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Baird Tipson
Washington College President, 2004-2010

26th President of Washington College

Baird Tipson, Washington College's 26th president and a scholar of American religious and intellectual history, is now in his fourth year at the helm of the first college founded in the new nation.

Throughout his career in higher education as a teacher, scholar, administrator and fundraiser, he has demonstrated a passion for the liberal arts. Prior to his arrival in Chestertown in July 2004, Baird served for nine years as president of Wittenberg University and for eight years was provost at Gettysburg College.

At Washington College, Baird set out to transform the campus's facilities into those befitting a first-rate academic institution. Guided by the strategic plan he finalized during his first year in Chestertown, Baird is overseeing a $50 million investment in the College's physical plant. Devoted to the arts, he championed the $26 million expansion/renovation of the College's performing arts center slated for completion in Spring 2009. He also joined a national movement of university and college presidents committed to reducing the carbon footprint of their institutions; new residence halls and the new student center/dining facility now under construction all employ geothermal mechanical systems. Also during his tenure, the John Toll Science Center was dedicated, Roy Kirby, Jr. Stadium was constructed, and several landscape initiatives have been launched.

Baird is equally committed to enhancing the national visibility of the school. He pushed for the long-overdue recognition of Phi Beta Kappa and became a charter member of the College's new PBK chapter in 2007. He is also working to bring greater diversity to campus and to forge stronger community ties. In 2006, he helped to establish the Vincent Hynson '87 Scholarship, which covers college expenses for local students from underrepresented populations. Under his direction, Washington College has also recast its alumni operations, establishing the President's Leadership Council and channeling additional resources to alumni programming.

Baird earned his Ph.D. in religious studies at Yale University. As an undergraduate he majored in religion and history at Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He also studied at Phillips Universitat in Germany and has been a Rockefeller Dissertation Fellow, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and a Fulbright-Hays Fellow.

Baird currently serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, is vice chair on the board of the Maryland Independent College and University Association, is a member of the Presidents Council of the NCAA Division III Centennial Conference, and is vice chair of the executive committee for the Independent College Fund of Maryland. He serves on the boards of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, the Midshore Community Foundation, St. Martin�s Ministries, and the Hodson Scholarship Foundation, and is a Governing Council member of the Wye Faculty Seminar.


  • A.B, Princeton University, 1965
  • Ph.D., Yale University, 1972

Campus Event Appearances

Look for Baird in these event photos.