Dr. Ashley Baker ’04, ’07
At the end of her first semester, Ashley Baker packed up her dorm room, intending to leave for winter break and never come back.
“I struggled with finding my place in space there,” she said.
However, her parents wouldn’t let her quit so easily. When she returned to campus, she met with her academic advisor, who knew that Ashley wanted to work in sports. Her advisor encouraged Baker to talk to BGSU Athletics, and from that connection started working at the front desk there. Baker stayed at BGSU for 12 years, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sports administration while working in different roles in Athletics.
“That completely changed my life,” she said. “Twenty-two years later, and I am still working in college athletics.”
The relationships Baker created and fostered at BGSU have impacted the rest of her career. A BGSU sports management faculty member encouraged her to pursue her doctorate to continue her research on race and gender in sport. While finishing her Ph.D. at the University of Georgia, she was recruited by a former supervisor from BGSU to work with him at Xavier University of Louisiana as associate athletics director and senior woman administrator, and then became assistant vice president for student affairs and oversaw Xavier’s new Office of Inclusion and Social Justice.
When NCAA passed legislation in 2020 requiring each Division 1 athletics department to have an athletics diversity and inclusion designee, Baker became the first such officer at Michigan State.
“In my career, I've been able to move into roles that didn't exist before, and be innovative and creative,” she said.
No matter where Baker works, she always remembers BGSU and the impact people have had on her life.
“All of the things that people did for me along the way, I take very personally as an alumna,” she said, “It's really helped me develop understanding of the importance of networking, the importance of giving back as an alumna – not just giving back financially, but also giving of my time.”
Because of that connection and appreciation for the legacy of her education, Baker always responds to former faculty, alumni and BGSU student requests for connection and conversation.
“BGSU changed the trajectory of my life and it's really at the core of who I am,” she said. “I thought I was going to leave after my first semester, and now I bleed orange and brown.”
Updated: 01/18/2023 09:09AM