News

Baker-Vagt Scholarship Makes the Davidson Dream a Reality

by Davidson College

In August, five more names will be added to the list of Baker-Vagt Scholars at Davidson College. A part of The Davidson Trust, the Baker-Vagt scholarship program was established by Ted Baker '57, his wife Ann, and Davidson's 16th president, Robert F. "Bobby" Vagt '69, and his wife, Ruth Anne, to provide assistance to students for whom a Davidson education would not otherwise be financially feasible.

Four Davidson students have benefitted from the scholarship- Daniel Councell '12, David Schermbeck '13, Courtney Rufh '15, and Alexis Kaminski '16-and Baker looks forward to adding to this list. In 2012, President Carol Quillen announced a $25 million gift from Baker to further enhance the program.

"When I arrived at Davidson in 2011, I was moved by the overwhelming generosity and commitment of our alumni," said President Carol Quillen. "Whether a person is able to give $25 or $25 million, the deep connection our alumni feel to each other and to this institution is unsurpassed. Ted Baker's philanthropy has improved so many lives, and I know these five students will be changed for the better by their time at Davidson. We look forward to welcoming them to campus in the fall, and we cannot express to Ted and Bobby how grateful we all are for their seemingly tireless commitment to creating opportunities for others."

The Baker-Vagt Scholarship is a prestigious and significant award that recognizes students with financial need who exhibit leadership skills, academic excellence, outstanding personal qualities proven through school and community activities, and a strong demonstrated work ethic.

"It is exciting to welcome such outstanding students to campus as the newest Baker-Vagt scholarship recipients," said Baker. "My years at Davidson were transformational, and I enjoy learning about the experiences of Davidson students today. It is an exceptional place, and I am happy to be a part of this scholarship program, in particular. The Davidson Trust makes Davidson even more special."

This fall, the following students will add "Baker-Vagt Scholar" to their list of accomplishments.

  • Christina Brown from Washington, DC
  • Sarah Holmes from Ruffin, NC
  • Samantha Lastres from Tampa, FL
  • Gavin Scallon from Sandy Hook, CT
  • Malaika Simmons from Silver Spring, MD

"Davidson has always been one of my top school choices, and now that I have been awarded this scholarship, I'm able to realize my dreams without putting such a financial burden on my family," said Lastres. "I am so grateful to have been awarded the Baker-Vagt Scholarship, and I'm beyond excited to attend Davidson in the fall. This scholarship has given me such an amazing opportunity, and I plan to take full advantage of everything Davidson has to offer. I think the small, liberal arts school is a perfect fit for me."

"I was very honored, and surprised, to have been chosen by those at Davidson to receive the Baker-Vagt Scholarship," said Scallon. "It is a validation of my hard work in high school, but it is also a starting point from which I can achieve success in the coming years. The scholarship has made a Davidson education very affordable, and it reflects everything I've experienced at the school, from the friendly students to the caring faculty to the hardworking admission staff. I couldn't be happier about being chosen for this award, and I can't wait to start in August."

Ted Baker is one of Davidson's most active and well-known alumni. A member of the Board of Trustees from 1989 to 2005, Baker also served for 12 years on the Board of Visitors and on the Presidential Search Committee that brought President Bobby Vagt to Davidson in 1997. Baker chaired the Let Learning Be Cherished campaign that raised a record $272 million to strengthen the college. He was a charter member of the Ne Ultra Society, Davidson's leadership giving society, when it was established in 1972, and he helped lead the fundraising efforts for the Baker Sports Complex.

He meets regularly with the Baker-Vagt Scholars and with the students who hold the scholarship named for Thompson S. and Sarah B. Baker. His significant involvement and love for Davidson runs in the family as six generations of Bakers have attended Davidson. Baker received an honorary degree from Davidson in 2007.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.

For more information contact Danielle Strickland, Director of Advancement Communications, at 704-894-3101 or dastrickland@davidson.edu.

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Captions:

(l-r) President Bobby Vagt offered a hand of thanks to Ted Baker during a Board of Trustee dinner that celebrated Baker's service on the board.

Also at the Board of Trustees dinner honoring Ted Baker, trustee Mitzi Short expressed her appreciation with an embrace.