Longtime Baker benefactors make major gift to capital project

The Hartleys

Ross, ’70, and Christine Hartley have a passion for supporting higher education in Kansas. Although the couple retired to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, their Kansas roots run deep. Both grew up in Baxter Springs, Kansas. Ross earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Baker University in 1970 and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Kansas in 1974. Christine earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1973 and a Master of Science in Nursing in 1986 from the University of Kansas. The Hartley’s philanthropic support of education, health care, libraries, and student services has had a meaningful impact across the state.

“We value the education we received and the role it played in shaping our lives. We are thankful to be in a position to help the next generation of nurses, educators, lawyers, and scientists. For us, the gift is in the giving.”

Christine Hartley

In addition to making significant contributions to capital projects at Baker—the 2003 Collins Library renovation and the 2011 Ivan L. Boyd Center for Collaborative Science Education project—they also founded the first endowed nursing professorship at the University of Kansas School of Nursing, the Christine A. Hartley Centennial Professorship in Nursing.

As part of the Forever Orange comprehensive campaign, the Hartleys made a $2.12 million paramount gift to phase 1 of the athletic capital cornerstone project.

“It is our hope that the university will be able to leverage this gift to gain additional support for the $4 million phase 1 project,” Ross said.

“We are thankful to the Hartleys for their continued generosity to Baker University. Time and again they have stepped up, and their support of higher education has enriched the college experience for countless students. I know their enthusiasm for this project will lead others to see the positive impact it will have on Baker students.”

President Lynne Murray

The three-phase capital cornerstone project is estimated at over $17 million and includes improvements to some of the most used facilities and fields on campus. As the number of student-athletes has grown substantially over the years, infrastructure has not kept up, leading to strain on the practice and competition spaces. This has resulted in late-night practice times in overscheduled facilities and difficulty scheduling events in buildings and stadiums that serve multiple teams, intramurals, and other university events.

“Although we have not given to an athletic project before, this particular project was appealing because we could see how funding it would be instrumental in supporting the large number of student-athletes at Baker,” Ross said. “These students are dedicated not only to their sports, but they also are leaders in the classroom and in student-run organizations across campus. We saw this opportunity to make a direct positive impact on their academic success.”