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Gordon E. Baker ’48

A picture of Gordon Baker

Gordon Edward Baker ’48, January 13, 2004, in Santa Barbara, California. Gordon served in the U.S. Army in Belgium from 1943 to 1946, receiving several medals for valor, before completing a BA in political science at Reed. In 1949 he received an MA from the University of Washington, did postgraduate work at Brown University, and then earned a PhD from Princeton in 1952. From 1952 until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1993, Gordon taught political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Following retirement, he was recalled seven times to teach courses at UCSB. Gordon was considered instrumental in the growth that made Santa Barbara Teachers College a major research facility, and was a revered department chair from 1965 to 1971. He was described as a caring, optimistic, and gentle man who had an incredible outreach to students and colleagues, and who found joy and remembrance in life’s details. A favorite quotation was, "The teachers you seek: Truth, Wisdom, and Strength, they are all within you." Gordon published a number of studies, primarily on the subject of representation and apportionment, including Rural Versus Urban Political Power: The Nature and Consequences of Unbalanced Representation (1955), The Reapportionment Revolution: Representation, Political Power, and the Supreme Court (1966), and coauthored Free Government in the Making: Readings in American Political Thought (1985). His research was supported by the Guggenheim Foundation, the Social Science Research, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he was a member of the council and executive committee of the American Political Science Association. In 1947 he married June L. Sharpe ’49, "who for better or worse, urged me to give graduate study a try," Gordon noted, and they enjoyed life with their two children and travel. Survivors include June, a daughter, and a sister. His son predeceased him.

Appeared in Reed magazine: May 2004

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