Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2006

Long likes look at Baker

March 2, 2006

Two down, one more candidate to go for Baker University as it searches for its next president after Dan Lambert retires this year.

Patricia Long, executive vice chancellor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, was the second candidate to visit Baker. Long spent all day Tuesday meeting and greeting university faculty and students.

"It's been a great day," Long said. "I have had a wonderful time. I met with a lot of faculty, staff and students. I have gotten to know this campus really well. It's just been a great day."

Long said she was familiar with the Baker campus, after visiting it a few times prior to Tuesday.

"I'm local, so I know the campus," Long said. "I'm from Lenexa and I work at UMKC. My husband and I drove out here several times as we thought about whether to apply or not. I knew the campus a little bit, but I have gotten to know it a lot better today. It's a great campus and great university."

Tuesday also provided great weather as it was sunny and the temperature reached the mid 70s, which Long enjoyed.

"They (Baker) told me that they did this just for me and that it's always like this at Baker," Long said. "I said you might be able to say that to the other people, but not to me, because I am local. I know the weather here."

After meeting with different groups and various people, Long thought highly of the university and its campus.

"It's a beautiful campus," Long said. "It also has great people here. There is such a commitment to Baker and the history.

"I thought it was a really good day of learning and meeting with faculty, staff and students," Long said. "When you choose your next president, it's just as important for the them to know the campus as the campus to know the president. I feel like that's what it's been about today."

She also liked what she saw in Baldwin City, because of its growth.

"It looks like it is a growing town," Long said. "I always love to see a small town growing and continuing to develop. That's what it looks like to me."

The position of president at Baker has several aspects that intrigue Long.

"When I started looking at the next level of presidency, there were several criteria I had," Long said. "One, I wanted a smaller school. I wanted a faith-based institution. I wanted one in a small area."

"Baker has quality programs, a good trustee relationship and a good budget," Long said. "It's a great opportunity and I think it's the right time in my career to start thinking about it."

Long is currently in her sixth year at UMKC. Before working there, Long spent 17 years employed at Johnson County Community College. She held several positions there, but her last was the dean of student services.

She grew up in Wheatland, Mo., a small town near Bolivar, Mo. She attended Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, where she graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics.

Then she went to Central Missouri State University to get her master's degree. She received her doctorate at the University of Kansas.

The first candidate Baker brought in was Roger Sorochty, vice president for enrollment and student services at the University of Tulsa. Sorochty toured Baker on Feb. 20.

The final candidate, Troy VanAken, will visit Friday. Baker University hopes to make an announcement by May on who will be filling Lambert's position after 19 years at the helm.

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