Remembering Dr. Ronald J. Baker OC

December 15, 2020

By Dr. Sandra Djwa

Dr Ronald J. Baker OC, died on the 12th of December. He was Director of Academic Planning for Simon Fraser University and the founding Head of the English Department, 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 fifties.

As a member of the UBC English Department, he was seconded to the President’s Office to assist with 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 the video at the top of the post, 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.