Baker Hall, completed in 1936 as a men's dormitory, was named for one of the original members of the State Board of Education. George Titus Baker was a devoted member of the Board from its inception in 1909 until his death on December 13, 1940. He served as president of the Board from July 1, 1925, until October 4, 1940.
Born in Iowa County, Iowa, Baker studied civil engineering at the University of Iowa and Cornell University. After graduating, he moved to Davenport, Iowa, and made a name for himself in his profession. In addition to his work on the Board, Baker served Iowa as mayor of Davenport, as head of the city's park system, and as a representative of Scott County in the Iowa General Assembly. In the General Assembly he was influential in passing the millage tax which helped to produce funds for the construction of many of the buildings on the east side of the UNI campus.
Baker conducted board meetings in a business-like manner, with a minimum of partisan politics. He was ill and unable to attend three board meetings prior to his resignation on October 4, 1940. He died December 13, 1940, at the age of 83. At its next meeting, the board adopted the following resolution: "Of his service and worth as a citizen it is difficult to speak adequately. He lived up to the highest ideals of citizenship. If anyone deserves to be called an ideal citizen, George T. Baker deserves to be thus designated."
Compiled by Library Assistant Susan Witthoft and Maranda Connop; edited by University Archivist Gerald L. Peterson, January 1996; December 2002; last updated January 28, 2015 (GP).