George Pierce Baker Hall opened as a residence facility for participants in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education programs in 1970. Designed by Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott, the six-story, 72,800-square-foot building provides 165 single rooms with private baths, arranged in multi-unit suites with common areas. Residential life is an integral aspect of the learning experience at HBS, and Baker’s layout and amenities encourage intellectual and social engagement beyond the classroom. Suite assignments maximize the opportunity for residents to study collaboratively with peers from diverse industries, companies, and countries. Baker’s rooms are equipped with the latest multi-media tools and wireless Internet access. Located on the northeast corner of the HBS campus, Baker Hall is part of a complex of residential, administrative, and classroom facilities dedicated to Executive Education.
George Pierce Baker (1903 - 1995) was the fifth Dean of Harvard Business School and an international authority on transportation. He served on the HBS faculty for 38 years, including his term as Dean from 1962 to 1970. A successful fund-raiser who doubled the School’s endowment and added 22 new endowed professorships, Dean Baker provided skilled leadership during an era of widespread economic and social change.
Baker was a graduate of Harvard College, where he earned his bachelors, masters and PHD. He taught economics at Harvard College from 1928 until 1936, when he joined the HBS faculty. He served in the Army during World War II, and throughout his Harvard career, held a variety of influential government and corporate positions.
Milestones during Baker’s tenure as Dean included the reorganization of the faculty along updated subject areas, revisions in the MBA Program to give more weight to emerging fields of knowledge, the broadening of financial aid, the admission of women as full participants in the MBA Program, changes in admissions and recruiting to attract a more diverse student body, retooling of the Advanced Management Program (AMP), an increase in international activities, and the establishment of a joint JD / MBA degree in collaboration with Harvard Law School.
While Baker was Dean, funds were raised for the construction of five new buildings, including the facility that would bear his name. In 1965, Baker said, “We are committed to a continuing search for ways to make the Harvard Business School an increasingly valuable partner to business.” He believed a “modern environment” was needed to strengthen the School’s leadership in executive education. Along with newly constructed Executive Education classroom facilities in the nearby McCollum Center, Baker Hall created that environment, as well as the capacity to offer executive programs between AMP sessions.
Along with Baker, legendary HBS alumni Albert Gordon (MBA 1925) and Marvin Bower (MBA 1930) were instrumental in coordinating donations from 112 corporations to fund Baker Hall’s construction. The decision to name the building for Dean Baker was made by Harvard University’s Governing Boards in recognition of the key role he played in expanding the School’s campus.
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Harvard Business School
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