Bakers named Ada's Distinguished Citizens
Ohio Northern President Kendall Baker and First Lady Toby Baker named Ada Citizens of the Year
Ohio Northern University President Kendall L. Baker and First Lady Toby Baker were named Ada’s Citizens of the Year at the 45th annual Town and Gown Banquet Monday, Nov. 1.
In presenting the awards, William Robinson, executive assistant to the president, said, “Ken and Toby Baker have been an integral part of our community for the past 11 years. The stature of our University and community has grown immensely during this time.
“They have, during their tenure, contributed in every way to further our town and the University,” Robinson said. “They have contributed in ways that guarantee our future. These past 10 years have been as glorious as any in our history – for all of us and much as a result of Ken and Toby Baker.”
Robinson continued that the Bakers are a very dynamic duo, which has made the success and growth of Ohio Northern and Ada one and the same. “Their personalities light up a room, and their warm, good-natured spirit have illuminated many events.”
In addition to their leadership, Robinson spoke of the Bakers opening the doors of the University to residents of the village during the 2005 ice storm, and how the Bakers spearheaded an effort to provide food for firemen battling an apartment fire.
“With borrowed generators, the campus was opened to the community (in 2005),” Robinson said. "Free meals and a warm environment were offered to all of the Ada community. I know this gesture was all Ken Baker. Ken and Toby were front and center welcoming all.”
Dr. Baker, who will retire from the University in July 2011, said that he and Toby were surprised by the honor. “We couldn’t be more honored. You all welcomed us to this community, and for 12 incredible years, we have been a part of this family and this community. This is the greatest honor we have received since we made Ada our home over the past 12 years.”
Toby Baker echoed her husband’s sentiments. “Ada is the best place to live. It is an honor and a privilege to call this place home,” she said.
The Town and Gown Association was established in 1957 by a group of townspeople and University personnel whose primary interest was to develop and maintain a strong and positive relationship between the village and the university.
In the second year of its existence in 1958, the Association decided to sponsor an annual banquet at which time an individual was to be honored as the Distinguished Citizen of the Year. That tradition continues and is considered the high point of the evening’s program.