Dr. Baker was appointed acting president of Washington & Jefferson College following the death of Dr. Black. He was elected sixth president of the College on January 26, 1922, and inaugurated March 29. He was born in Amwell Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania, on July 11, 1866. His great-great-grandfather, Dr. Thaddeus Dod, was founder of the academy that became Washington College. Dr. Baker graduated from Washington & Jefferson College in 1892 and received his Master's degree in 1912. In 1922 the degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred on him by the University of Pittsburgh.
"During his administration the physical plant of the College was almost completely renovated and modernized, improved business methods were introduced, considerable sums were added to endowment, and advances were made in the organization of academic work." --Alumni Bulletin, November 1932.
It was also under his administration that the student body held a strike on March 18, 1931. The students staged a walkout and there was a general exodus from class. Apparently the student body felt President Baker was autocratic. They accused him of an "unfriendly attitude toward the student body as individuals." -Red & Black, March 26, 1931. He defended himself saying it was a misunderstanding and not intentional. Dr. Baker had plans for a building program to include a Moffat Memorial building, a chemistry building and a stadium, and said he would retire after the completion of the building program. However, he resigned April 23, 1931, stating reasons of health and the good of the College. The Board of Trustees officially accepted his resignation on May 13, 1931. In spite of the circumstances surrounding his resignation, it was with great sadness that the College community learned of his suicide on October 10, 1932, at the age of 67.
Photograph courtesy of Observer Publishing Company.