Patty and Jay H. Baker W’56, longtime University benefactors, presented the Wharton School with a $15 million gift this October. It will permanently finance the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center, an interdisciplinary research center established in 2002 through another generous donation by the couple, and allow for significant expansion. The expanded offerings will include new programs for both graduate and undergraduate students, industry and academic research opportunities, and new proposals for retail-sector outreach.
“Very few schools offer a degree in retailing,” said Jay Baker, a member of the Wharton board of overseers and the retired president and director of Kohl’s Corporation. But according to Wharton Dean Thomas S. Robertson, “The Baker Center offers an increasingly important and popular career choice for both our MBAs and undergraduates.”
The Bakers’ previous donations to Penn have endowed the Patty and Jay H. Baker Forum in Jon M. Huntsman Hall as well as the Baker Leadership Endowed Scholarship, one of the largest supports of undergraduate financial aid. Other gifts include the Patty and Jay H. Baker Professorship, the Patty and Jay H. Baker Ph.D. Fellowship, and the Jay H. Baker 50th Reunion Scholarship.
“Jay and Patty Baker are treasured members of the Penn community,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Their generous commitment allows the Baker Center to continue to draw on expertise from across the University to generate leading-edge knowledge with important practical applications for retail, which is a dynamic and incredibly important sector of the economy, both in the United States and across the world.”