Dawn Baker, administrative assistant of the communications department for the last seven years, retired this week on February 19.
Baker has been a Griffon since 1998. She graduated in 2006 with a degree in history and a minor in technical communications, which she utilized in her future jobs. Baker even worked on The Griffon News, creating Griffon Media’s first website in 2003.
Baker was a well-loved part of the communications department, known for going above and beyond her job description. Griffon Media Director Zoe Jones spoke on how she will be missed.
“It’s hard to describe what all she does, because she’s literally the heart of our department,” Jones said. “If we need something to be done, we go to Dawn. If we need help with classes or let into rooms, she’s there for everything. She helps all the students and professors.”
Baker herself admitted that her job has always been more than just greeting guests and making class schedules (which is a hard enough job as is).
“I’ve always viewed my main job here as a good will advisor/ambassador for the department. It kind of fits my personality. I like to Mother Hen all of you guys!” Baker said.
With her last 23 years spent at Missouri Western, Baker has always adored being a Griffon.
“There’s something about this place that’s always pulled me. I love the learning, the classes-- I’d sit in them if I could,” Baker said. “A big part of it for me is the type of students we have here. A lot are first generation and I find over and over again they are hard working and have goals. The best part of the job, hands down, is staying in contact with students. That is what I will miss most.”
Students and faculty will certainly miss her as well. Dr. Shawna Harris, department chair, reminisced on the lunches they ate together and her lovely attitude.
“What Dawn brings the most is a positive spirit. She has a liveliness to her that everyone is going to miss. We’re going to miss her stories, her presence, her smile. She’s so willing to give to the students and faculty. That’s going to be the deepest hole,” Harris said.
While it might take Baker a while to adjust to retirement life, she said she’s excited to spend more time with her grandchildren and garden. She also has a personal project she created with a friend, a Facebook page called “Women of a Certain Attitude,” dedicated to celebrating life and embracing happiness wherever you are. The page has nearly 400 likes and spreads positivity and love.
“A big ray of sunshine, a helpful hand, a heart of gold… I don’t have enough words to describe her,” Jones said. “We are really going to miss her. She’s such a great spirit to have around.”