Michael Baring-Gould Scholarship
Michael Baring-Gould was born in Scotland and was raised in California. He came to Alaska in 1972 to work at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Baring-Gould studied in Mexico and Costa Rica before earning a Ph.D. in rural sociology from Cornell University. At UAA, his curly red hair and freckled face were a familiar sight on campus.
Baring-Gould became a member of Alaskans Concerned About Latin America in the early 1980s. He traveled to Nicaragua as a member of the Alaska Witness for Peace delegation. “He was tremendously sensitive to individuals and to groups of people,” said Kim McGee, local coordinator for Witness for Peace. “He was very concerned with the suffering of the people in Central America and worked toward promoting understanding between us and the people of Central America.”
Baring-Gould, who taught sociology for 14 years at UAA, died July 26, 1986, after a boating accident in Alaska’s Cook Inlet. “He just loved the sea. He loved being on the water,” said Robert Heasley, a longtime friend of Baring-Gould’s. Heasley said it was Baring-Gould who inspired him to continue his studies in sociology. “My experience, and that of many students who were my peers at the time, was that he was extremely well thought of person who devoted a tremendous amount of time to the individualism of the education process… he was an extremely gentle man — open and warm.”
At the time of his death, Baring-Gould was also a board member of the Alaska Public Interest Research Group. UAA’s dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, William Keppler, said, “I do not know of a professor who was more committed to students…I know of no one who did not like Michael Baring-Gould.”