Dr. Scott Baird Named Benedictine College Educator of the Year

Friday, May 01, 2015

Benedictine College has announced that the 2015 Distinguished Educator of the Year is Dr. Scott Baird, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The award, which is the highest honor a faculty member at the college can receive, has been given for more than 30 years.  Baird was nominated for the distinction by Benedictine College students, faculty and staff.

“I appreciate my colleagues who supported my nomination, and I appreciate the administration who also supported it,” said Baird. “And considering student support as well, if there is a consensus among all the constituencies of the college, then it is even more meaningful.”

Baird has taught at the college for 30 years after starting off in visiting assistant professor positions at Clemson University and Michigan State University. He joined the Benedictine College faculty shortly after the Astronomy major was instituted. He taught the very first Astronomy major her upper level classes and thus has literally taught every student who ever graduated with a degree in Astronomy from Benedictine College. He will retire at the end of the academic year.

“I’ve enjoyed my 30 years at Benedictine College,” he said. “And I’m pleased that they have given me emeritus status. So I’ll still be around to help the new astronomer if he needs it, and I could even teach a course or two if they needed me to do that.”

Baird has elicited rave reviews from his peers as well as students.

“It has been an honor to have worked with Scott for these 30 years,” said Dr. Doug Brothers, longtime chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “No one I have known has been so conscientious in every aspect of his teaching, large and small, as Scott has been. He is a person of the highest integrity. He is academically demanding and is revered by our students for his knowledge and the obvious concern he shows for their education.”

“Dr. Baird embodies the liberal arts spirit of this college better than any science professor I've had,” said Joe Rioux, a senior computer science major. “He is very interested in inter-disciplinary discussion, understanding the strengths and limits of his own and others' areas of study, and in seeing the bigger picture.”

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report for the past four years as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by the Newman Guide and First Things magazine.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.