Recognizing Rita Baker’s Contributions to the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program and Celebrating Her New Retirement Adventures

Rita Baker has been an integral part of the success of the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program since 2007, when she became its second staff member. She began working at Purdue University in April 1980, as a Credentials Analyst for the Office of Admissions, and could have taken any advising job on campus at that time. Instead, her adventurous disposition led her to join Nathalie Duval-Couetil in building a novel, cross-campus, academic startup venture. For several years, it was just the two of them at the helm of what has now grown to become a very well-established Purdue program that enrolls approximately 2000 students in over 50 entrepreneurship classes per year. The program has experimented with many variations of learning communities, internship programs, fellowship programs, pitch competitions, speaker events and activities.

Her deep knowledge of advising, student services, and teaching, as well as her rich network of colleagues across campus were invaluable to establishing the program academically and administratively. Rita’s entrepreneurial spirit shined. She believed in this program from the start and has been a tireless advocate in communicating its value to numerous stakeholders on and off campus. She has also mentored and supported our faculty, many of whom come to us with little or no teaching experience, in all aspects of student services and even classroom management.

Pictured Above: Rita Baker

Rita has been a very involved member of PACADA during her career. She loves mentoring new Purdue advisors and welcoming them to the group. She has received many awards over the years that recognize her contributions to advising, as well as Purdue University. Rita’s dedication to the university was recognized with the Special Boilermaker Award in 2016, and just recently, she was awarded the Sandra K. Monroe Excellence in Student Services Award. Rita loves this institution and everyone who is and was a part of it. We will miss her greatly but are also happy that her retirement will offer the flexibility to spend more time with family and friends! Feel free to send your best wishes at