Dr. Jon Baker Memorial Scholarship
Jon Baker was born Nov. 22, 1939, the older of two boys in a small country community called Lilton, seven miles west of Shaw, Mississippi. Both of his parents were school teachers and administrators. His home was a teacherage on the school campus and thus he was exposed to all phases of school experiences until he finished high school.
He loved to hunt and fish with his dad, whom he lost at a very early age, and whose death necessitated his working summers to finance his education. He was employed by the U.S Forest Service where he earned the money to pay for 100 percent of his undergraduate expenses. This work experience eventually lead to his majoring in forestry. He earned a B.S. degree from Mississippi State University in May 1961. He immediately entered the Forest Service and was sent to Oregon where he stayed for seven years.
Baker married a Mississippi girl and to this union two girls were born, Tammy and Cindi. During his time in the west he dreamed of higher education and how he might work with and help young people as an adviser and counselor. He returned to Mississippi to obtain his master’s degree in guidance and psychology at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi.
He transferred to east Texas State University in Commerce, Texas, to complete his education and obtain a Ph.D. in guidance. For a year, he interned at Dallas Mental Health and Mental Retardation Clinic, completing a variety of duties for a minimum of 16 hours per week under the supervision of a psychologist and psychiatrist. He completed his doctoral degree in one year — the shortest period of time for a doctorate in the history of the university.
Working with young people, he became affiliated with the Anchorage Community College (ACC) as a psychologist and counselor. As such, he served in many capacities, such as testing and screening students. He analyzed their needs and concerns. He developed a five-year follow up survey of ACC graduates to assist in determining future needs and goals of those who followed. He became dean of student service from September 1972 to 1977. He implemented a general student orientation program and an academic advisory system. He coordinated and developed a career information center. He submitted and supervised federal grants and aided the students in career planning. He was doing what he loved.
“Dr. Jon,” as he was affectionately called, was a licensed psychologist in the state of Alaska. He was a primary incorporator and founder of Anchorage Mental Health Clinic. He was past president of the board of directors and served on the board for seven years. He was appointed by the governor to the Board of Psychologists and the State Board of Drug Abuse, and during the last two years of his life he served as chairman of the State Board of Drug Abuse.
Baker became very deeply involved in the drug abuse program for it concerned so many young people in Alaska. He was never too busy, nor was the hour ever too late to answer the call of a young person with suicidal thoughts or high on drugs or alcohol. He believed in them and wanted to help. This he did quite often.
Baker passed away in 1980.