta Chubb; Dr. Joanne Morrison Howard, ’62, and the Howard Family; Dr. Glenn Swogger Jr. and the Swogger Foundation; Jack Reid; Joseph E. Lake, ’41; and Ross and Christine Hartley.

More than 350 people attended the gala. Corporate sponsors included BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Baldwin State Bank, Integrated Wealth Solutions, Lathrop GPM, BKD CPAs & Advisors, American Digital Security, PCC, Bank of the Midwest, MB2 Sports, incite Design Studio, and DS Bus Lines.

The Forever Orange committee cochairs were Murray, ’69, and Diane,’70, Blackwelder and Gary, ’71, and Connie, ’72, Sollars.

Forever Orange balloon and light backdrop.

View the photo gallery from the Forever Orange Gala.

The Baker community got together on campus to celebrate the end of the Forever Orange campaign. Check it out!

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