Dr Warren J. BakerPresident Emeritus, California Polytechnic State University, USA
Warren J. Baker was named to the role of university president of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1979, the youngest campus president in CSU history. He served with distinction in that role until his retirement, July 31, 2010.
Baker oversaw the upgrade and expansion of the campus by nearly $1 billion to support the university’s learn-by-doing approach, thanks to investment from a variety of public and private sources. He guided the creation of a new campus master plan that increased academic year enrollment and year-round instruction and expanded campus education and housing facilities. His leadership was instrumental in the development of the university by increasing the breadth of academic programs with the additions of 20 majors, 72 minors and 15 master’s degree programs and by stewarding the university’s athletic programs to Division I status, while preserving the athletic program’s strong emphasis on student academic achievement and success. He made it a priority to develop the university’s fundraising prowess and succeeded in building the largest endowment among the CSU’s 23 campuses. In 2004 he received the Chief Executive Leadership Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE, Far Western Region). In the process he raised the awareness of the university to a nationally recognized level, and U.S. News and World Report have ranked Cal Poly the best public masters university in the West for the past 18 years.
On behalf of the CSU, President Baker has led a range of information-technology initiatives. For five years he chaired the system-wide Commission on Learning Resources and Instructional Technology and he also served diligently for over a decade on the CSU Technology Steering Committee.
President Baker also made significant contributions to education policy on the national scene: President Ronald Reagan appointed Baker to serve for nine years on the National Science Board. Reagan also appointed him to the USAID Board for International Food and Agricultural Development. He is a former member of the Business Higher Education Forum where he co-chaired the BHEF STEM initiative with William Swanson, CEO for Raytheon. He also works to advance STEM policy through service on the boards of the U.S. Mexico Science Foundation, MESA and the California Council on Science and Technology. He was recently elected Chair of the Board of Directors for the California Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Learning Network (CSLN).