Baker’s Lambert to step aside
Following the 2005-2006 academic year, Baker University will be under new leadership as President Dan Lambert announced his retirement on Friday.
Lambert will finish out next year's school year for his 19th year as president of the university. Lambert said the decision has been in the process for a while now.
"I had had to plan well ahead here and have looked at options over the last three or four years," Lambert said. "There are several reasons for that. One is my age and another is I feel it is time for Baker to be under new leadership."
The impact of Lambert's announcement was felt throughout the university. Faculty Senate Chair Darcy Russell said the news came to her with mixed feelings.
"It's mixed emotions, because he deserves a fabulous retirement, but on the other hand we are in the process of raising money for a new science building," Russell said. "I am a science person, so there is a little selfishness there. He is great at fundraising and great with people."
The Rev. Ira DeSpain also felt the news, but he saw it coming.
"I was not surprised, because me along with a couple others knew his tie with us was shorter rather than longer," DeSpain said. "I have a great deal of gratitude for him and what he has done for the university."
Lambert said he has enjoyed his tenure at Baker.
"This has been the best part of my professional career, and Carolyn will agree with that," Lambert said. "This hasn't just been a job for us, it' been home."
Lambert said he credits his wife Carolyn for donating much of her time to the university, despite a lot of her work being behind the scenes.
"Most people who know both of us would fully understand Carolyn has an ability to care deeply," Lambert said. "What she has done has been reasonably invisible, and that's the way we wanted it. I always admire her ability to speak directly to people."
One thing Lambert will miss when he retires is being a part of the 150th anniversary in 2008.
"That's going to be a wonderful time for the school," Lambert said. "It was one thing I considered when making my decision. I would have loved to have served as President during that time. I am going to miss that a great deal."
During Lambert's time at Baker, the university founded the School of Professional Graduate Studies in Overland Park in 1988 and the School of Nursing in Topeka in 1991.
There have also been renovations to buildings on the university's main campus. Parmenter Hall, Case Hall, Mulvane Hall, Collins Library, Harter Union and Mabee Hall all saw improvements during Lambert's tenure.
Lambert also helped in bringing the Osborne Chapel from Sproxton, England to Baldwin City in 1996.
As Baker begins its search for a new president, DeSpain hopes the university will keep one thing in mind.
"I hope as the search goes on for a new president, they will find someone that will continue to honor the university ministry," DeSpain said.
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