Archive for Wednesday, February 16, 2000

Hall Family Foundation gift supports Baker library

February 16, 2000

A $396,000 gift to Baker University from the Hall Family Foundation of Kansas City will support an innovative program in critical thinking, as well as provide for state-of-theart technology in the university's soon-to-be renovated library.

This is the largest gift to the university from the Hall Family Foundation, which began its support of Baker programs in 1990 and has given more than $800,000 in the past 10 years.

Baker President Daniel Lambert said the Hall Family Foundation's support of the university's programs and initiatives demonstrates the quality of the educational experience at Baker.

"The Foundation is known for its insistence on quality," Lambert said. "Its continued support is most encouraging and is a strong indicator of the strength of the university's core curriculum."

The latest Hall Family Foundation gift includes $246,000 for the Critical Thinking and Liberal Arts program, which integrates instruction in critical thinking and intensive writing with the study of primary texts. Coupled with a senior-level capstone course in which students research a public policy issue and write and defend a position paper, the coursework forms the foundation for the liberal arts undergraduate experience.

John Laney, vice president of the Hall Family Foundation, said the foundation supports Baker's Critical Thinking program because it is innovative and has a strong future.

"The very heart of general education is to be able to read and think critically and to use those skills," Laney said. "Baker's program is an innovative approach and there has been enough analysis to demonstrate the program is better at Baker than at other institutions. The foundation has continued to support the program because it has great promise."

The program is directed by Donald Hatcher, professor of philosophy, who has published many books and articles about critical thinking. Baker's Critical Thinking and Liberal Arts program was developed with the help of grants from the United State Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education. FIPSE makes grants to a small number of innovative programs nationwide.

The remainder of the Foundation gift is earmarked for technology in the library, which is currently in the planning stage. In December, Lambert announced that Baker would raise $6 million to transform Collins Library into a state-of-the-art learning resource center.

Plans for the facility include an emphasis on technology and small-group learning as well as enlarging the building. The facility will expand by more than 14,000 square feet and add high-technology classrooms and resource areas. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2001.

The Hall Family Foundation has provided gifts for the university's capital improvement projects in the past. In 1990, the Foundation contributed $50,000 to help restore Baker's Parmenter Hall, one of the first college buildings in Kansas.

Mr. Joyce Hall, the founder of the company that is now Hallmark Cards, and his wife, the former Elizabeth Ann Dilday, established the foundation to aid and strengthen the Kansas City area. The Hall Family Foundation seeks to promote programs that enrich the community, help people and encourage excellence.

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