Peggy Harris announces retirement plans


Story by Mykaela Cross, Assistant Editor

Baker University is no stranger to retirement during the 2013-14 academic year. Amid the retirements of University President Pat Long, Minister to the University Ira DeSpain, and former Director of Health Services Ruth Sarna, the university is also saying goodbye to Peggy Harris, vice president and dean of the School of Education.

“I had been a teacher and I loved working with students. I always saw myself as being a college professor, so my decision to work as an administrator took me a little by surprise,” Harris said.

Harris has been a part of Baker for 30 years. She said she gives the School of Education her “well wishes for us to continue being a strong department.” Harris’ reason behind her retirement lies in her desire to become a “better g-ma.” She sets her sights toward a future filled with family.

“We just plan to be more involved with family,” Harris said. “We don’t get as much free time anymore and few of my relatives live in Baldwin.”

Harris’ favorite memory at Baker dates back to the 1980s.

“I attended the national championship game, where Baker competed to be national champions in football,” Harris said. “The sense of excitement, purpose and success was just so exciting.”

Harris admits that she will miss all of the people at Baker, both students and teachers alike.

“Baker has been our home for so long,” Harris said.

Many in the School of Education are sad to see Harris go.

“I told her she could not retire,” Assistant Professor of Education Charlsie Prosser said. “She actually signed my diploma. I feel like there’s so much I could learn from her. It’s a loss for us, but a gain for her family.”

One of the things Prosser will remember the most about Harris is her firm belief in learning her students’ names as quickly as possible.

Prosser’s favorite memory with Harris is actually a running joke in the department and is also what Tonya Simms, School of Education departmental assistant, will remember the most about Harris.

“I would say what I will remember most is her handwriting,” Simms said. Prosser and Simms both laughed when they brought up the subject.

“When she leaves memos, it’s always fun trying to figure out what they say,” Prosser said.

Harris’ handwriting isn’t the only thing Simms will miss about the professor.

“I’ve already told her how much I will miss her,” Simms said. “I don’t think she knows just how much of an impact she’s made on me as a person and as a friend.”

Although she is leaving Baker, Harris was happy to leave a message to students.

“Baker is a wonderful place,” Harris said. “Good people come to Baker and do great things.”