Archive for Thursday, August 16, 2007

Students to portray historical Baker characters

August 16, 2007

Baker University's rich history will come to life throughout its sesquicentennial celebration and students will play a major role.

Students will portray nine characters from Baker's past at selected events. Brenda Day, university archivist, and Bruce Woodruff, associate professor of theater, led a class last year in which the students researched and developed a cast of Baker characters.

"The students will be at several functions during the year, depending on their schedule," Day said. "We plan to have them at the Maple Leaf Festival and at various university events. Some local schools have expressed an interest in having the characters perform at their place."

The students will present an oral history and provide a short visual presentation about the character's time at Baker.

The list of characters consist of: Warren Ault, Rhodes Scholar in 1907; Helen Streeter, a Baker student in the 1940s who witnessed the burning of Taylor Hall; Lizzie Keifer, a student who kept a detailed journal in the 1860s; Haddie Osbourne, first curator of the Quayle Bible Collection; Deborah Aronson, Baker's first black cheerleader in 1970s; Bishop William Alfred Quayle, Baker president in the 1890s; William Charles Bauer, who created the physics department in the 1890s and wired Baldwin City for electrical service; Bishop Osmon Baker, a Methodist minister and the namesake of the university.

"Lizzie Keifer is a wonderful character," Day said. "She had an opinion on just about everyone."

The students first performed the historical characters earlier this week at the School of Nursing student assembly and social in Topeka.

"The students have been excited about the project and are especially interested in the customs and clothes worn in the late 1800s," Day said. "We also want them to get into the mindset of their era by knowing the music and events from then."

Day has been busy checking eBay and visiting antique stores collecting items for the presentations.

Because of his reputation as an accomplished speaker, Bishop Quayle should be one of the more popular characters at the presentations, Day said.

"Bishop Quayle was well-known," Day said. "He is what we termed as someone who was very nicely collegiately rumpled."

To reserve the historical characters for an event, contact Day at (785) 594-8380 or

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