Trustee and alumna endows scholarship with major gift

As a first-generation college student, Chris Baker G’88 of Burlington, North Carolina, understands the importance of providing scholarships for Elon students.

Once fully funded, the Christine Baker Elon Engagement Scholarship will provide financial assistance to two students each year. The scholarship includes a one-time grant for each student to participate in the Elon Experiences (global study, internships, undergraduate research, service learning or leadership) or a creative project designed by the student.

Baker said she was excited to broaden access to an Elon education through scholarships—one of the university’s top priorities.

“I have been blessed in my life, and I feel it’s up to me to give back and help those who need it,” Baker said. “Elon’s focus on scholarships will pay big dividends for the university and for society in the future.”

A retired banker and CPA, Baker serves as an adjunct instructor in finance in Elon’s Martha and Spencer Love School of Business and was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2003. She is a 1988 graduate of Elon’s MBA program and a recipient of the university’s Distinguished Alumna of the Year award.

As the first person in her family to attend college, Baker understands firsthand the challenges of paying for higher education. She visited Elon during her college search but was unable to apply due to costs. Her father served in the Air Force for 20 years while her mother stayed at home to raise Baker and her two siblings.

“My parents wanted me to have the opportunities they never had,” said Baker, who received her undergraduate degree in accounting from North Carolina State University. “They valued education and that was one of the things they passed on to me.”

The Elon Engagement Scholarship is designed to attract students who are eager to embrace the university’s nationally recognized engaged learning programs, which inspire students to think boldly and learn more about themselves and how they can leave their mark on the world. Engagement Scholarships are a powerful tool in Elon’s recruitment strategy because they enable admitted students to enroll at Elon as their first-choice school.

That priority resonated with Baker who supports attracting students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

“I strongly believe we need diversity at Elon, including socio-economic diversity,” she said. “Elon is definitely a good value, but it is still expensive, and there are more students who need our help. These students are going to make a difference in the world. They are our future leaders.”

Baker also believes Elon is a great value.

“When you look at the total package—the small classes, the engaged learning programs and the personal attention students receive—there is a strong return on investment and something for everyone at Elon,” she said. “I love the direction that Elon is going in. It’s a nationally recognized university, and I’m very proud to be an alum.”