Archive for Thursday, March 9, 2006

Long to lead Baker

March 9, 2006

Baker University found its replacement for President Dan Lambert, as it announced its next leader at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Patricia Long, a vice chancellor at University of Missouri-Kansas City, was chosen as the next president at Baker.

"I am honored, humbled and blessed to be standing here and say that I will be the 28th president of this great university," Long said. "This is one of those special times in a person's life that you are able to see a dream come true."

Bob Honse, search committee chair, introduced Long, the first female president at Baker in the school's148 year history, at the press conference.

"This is a very historic day for Baker and something that hasn't happened for 19 years," Honse said. "I am humbled to be here. We started with 54 applicants and narrowed it down to one."

Long will take over the helm July 1, succeeding Lambert, who will retire after 19 years as president.

"It's a big job to fill," Long said. "I have known about Dan Lambert and his leadership for years. He is like an icon. Trying to fill his shoes is almost impossible. It will take the effort of everyone in this room to come close to doing that."

Lambert gave Long a few words of advice about the job she will be taking.

"It's nice to be known as an icon and not an antique," Lambert said. "There are a few things you must know. We are orange people here and you won't see a kangaroo anywhere in sight."

Baker sophomore Brooke Brutto, a student on the search committee, said Long was by far the perfect fit for Baker.

"She will bring energy and a passion for the students," Brutto said. "Not that Dr. Lambert didn't have that, but she will continue the same process that we had. She fits the community so well, which I think is really important."

Long said when she first looked into the Baker president job, she and her husband, Dennis, thought Baker offered exactly what they wanted.

"It had every ingredient we were looking for in a place to call our next home," Long said. "It's a faith-based institution, this size and in a place like Baldwin City. It also has a great support system."

She also really enjoyed her visit to the campus and meeting the faculty, staff and students. She said everyone made Baker feel like a very special university.

"After those two days, especially on campus, I hungered to be part of this institution as well," Long said. "To be able to come here, feels like we are coming home. We are excited about being in Baldwin City and being a part of Baker University."

Brutto thought Long fit the university when she met her Feb. 28.

"I saw the way she was communicating with me and my peers," Brutto said. "I realized this was something that came natural for her."

Long thanked many people at the press conference. She thanked several members of her family, colleagues, friends, many people from Baker and the search committee.

"I want to thank the search committee," Long said. "That's a hard job to do. They were very kind, but they were tough. They asked a lot of probing questions, because they wanted the right person at the right time for Baker. I am so grateful that they have chosen me."

She hopes to keep Baker's legacy that Lambert has left, while continuing to make the university a better place.

"I feel blessed and I ask that God continue to bless this university," Long said. "With all of your help, we can move Baker on, continue the great legacy that Dan has left us and move into the next 150 years."

One of her first objectives as president will be to get to know the school much better.

"My primary goal is to get to know Baker," Long said. "As the president, I need to tell the Baker story from the Baker eyes."

Long, who has been an administrator at UMKC since 2000, helped drive a $200 million capital campaign toward completion. She also developed the university's first marketing plan and first enrollment management plan.

In her career, Long has led the design process, funding acquisition and construction of three new facilities.

Long began her higher education career in 1983 with Johnson County Community College, where she was promoted to assistant dean of student enrollment services and eventually dean of student services from 1995-2000.

During her 17 years at JCCC, Long was involved professionally throughout the state and region in promoting student and athletic issues, consulting on collaborative projects and actively partnering with other colleges and universities.

From 1974 to 1981, Long worked for the Kansas City (Mo.) School District. She was an instructor for four years before being head teacher for an adult basic education program.

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.

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