John Baker was hired as a counselor in 1971. He was one of the Pioneer Faculty at the temporary Serra Campus off Washington Boulevard in Fremont. On a shoestring budget and in rented facilities, John and several of his colleagues established a vibrant program of student services, which set the standard for the services offered to this day. He was also directly involved in planning for the move to the permanent Fremont Campus on Mission Boulevard, especially the implementation of the student services and counseling areas. John’s leadership abilities led to his selection as Division Director for Counseling.
During his 20 years at Ohlone, John demonstrated a strong commitment to the community college mission. He was a passionate student advocate and particularly dedicated to providing access for underserved populations.
Having come out of the priesthood, John says, “It was neat to land in an old convent of sorts to begin my community college career. What a sandbox it was… short in resources, beautiful in sitting and an oasis of hope and possibility for students and community. We were good!”
While at Ohlone College, John served on the Fremont City Recreation Commission for 7 years and served on the Fremont City Council and a term as Vice Mayor of Fremont. He was on the Board of the Association of California Community College Administrators for 10 years, State President of the California Community College Counselors Association, and on the instructional commission of the League of California Community Colleges. He served on the staff of the Great Teachers Seminar for many years and chaired several bond measure campaigns for the Fremont Unified School District.
John was married to Vicki Baker(deceased) and they were parents to Stan, Jeff and Jami. They were active members of St. James Episcopal Church where John served a stint as interim Rector.
After leaving Ohlone in 1992, John went on to fill leadership positions at seven different community colleges. Although retired from his community college career, John continues to work on community building working with undocumented families who live in constant fear. He shares with us, “My oar is small, but when enjoined with the oars of others, the boat moves swiftly for justice and equity.”