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Baker Receives Clarkson University's Top Alumni Honor
Kenneth R. Baker of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., has received the Golden Knight Award from his alma mater, Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. Presented each year during Reunion Weekend, Clarkson's most prestigious alumni award is given to alumni who have distinguished themselves either by service to Clarkson through Alumni Association activities or have demonstrated outstanding career achievement, bringing distinction to themselves and to Clarkson
Baker is currently vice chairman and chief operating officer of Energy Conversion Devices, Inc., a company which is a leader in the synthesis of new materials and the development of advanced production technology and innovative products.
Baker began what would become a 30-year career with General Motors after graduating from Clarkson with a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1969. He advanced rapidly through a number of increasingly responsible positions in the engineering and research areas before becoming director of Advanced Vehicle Engineering in 1985. He subsequently served as director, Vehicle Engineering-GMCPC Group, director of the Service Technology Group, and in 1990 was appointed program manager for the GM Electric Vehicles Program. In that position, he directed the development and launch of the General Motors EV-1 electric vehicle. During this period, he also served as chairman of the United States Advanced Battery Consortia and chairman of the Electric Transportation Coalition.
In 1993, Baker was named vice president for General Motors Research and Development. In this position, he was credited with transforming one of the world's largest technology research organizations to re-orient the research and development goals to focus on customer solutions and commercial value.
Baker has served in many civic and professional capacities such as the Advisory Board of the University of Michigan College of Engineering and the Cranburke Institute of Science and is co-chair of the management board of Sunrayce. A. D. Little has recognized him as one of the top twenty-five R&D leaders in the world, and the City of Los Angeles recognized him for outstanding engineering contributions to the environment.
Despite his many career accomplishments, Baker has always found time to serve Clarkson. A member of the Clarkson Roundtable, Baker has been a member of the Clarkson University Engineering Advisory Council, and has just completed one term as an alumni elected-trustee. During his tenure as a trustee, Baker has been responsible for attracting significant support for the University from General Motors, which led to such programs at Clarkson like the Student Projects in Engineering Experience and Design (SPEED), and was instrumental in promoting the move of the Engineering School from the Clarkson campus downtown, to the hill.
Clarkson University is an independent institution located in northern New York, in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. The University has 2,670 graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in its schools of Business, Engineering, Science, and Liberal Arts, and its Interdisciplinary Engineering and Management program.