History of Baker College

History of Baker College

Within a few years on either side of the turn of the twentieth century, two proprietary institutions of higher education were founded, sharing a common mission—to provide students with the skills needed for employment in the great industries of their times. In 1965, after half a century of separate but parallel existence, the two institutions came together under a single management group headed by Robert Jewell of Muskegon.

The organization has flourished and is now known as the Baker College System, the largest non-profit, independent college in Michigan, with over 35,000 students in more than 150 programs at nine campuses and an online college. Throughout the years Baker College has maintained its original mission: to provide quality higher education and training which enable graduates to be successful throughout challenging and rewarding careers. Following are some highlights in the history of the Baker College System:


1888  Woodbridge Ferris founded Muskegon College.

1911  Eldon E. Baker founded Baker Business University.

1965  Robert Jewell purchased Flint’s Baker Business University and brought both schools under a single management group.

1969  Muskegon College became a non-profit corporation.

1974  The two colleges received authorization to grant an Associate of Business degree. Baker Business University became Baker Junior College.

1977  Baker Junior College became a non-profit cor­po­ration.

1981  The Colleges were approved to grant an Associate of Applied Science degree.

1983  The Owosso extension of Baker Junior College was established on the property of the former John Wesley College.

1985  After each receiving regional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the three campuses merged to form the Baker College System. Muskegon College began offering extension classes in Cadillac.

1986  The Baker College System was authorized to grant a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Baker Junior College became Baker College of Flint.

1988  The renovated Mandeville School property became Baker College of Flint, its current site.

1990  Baker College acquired locations in Pontiac, Mount Clemens, and Port Huron, forming Baker College of Eastern Michigan. Muskegon College changed its name to Baker College of Muskegon.

1991  The Cadillac extension of Baker College of Muskegon opened a new 40-acre campus site.

1992  The Pontiac campus relocated and became Baker College of Auburn Hills.

1994  The Center for Graduate Studies opened in Flint, launching the System’s first graduate degree program. Jackson Business Institute was acquired to create Baker College of Jackson.

1995  Baker College of Flint added its Cass City extension.

1996 Baker College  began offering online classes to students throughout the United States and in foreign countries.

1997  Baker College of Muskegon moved to a new 40-acre site.

2000  Baker College of Mount Clemens became Baker College of Clinton Township and began offering an Associate of Nursing degree.

2001  Record enrollment was achieved with more than 21,000 students across the System. Baker College Online enrollment topped 4,000, reinforcing its position as a leader in distance education. The Center for Graduate Studies was granted full accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

2002  Baker College gained preliminary approval to offer the Elementary and Secondary Teacher Preparation programs. The Nursing program was expanded to Flint and Owosso. Baker College enrolled over 25,000 students making it the largest private college in Michigan.

2003  Baker College of Allen Park became the newest addition to the Baker College System.

2005  Baker College of Jackson added the Coldwater extension. Baker College reached record-high enrollment of nearly 34,000.

2006  Baker College was accepted by the Higher Learning Commission as a participant in the highly innovative AQIP accreditation process.

2007  The Baker College Center for Graduate Studies received approval from the Higher Learning Commission to offer a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree, becoming the fourth graduate program at Baker College. Baker College of Owosso opened the state-of-the-art Auto/Diesel Institute of Michigan.

2008  Baker College of Muskegon broke ground on the 40,000 square foot Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM). System enrollment grew to over 38,000. Baker College of Flint students dethroned Texas A&M to win first place in the National Cyber Defense competition. Baker College of Flint opened the Center for Transportation Technologies in a former auto dealership.

2009  Fall enrollment surpassed 43,000 students. Baker College of Flint successfully defended its Cyber Defense National Championship.

2010  Baker College of Cadillac opened the Center for Transportation Technology in Lake City.

2011  The Baker College Center for Graduate Studies awarded the first Doctor of Business Administration degree at its June ceremony.

2012  Baker College was granted accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education to grant a Bachelor’s of Nursing degree. Ground was broken for the construction of a Culinary Institute of Michigan along the St. Clair River in Port Huron.

2013  The Baker College Center for Graduate Studies received permission from the Higher Learning Commission to grant a master’s degree in Educational Effectiveness. The Baker College Center for Graduate Studies acquired St. Francis School of Law, which is a start-up, online law college.

The Baker College System