October 12, 1999
Volume 46
Number 7

$11 Million Baker Gift: A Wharton Academic Center and Undergraduate Aid


 Jay and Patty Baker


Alumnus Jay H. Baker, president of Kohl's Corporation, and his wife, Patty, have made an $11 million gift to Penn that will establish a new center at the Wharton School along with an endowed scholarship program open to undergraduates throughout the University.

President Judith Rodin said the gift from the Bakers will support the construction of an undergraduate center, which will be named The Jay H. Baker Forum, and endow The Baker Leadership Scholars Program, providing financial support to undergraduates throughout Penn.

The two-story Jay H. Baker Forum will be located at the center of Huntsman Hall, adjacent to undergraduate computer labs, group workstations and study spaces. It is the largest single space in the building and the first and only Wharton facility large enough to accommodate an entire undergraduate class--up to 500 people--indoors.

The Bakers' scholarship commitment, representing $3 million of the total, is among the largest ever made to the University in support of undergraduate student financial aid.

"This magnificent gift will significantly enhance our facilities at the Wharton School, providing a focal point for undergraduate life and activities," Dr. Rodin said. "It also will provide invaluable assistance to the best, most talented students so they can attend Penn regardless of their families' financial resources."

Both facilities and increased financial support for undergraduates are among the priorities identified in Agenda for Excellence. Since July 1, 1996, more than $566 million has been raised in support of Agenda items.

The Baker Leadership Scholars Program will provide financial support to undergraduate students who have demonstrated high achievement in academic, artistic or athletic pursuits, or the ability to rise above adversity, but are unable to meet the cost of education at Penn. A total of twelve Baker Leadership Scholarships will be awarded each academic year. Three initial Baker Scholars will be chosen from the Class of 2004.

"We are extremely grateful to Jay and Patty," Dr. Rodin said. "Their collective vision and commitment to the University of Pennsylvania will make an enormous difference in the lives of future generations of our students."

Mr. Baker, a 1956 Wharton graduate, has been president for more than a decade of Kohl's, the Wisconsin-based specialty department store, that, during his tenure, became known one of the most well-managed chains in America. He will retire as president of Kohl's at the end of 1999, but will continue to serve on its board of directors. Mrs. Baker, who was graduated summa cum laude from Hunter College in New York City, holds a degree in theatre and art history. Together they have made major contributions to the arts and other insitutions in Milwaukee, and have established the Pat and Jay Baker Foundation to support charities.

An Invitation to the Penn Community,

Thursday, October 21, 1999

7:30 p.m.

Zellerbach Theater,

Annenberg Center for the

Performing Arts


Using chemistry as a metaphor, this special tribute to Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, will be an evening of humor, music, dance and song featuring many of Penn's outstanding student performers. The show is free to the Penn community but tickets are required. [more here].

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 7, October 12, 1999