For over two decades Lehigh has been innovating on entrepreneurial education and action.
As a part-time student in Lehigh University's MBA program in 1957, Dexter Baker was challenged by one of his professors to think outside the box when crafting his thesis. Baker used the opportunity to create a plan for his employer, the gas and chemical supplier Air Products, to enter the overseas market. A few months and a degree later, Mr. Baker and his family were aboard the Queen Mary en route to London, where he would establish the company's first international division. Mr. Baker, who joined Air Products in 1952, was chairman of the board and CEO of the Allentown-based company when he retired in 1992.
In 2010, Mr. Baker empowered current and future Lehigh students in all disciplines to spark their creativity and challenge the status quo, through the establishment of the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity & Innovation.
"Asa Packer was an entrepreneur who conceived a new transportation service and moved products from the Lehigh Valley all over the world," Mr. Baker said of Lehigh's founder. "I want Lehigh graduates to be vaccinated with the spirit of Asa Packer and chart their own course so they don't have to doggedly follow in the footsteps of others, but can be the lead dog themselves. I believe in it. I am a product of it."
Mr. Baker earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at Lehigh in 1950 and his MBA in 1957. In 1981, Lehigh awarded him an honorary doctorate of engineering degree.
Mr. Baker served as a Trustee Emeritus of the Lehigh University Board of Trustees and as chairman of visiting committees for mechanical engineering, chemical engineering and music. Along with his wife, Dorothy, he also established the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Gifted Arts Scholarship Program for students in the performing arts. The Bakers also served as co-chairs of the $33 million capital campaign for the Zoellner Arts Center and made a generous contribution to name Baker Hall.
Dexter Baker passed away on Nov. 1, 2012. In 2014, the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation gave a $5 million gift to Lehigh to establish a fund to support Baker Institute initiatives in perpetuity. Here is the Journey we've been on...
Invitation to Innovate: First annual campus-wide student competition
MBA VENTUREseries begins
Wilbur Powerhouse opens to provide space for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship curriculum is established
The Joan F. and John M. Thalheimer ’55 Entrepreneurship Ventures Endowed Program Fund becomes first endowment fund established to support student for entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship minor is
Farrington Award established
Thalheimer EUREKA! Awards established
Entrepreneurship Initiative is envisioned by Provost Mohamed El-Aasser
Entrepreneurship Initiative is Proposed to University
Entrepreneurship courses triple and enrollment increases 5x
The Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity & Innovation is established to promote creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship to all students in all disciplines and as a platform for students starting ventures.
First cohort completes Master's Degree in Technical Entrepreneurship
LaunchBayC established as part of Mountaintop Initiative
Thalheimer Endowement Expands & EUREKA! Grand Prize is established
The Baker Institute develops culture around entrepreneurial mindset and immersive programs
Entrepreneur Magazine names Lehigh University as having "#2 hands-on entrepreneurship program in US"
The Office of Creative Inquiry is established
Lehigh@NasdaqCenter is established on the west coast
Hatchery Student Idea Accelerator launches as full-time summer opportunity following LaunchBayC
Global Entrepreneurial Fellowship (GEF) is launched to connect students to internships with international startups
Baker Institute announces Mindset and Venture Fellowships
The Thalheimer Enterprise Alliance is established to provide resources to student venture founders as they prepare to launch and scale.
Mentorship program is created as part of EUREKA! Venture Program
Inaugural cohort of students completes Baker Fellowship in Entrepreneurship, Creativity Innovation
Entrepreneurship courses normalized on campus with 12 faculty across 10 undergraduate courses in addition to minor & concentration
Lehigh Ventures Lab will launch...