Lou Ann Baker Retires After 18 Years in GSE

Posted: April 25, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Elena Barbre

When Lou Ann Baker joined the staff of George Mason University in 1982, the Graduate School of Education (GSE) was called the College of Professional Studies, and it housed the departments of nursing, health, and physical education as well as the department of education, for both graduate and undergraduate students. A lot has changed since then, but Baker has remained a constant. She retires on April 30 after 18 years of service in the education school, the last 10 as the dean’s confidential secretary.

Her first job under then-Dean Larry Bowen was to work with undergraduate students and take care of their various academic problems before referring them to the assistant dean. Three deans followed Bowen, and she now works under acting Dean Martin Ford, but has also facilitated the transition of new GSE Dean Jeff Gorrell, who starts the day after she leaves. “So I laughingly say I’ve worked for six deans,” she says.

The field of education is near and dear to Baker’s heart. She earned her B.S. in business with a minor in education from Abilene Christian University, and got her teaching certificate, but then married, moved overseas, and started a family before she got to use it. She says what she enjoys most about her job is the interaction with students, faculty members, and her coworkers. “I’m a people person,” she says. “I like anticipating people’s needs, and I get joy from helping others. There’s some good in everybody, and I work on pulling that out of them. I make that my goal.”

Baker’s plans after retirement? Spending more quality time with her four grandchildren, who with their families all live within a four-mile radius of her house. “My grandchildren will say, ‘Nana, can we spend the night tonight?’ or ‘Can we go to the playground tomorrow?’ I’ve always had to say no because I had to go to work the next day. But now I’ll be able to say yes.”

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