Scholar Story: Nathan
Upland, IN

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A lifelong forester, Dean Baker leads his life by a single philosophy: “From a conservation and stewardship standpoint, I believe we are expected to leave the land, air, water, plant life and creatures in a better condition than when we arrived.” As former president of Pike Lumber Company, Dean spent his years dedicated to improving conservation and forest management, and passing on the values of hard work, dedication and leadership to his children and grandchildren.

NathanDean’s grandson, Nathan Baker, honored his grandfather in his winning essay for the 2009 Indiana Dollars for Scholars Hoosier Hero scholarship contest. One of only ten winners of a $2,000 scholarship, Nathan chose to write about his grandfather because, “he has had a major impact on my life and has inspired me to work hard throughout my career so that I can be of service to others,” Nathan said.

In his essay, Nathan explained that as a child of the great depression, his grandfather greatly valued education and was committed to earning his college degree. “After vacations to northern Minnesota and meeting a professor from Iowa State College Forestry Department, forestry interested Dean,” Nathan wrote. Though Dean's father died during his senior year of college and finances were often hard to come by, he was committed to finishing college and earned a B.S. in Forest Management in 1958

“I admire that [my grandfather] pursued and accomplished his interests and goals of education. [My grandfather’s] commitment to seek an education that interested him despite financial hardship and grief makes him a hero and inspiration to seek knowledge to prepare for life,” wrote Nathan.

Nathan enrolled at Taylor University with help from his scholarship, and plans on majoring in Business Management and Systems. His grandfather instilled in him the value of a college education and the importance of using a degree to improve the world.

“A postsecondary education is valuable not only for personal success, but for the wellbeing of others,” Nathan said. “I have decided to pursue a degree so that I can be enabled to serve others through my education and subsequent career.”

Nathan knows that without scholarships, he wouldn’t have been able to attend his first choice college, and plans on giving back after he graduates.

“Of the scholarships I received, I am very grateful and know that I have been extremely blessed. To whom much is given, much is expected. I know that with the great honor of receiving these scholarships, I have the obligation to pay it forward to another generation in the years to come.”

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