UW-Stevens Point: Home Economics Timeline: Past To Present (1902-2002)
A celebration of 100 years of dynamic change in Home Economics
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A celebration of 100 years of dynamic change in Home Economics

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Picture (36x22, 251 bytes)ary Ann Baird, alum and former UWSP faculty member, was born in Wisconsin in 1937. She and her younger brother Frank grew up on a dairy farm in Willard, and attended high school in Greenwood, Wisconsin. Mary Ann's mother was a grade school teacher in a one-room school. Thus, teaching and education were always very important in the Baird family. In fact, Mary Ann's mother, as well as some of her high school teachers that she admired, inspired Mary Ann to become an educator herself.

    Mary Ann received her bachelor's degree in home economics from UW-Stout in 1958, and her master's degree in teaching in 1967 from UW-Stevens Point. She chose to pursue her master's degree at UWSP because she and her husband Jerry were living in Stevens Point at the time. She remembers her time as a student at UWSP quite fondly stating that different teachers influenced her for different reasons. She particularly admires Ethel Hill and Fern Horn for the fact that it was apparent that they really wanted their students to succeed. She also admires Fern Horn because, while Mary Ann was working on her master's paper, Ms. Horn was extremely open to Mary Ann's choice of topic and helped her to write a successful paper.

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Mary Ann Baird

    Mary Ann was hired to teach at UWSP in 1962 and remained on the faculty until her retirement in May 2000. She started out by teaching a housing course, and later taught a home furnishings course that she feels was the beginning of the interior design program at UWSP. While teaching at UWSP, Mary Ann also served as Assistant Campus Planner during the major building and expansion period on campus. She has quite literally been in just about every nook and cranny on campus. In addition, she was the first faculty member to be National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) certified. She also started and served as a faculty advisor for the student chapters of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA).

    Mary Ann is very proud of many things from her career at UWSP. She is proud of the students that have come to the program and the fact that they frequently won awards in national design competitions. She is also proud of the curriculum that has been developed over the years, and the faculty hired who make the interior architecture program so strong. She is impressed and grateful that the program has hung on and grown through tough budgetary times.

    But one of Mary Ann's greatest achievements lies in the success of study abroad tours. Today, interior architecture students study abroad more than any other major on campus. Mary Ann worked very hard to promote semester abroad programs as well as the summer study abroad tours. While teaching at UWSP, she led six different summer study tours. She is well aware of the many benefits of international travel, having visited China, Turkey, Greece, Israel, and Europe just to name a few of her favorite places.
In fact, Mary Ann feels so strongly about the importance of international travel that she established a scholarship, the Mary Ann Baird Interior Architecture Scholarship for International Study, exclusively for students participating in semester or summer study abroad programs. She is also currently co-chairing a committee to raise funds for international study for the International Programs Scholarship Endowment fund. Some of the other scholarships that Mary Ann also established are in honor of her deceased husband and daughter; the Jerry E. Baird Memorial Scholarship for an athlete/scholar, and the Patricia Baird Wimme Memorial Scholarship intended for Native American students studying to enter health related professions.

Since her retirement in May 2000, Mary Ann has had plenty to keep her busy. She has taken courses studying the United States Constitution, Buddhism, the history of jazz, and the philosophy of pragmatism. She also volunteers her time to an elementary school two mornings per week, is involved in hospice and grief ministry, consults for ecclesiastical design, and is involved in various church activities. Above all, the activity that Mary Ann enjoys most is spending time with her three grandsons who are six, eight, and ten years old.

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