Depts make party plans

In order to make Baker University’s 150th birthday more memorable, several academic departments have made preliminary plans to give some of their traditions an extra celebratory twist.

Adjunct Instructor of English Marti Mihalyi has helped plan the Baker reading series for the coming academic year with the 150th anniversary in mind. Mihalyi said when the department was deciding on writers to bring in for the event, it looked for those who “would be most interesting to the students and community at large.”

“All departments were asked to contribute something special,” Mihalyi said. “We saw this as the best type of event we could offer. It involves a greater number of people than some of the other things we could have done.”

From the many names the department had to choose from, two authors were picked for the 150th celebration, both of whom have ties to Baker. The first presenter, poet Donald Levering, is a Baker alumnus. The second is Laura Moriarty, who has made presentations several times at Baker regarding her work in fiction writing.

Mihalyi said she hoped the coming year would enhance what the academic department has already done with the series.

“I think the fact that the second year of the Baker Reading Series falls on the 150th will help it in terms of visibility,” Mihalyi said. “I hope to gain a broader and ongoing audience … in terms of student and faculty. I hope it will be something students and faculty will look forward to year after year.”

Associate Professor of Education Merrie Skaggs said the education department is planning on developing its usual events and activities with an emphasis on the number 150.

Skaags also said attempts are being made to try to bring teacher and writer Erin Gruwell to speak at Baker. Gruwell’s book “Freedom Writers” was recently made into a major motion picture. The idea came after someone suggested that Gruwell’s ties with education, her story of changing the lives of 150 students, and Baker’s 150th year would be a great emphasis on Baker’s academic tradition.

“The whole 150th thing is too perfect,” Skaggs said. “We were just hoping that a lecture by her would be a pivotal thing.”

Vice President for Marketing Annette Galluzzi said at first it was difficult for departments and organizations to think of ideas for celebrating 150. She said in the last few months, however, the response has “really turned around.”

“I feel really good about the variety of things we have to offer,” Galluzzi said. “Some will be serious and some will be fun. Some will be education, and (others) will be just pure celebratory.”

Senior Hans Broers, who interned with Baker’s marketing department, said he thinks the 150th anniversary is a big deal and is something to celebrate.

“I think that everything is going to be tailored to fit the 150th,” Broers said. “There will be exciting and informative and fun things to do. They will be the same types of things we’re accustomed to but kind of beefed up.”