An engineer and businessman, Dexter Baker, along with his wife, Dorothy, has helped sustain the cultural life at Lehigh and in the Lehigh Valley.
Dexter Baker earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering in 1950, and his M.B.A. from Lehigh in 1957. In 1981, the university awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Engineering degree. Baker joined Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., in Allentown, a producer of cryogenic equipment, industrial gases and other chemicals, cutting and welding equipment, in 1952. He was named president and chief operating officer in 1978 and became chairman of the board and chief executive officer in 1986. He retired in 1992.
Baker was a Trustee Emeriti of the Board of Trustees and served as chairman of visiting committees for Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Music. The Bakers established the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Gifted Arts Scholarship Program in performing arts for students in performing arts and helped raise funds for several campaigns and departments. The Bakers were co-chairs of the $33 million capital campaign for the Zoellner Arts Center and made a generous contribution to name Baker Hall. In 2010, the Bakers established the Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation at Lehigh.
Dottie Baker has sung in and for numerous organizations in the Lehigh Valley area, including the Bach Choir. She is active on the Boards of the Community Music School in Allentown as well as the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra. She has also served on the Board of Muhlenberg College. The Baker Foundation supports merit scholarships in the arts at Lehigh University, as well as several other area schools and colleges.
Dexter Baker passed away on November 1, 2012, but his legacy at Lehigh University will live on.