Everett Moore Baker was born in 1901 and graduated from Phillips Academy, Exeter, in 1920. He gradated from Dartmouth College in 1924 before entering the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. He became an associate at Mount Vernon church, where his primary role was to work with students.
After he moved into the Herrick House, which was owned by Mount Vernon as housing for male students, the members of the house were inspired to follow him in the service of the church, and they became a family with Dean Baker at their head. For four years, he directed the Mount Vernon Young Peoples Society, and it was during his time there that Dean Baker met his wife, Heather McDonald, with whom he had two sons.
Dean Baker had amazing skills as an administrator. He could inspire people to have confidence in not only him, but also in each other. He easily resolved situations that were laden with human tension and as such, he helped to foster group solidarity and lead extremists towards agreement.
In 1947, he became Dean of Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he used all of these gifts. He attended to all Institute affairs, and he infused meaning into everything on which he worked. With impressive grace and respect, he listened to students and helped them solve their problems.
Dean Baker was tragically killed in a plane crash in 1950 after representing International Student service in Mumbai, India. He was there to promote cultural understanding and mutual goodwill, two things that the Baker Foundation still strives to encourage and sponsor today.
“He was an apostle of a world that might be; and even to the last, a warrior for all that is best in the world that is.” – From an editorial from the Boston Globe, commenting on Dean Baker’s death
Speeches by Dean Everett Moore Baker
Dean Baker, who was also a preacher and pastor, was well known for his dignity, decorum and ability to make sincere public addresses. Excerpts from a few of his addresses can be found below.
Address at the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, New York City, December 29, 1947
Education for tomorrow must serve three purposes. It must create in the student a high sense of responsibility, a cooperative spirit and a deep feeling for the ideals of a free democracy. Essential to the fulfillment of these purposes is a sense of belonging: — a student to his college or university, a citizen to his town, stat or nation and to his world. The human being who does not feel that he belongs to something bigger than himself cannot be a participating member of a free and democratic world.
Baccalaureate Address at Dartmouth College June 12, 1949
The great purpose of education is to help young men and women to become self reliant, responsible citizens in a cooperative community. I am not at all sure that self-reliance and responsibility can be taught in the same sense that physics and history can be taught. Initiative, imagination, cooperation and responsibility can, however, be learned, given the environment of the academic community. He who spends four years in the presence of such an opportunity and does not learn to carry his citizen responsibilities, to cooperate with his fellow men in the maintenance of the commonweal, and to strive constantly for freedom under law, has failed in his proper education. … There are two suggestions I could make to you as you mark the transition from learning to doing –from receiving to giving – from less to greater responsibility. The first is that in your thoughts and in your actions you shall be radical. By that I mean no more nor less than the true meaning of the word. I once heard a judge of the Superior Court of one of our great mid-western states say that he wanted to be known as a radical – not a liberal, not a conservative, but as a radical — because he wanted always to be recognized as one who sought the roots of all problems — the roots of the issues of his time. He wanted to develop his opinions upon an understanding of basic and fundamental factors. He wanted to cut through the emotional over layers which so often hide the truth, he wanted to be able to dig beneath the prejudices and stereotype opinions of other men and discover root causes.
Address at the Annual Meeting of the Phillips Exeter Academy Alumni Association, at the School, May 27, 1950
“…Schools like Exeter–and the colleges and universities of our country–have three purposes:
1. To educate at varying levels of maturity young [men and women] for the responsibilities of living in the world of their future.
2. To educate these same young [men and women] for all the responsibilities of making a living in the world of their future.
3. To mold the world of our future by the enthusing of young [men and women] with ideas and ideals, and patterns of thought and habits of conduct, measured to increase individual and group responsibility, strengthen cooperative endeavor, and develop integrity, develop feelings of community, and enlarge the opportunities for freedom…”