More than 40 years after arriving at the University of Maryland, Andy Baer ’80 says his most valuable educational moments didn’t happen in front of a blackboard. “It was often those things that were not on your standard curriculum that were the most valuable,” says Baer, including his involvement in the Student Government Association.
Andy Baer ’80
Hoping to encourage MBA students to pursue experiential learning, Baer has given $250,000 to establish the Baer Family Endowed Award, which will be given annually starting in May to an individual or group for participation in non-classroom learning opportunities.
Baer, who received an MBA from Cornell and recently retired from a career in the telecommunications industry, was inspired to create the award after seeing similar awards bestowed at his niece’s college graduation. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have some kind of program that would recognize both students for accomplishments and alumni for making the contribution to allow that to happen?’” says Baer.
The Baer Family Endowed Award will be announced each May. Awardees, chosen by the dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business, will receive between $5,000 and $10,000 to support their participation in national case competitions and other extracurricular experiences that may require travel or other expenses.
“Andy’s generosity is inspiring to the entire Smith School community,” says Dean Alexander J. Triantis. “The Baer Family Endowed Award will be a really meaningful enhancement to what we are trying to do for our MBA students, and consistent with our focus on providing students with exciting opportunities to learn outside of the classroom.”
The Smith School hopes that the award will nurture a broad range of student interests. As for Baer, who intends in his retirement to start a nonprofit helping people make financial plans for their post-work life, he’s eager to “see who wins the awards.”