Remembering Dr. Ronald J. Baker OC

December 15, 2020

Dr. Ronald J. Baker OC, passed away on December 12, 2020. He was Director of Academic Planning for Simon Fraser University and the founding head of the Department of English, hiring most of the full-time English faculty members between 1964 and 1968. Born in London, England in 1924, he served as a navigator in the Royal Air Force. After the war he emigrated to Canada, and took Honours English at UBC, earning a BA and an MA in the 1950s.

As a member of the UBC Department of English, he was seconded to the President’s Office to assist with the MacDonald Report on Higher Education in British Columbia and a Plan for the Future (1963) that set out guidelines for the establishing of new educational institutions designed to meet the future needs of British Columbia students. Subsequently he was called upon by the SFU Chancellor, Dr. Gordon Shrum, to help set up a new “instant university”, where Baker took pride in initiating a semester system. He left SFU in 1969 to successfully develop a second new university, the University of Prince Edward Island, where he remained President until his retirement in 1978.

Note: In this video, Dr. Baker speaks about the creation of SFU. This video was a presentation of the SFU Retirees Association and was filmed on April 16, 2013.