Chartered in 1892, Baldwin State Bank is the oldest continuously operating business in Baldwin City, and from the beginning, the bank has been a generous supporter and partner of Baker University.
“The community benefits from having such an excellent educational opportunity right here at home and from recreational and cultural opportunities that most small communities don’t have access to.”Bryan Butell, president of Baldwin State Bank
The Butell family’s connection to Baker and to the bank has endured for 100 years. Bryan’s grandparents are Baker graduates: Carl Butell, 1922, and Mary Leona (Chastain) Butell, 1926. His grandfather began working at the bank in 1922 before becoming president. His father, Carl A. Butell, worked at the bank for 44 years before retiring as president in 2008.
“My father has always been a strong supporter of Baker University—with a consistent commitment to Baker and Baldwin City,” said Bryan, who has been employed at the bank since 1998, first as a teller, cashier, and loan officer before taking over as the president in 2014.
Over the years, the support from Baldwin State Bank has reached nearly every aspect of the university’s operations. The bank regularly supports the Baker Fund and is an annual sponsor of the Wildcat Classic Golf Tournament. Contributions to the Emergency Relief Fund made an immediate impact in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Proceeds from each swipe of a bank customer’s Baker University affinity debit card flow regularly into the scholarship fund.
While Bryan values all Baker projects the bank supports, two have resonated with him—the renovated sports facilities completed this spring as part of the Athletic Capital Cornerstone Project and a decade earlier the transformation of the Ivan L. Boyd Center for Collaborative Science Education and Ross and Christine Hartley Hall.
“I’ve gotten a close-up view of the athletic facility renovations as the baseball stadium is in my back yard,” he said of the first phase of the project. “It looks fantastic, and the future phases look intriguing as well. I remember the first time I drove down Sixth Street after the Boyd Center was completed and it was lit up at night. I was blown away. I really love the iconic look of that building. I think that project gave the campus a modern classic building that will stand the test of time.”
Bryan is looking forward to a continued partnership with Baker for years to come because of the economic impact the university has as the community’s largest employer and driver of tourism.
“Baker is central to the commerce of Baldwin City. Many businesses here benefit from the patronage of students, faculty, and visitors. And to top it off, Baker’s campus is beautiful, and the university has a rich history. We are fortunate to be one of 30 or so communities in Kansas that host a four-year university. It’s so important to support Baker however we can.”
Written by Steve Rottinghaus, '14 MSM