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William '58 & Ann Velde Baker '60

We Are Knox...

William '58 & Ann Velde Baker '60

Founders of the Baker-Velde Student Research Fund

"We are all products of our past.

My research experience started at Knox, with the encouragement of Dr.
George Ward. I asked Dr. Ward, 'What is the effect of hormones in our food
upon our reproduction?' My question led to an experiment involving fruit
flies and then two types of mice -- the usual white lab mice, and grey mice trapped from the plentiful George Davis Hall population.

What did I prove? Not a thing. But Dr. Ward provided me with the opportunity to pose a research question and challenged me to find the answer. Looking back, it wasn't the research that was paramount, but the process. As an academic vascular surgeon, I have seen young men and women become better physicians utilizing this process, asking questions, thinking in-depth about patients and their illnesses. Facts can be acquired at any institution, even on the computer. But a Knox education teaches you to always ask why and to acquire the methods needed to answer your questions.

My wife and I enjoyed Knox and were fortunate to have great professional and family lives. When we felt it was time to give back, we established the Baker-Velde Student Research Fund, named to honor our fathers. My father, Dr. Baker, was a urologist in Chicago and a recipient of a Knox Alumni Achievement Award. Ann's father, Mr. Velde, was a noted attorney in Mason County, Illinois, who was active in local civic affairs, especially the Optimists Club. Both were avid Knox supporters.

Ann and I have established the Baker-Velde Student Research Fund to provide students the opportunity to pose questions, conduct research, and find their own answers . . . in short, to become critical thinkers in the Knox tradition."