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About the Center


As a center of activity that contributes significantly to the quality of campus life, the John Calhoun Baker University Center takes pride in being an attractive, functional, socially vibrant, welcoming gathering place for all Ohio University students, faculty, staff, and guests of the University.

To this end, the Ohio University Event Services staff exists to provide event solutions for all university constituents. Excellence will be achieved through proactive customer solutions, consistent policies, focus on student development and revenue generation within an atmosphere of open communication, accountability and fiscal responsibility.


John Calhoun BakerNamed for Ohio’s 14th President John Calhoun Baker, the Center opened in January, 2007. It replaced the original Baker University Center which was located on the northwest corner of E. Union St. and College St. (across from the College Green). The building provides facilities, programs, services and amenities that serve the University community, the Athens community and visitors. It is operated by the Division of Student Affairs.


Baker University Center is named in honor of John Calhoun Baker, the fourteenth president of Ohio University, who served from 1945 through 1961. Dr. Baker was educated at Juniata College and Harvard University. Under his guidance regional campuses were created and an extensive Nigerian educational program was established. Many new programs, scholarships and committees were established. The Ohio University Fund (now Foundation) was established to foster private giving and the John C. Baker Fund to support faculty improvement and research efforts. During his tenure, numerous buildings, including most of the residence halls, were built. Upon retirement he continued to pursue his interests in educational business and international affairs. In 1995 he returned to the campus for a gala celebration of his 100th birthday. He died in 1999.

Old Baker CenterBaker University Center was completed in 1953. The Georgian Revival building contained six floors, with an eight lane bowling center, game room, ball room, 1804 lounge, and 1954 lounge. It also had a dining room and many administrative offices.  Initially, the top two floors of the building served as residence hall space.  Later the residence hall section of the building was renovated to provide additional meeting and office space.  The former Baker University Center opened in 1954, when student enrollment totaled 5,200.

When the center was proposed in 1946, students agreed to an assessment of five dollars each quarter to help fund the project. The faculty, impressed by the students’ dedication, agreed to the same levy.

Upon the opening of the new Baker University Center in 2007 (construction began in March 2004), the former building was allocated to the Scripps College of Communication to allow for its expansion.  The new Baker was re-dedicated to Dr. Baker as part of a grand opening celebration on February 10, 2007.

Awards and Recognition

Since its opening in January of 2007, Baker University Center has been the recipient of several industry awards and has earned praise from those in higher education, facility design and more. Below you will find links to Ohio University's recognition of these awards and more information about all the ways Baker Center enhances the Ohio University experience.
(4/28/08) The Association of College Unions International named Baker University Center the 2008 Facility Design Award winner. Read more..

(1/10/08) Learning By Design, an annual guide to architectural services and achievements for educational facilities, has awarded Baker Center grand-prize honors at the college/university level in its 2008 Education Facilities Design Award contest. Read more..

(5/3/07) The International Masonry Institute awarded Baker University Center two Golden Trowel Awards, including its grand prize as best project in Ohio. Read more..

Design and Construction

The Center was designed by Moody/Nolan of Columbus, Ohio and WTW Architects of Pittsburgh, PA. It was constructed by Smoot Construction of Columbus, Ohio.

constructionThe Center features Georgian-style architecture and expansive windows throughout the 183,000 sq. ft. building that offer spectacular views of campus and allow a great deal of natural light to enter. In contrast to the exterior's rich red brick, distinctive white columns and accents, the interior has a more contemporary feel. The interior features high ceilings, ergonomic furniture and a color scheme of sage, plum and mocha to create an inviting, casual atmosphere.

The "Main Street effect" is something planners prepared for from the start – by incorporating an escalator system to carry people through the atrium that cuts through the building and connects the upper and lower portions of the campus. This design feature earned the facility mention in a 2006 Association of College Unions International book as a best practice.

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