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Chesapeake Recognizes Pride of Peake Winners
Awards presented, fundraising goal met at first alumni event
Friday, May 13, 2011
WYE MILLS Chesapeake College honored two local men who make significant contributions to both the college and surrounding community. The college recognized Dr. Edward S. Baker of Ridgely and Lt. Col. W.F. "Pete" Landon of Chestertown at the Pride of the Peake banquet on April 28.
The first alumni event for the Chesapeake College Alumni and Friends Association, the banquet drew Chesapeake graduates, friends and family of the honorees, and dignitaries. The crowd included former President John Kotula, and former Board of Trustees members Dewey Blades and Harry Rhodes.
Chesapeake President Barbara Viniar said honoring the two accomplished men was an ideal way to showcase both the college and its many graduates.
"I think the future of Chesapeake College is as promising and vibrant as our alumni," Dr. Viniar said.
The banquet was the first event for the newly formed Chesapeake College Alumni and Friends Association. Ticket proceeds went to the Chesapeake College student scholarship fund. During the event, Special Olympics - Maryland donated $1,000 to the fund in honor of Lt. Col. Landon. By the end of the night, more than $10,000 was raised, exceeding the event’s goal. Sponsors for the event included private individuals and organizations.
"We are so pleased with the response to this event, both in turnout and the funds raised for the Alumni Association.," Director of Development Lauren Halterman. "Our alumni leadership is looking forward to planning next year’s event and really getting the word out about our Alumni & Friends Association."
The evening began with a reception and video tribute to the two honorees. Del. Adelaide Eckhardt presented citations to both Dr. Baker and Lt. Col. Landon from the Maryland House of Delegates. The two honorees also received commendations from the Maryland Senate and Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Lt. Col. Landon is the chief of field operations bureau for the Maryland State Police. A proud Chesapeake College alumnus, he earned an associate’s degree in 1980 and went on to finish a bachelor’s degree at Towson University. A member of Chesapeake’s Foundation Board, Lt. Col. Landon is a volunteer with the U.S. Special Olympics and a yearly participant in the Polar Bear Plunge.
Lt. Col. Landon, who attended high school in Canada, recalled his first day at Chesapeake.
"The entire area was flat with nothing but cornfields around, and I wanted to leave," Landon told the audience.
Lt. Col. Landon said he decided to stay at Chesapeake College, where he played lacrosse and earned his associate’s degree. He later transferred to Towson University and earned a bachelor’s degree.
"Chesapeake College was a wonderful start for adult life," Landon said. "I’m both honored and amazed to receive this award with someone like Ed Baker."
As a Chesapeake College instructor for 40 years, Dr. Baker has taught generations of Eastern Shore residents. The professor said he recently learned that he taught the grandfather of a 16-year-old Dual Enrollment student he now has in class.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College, a master’s degree from Western Maryland College and a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. A professor of kinesiology and wellness, Dr. Baker works to give students the skills to be both mentally and physically healthy. The professor’s work with students extended beyond the classroom as he served as an athletic coach and conditioning trainer. He emphasizes stress management and uses classroom lessons to help students cope with life’s challenges. He urges his students to find meaning in their lives and to pursue their passions.
"No place could have given me more meaning, passion or purpose in my life than Chesapeake College," Dr. Baker said.
Dr. Baker estimated that he has taught 11,000 students during his career. He said he wanted to dedicate his award to those students.
"The saying goes that if you do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life," Dr. Baker said in conclusion. "I love my job, so I have never worked a day in life,"
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