Our network of students, faculty and alumni is inclusive, diverse and dedicated to the the three pillars on which Baker is built: entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.
The Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity & Innovation is Lehigh University's premier organization dedicated to the advancement of entrepreneurial education for the entire University community. In the course of an average year, our programming reaches thousands of students and alumni from South Mountain to Silicon Valley.
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.
The members of our Advisory Council represent hundreds of years of combined experience in a wide variety of businesses. We rely on them heavily for counsel, inspiration and wisdom. We are grateful for the time and devotion they offer to the Baker Institute and to the University community in general.