Baker retires after 29 years of dedication to Modern Languages Department

Lynn Klavetter

Lynn Klavetter

The Modern Language Department will not be the same after this semester. Department Head Phil Baker has decided to retire after working at SDSU for 29 years. He spent most of his time as a professor of Spanish until his last four years as department head.

Baker has contributed to the university in many ways.

“I am proud of the success of the Modern Language Department throughout the many years of its existence since I have been here, including my experiences as adviser to the International Relations Club, President of the Modern Language Association and American Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese for several years and originator (with his wife Winnie) of the Festival of Cultures,” Baker said.

Last year, Baker and his wife were awarded the Butler Human Rights Award form the city of Brookings.

“We were awarded it mostly for our work with the international students, refugees and new immigrants. We have worked mainly through U.S. Friends, of which I am co-president with my wife Winnie. U.S. Friends is an organization that helps visitors, foreign students and their spouses adjust to life in Brookings,” Baker said.

Baker already has plans for how he will spend his time once retired.

“Right now, I will complete some projects that I have not been able to finish, continue working with local organizations at the university and volunteer work in general,” Baker said.

He is excited about having more flexibility in his days.

“I am looking forward to having my own schedule and controlling my own time,” he said.

Baker said he will miss learning along with his students, colleagues and staff, but he will not miss the paperwork.

“The interaction that I have been fortunate to have with faculty and students has broadened my perspective throughout the many years I have been here,” he said.

Baker has a positive view of SDSU’s future.

“SDSU is a wonderful institution with a bright future, and I’ve been proud to be associated with it these many years.”