Dr. Drew Baker, C'08, Faculty Commencement Speaker

May 10, 2021
Dr. Drew Baker, C'08, was nominated by SPCS students as the Itzkowitz Family Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Award recipient for 2021

Dr. Drew Baker, C’08, adjunct assistant professor of education and a graduate of the SPCS Teacher Licensure Preparation program at the University of Richmond School of Professional & Continuing Studies, was nominated by students to receive the Itzkowitz Family Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Award at 2021 Commencement Exercises on May 8, 2021. 

As award winner, Baker received the opportunity to address graduating students during the ceremony. In his speech, reproduced below, Baker offered heartfelt thanks to his students for nominating him and to faculty and administrators for supporting and mentoring him as an adjunct professor.

Video Address

Starts at the beginning of Baker’s speech


Commencement Address

I would like to thank the University, SPCS, and my students for providing this very special moment for me and my family. In accepting this award, I would like to use the platform to congratulate and celebrate all of educators who have risen to the challenge of teaching in 2020 and 2021. In my work here as an adjunct professor, I’m so proud to work WITH fantastic educators and just as proud to TEACH the next generation of great teachers. 

There are few things more critical to the human condition, to a civil and just society, and in facilitating the pursuit of happiness than the act of teaching and learning. I’m lucky because this past year I saw so much raw innovation in my colleagues at the University of Richmond, with our educators in public schools, and in my students as they developed the skills to become once in a lifetime classroom teachers. In accepting this award, I’m doing so with extreme humility, because I KNOW there are so many in our field deserving of this sort of recognition, especially now, and to you all I say thank you and well done to those who laid yourselves low this year in supporting your students.

I would like to thank President Crutcher, Dean Wilson, and Dr. Shields for the University of Richmond’s unique and powerful support program for adjunct faculty. I would also like to thank Dr. Kuti for being such a fantastic resource over the past three years, and Dr. Cassada for encouraging me to pursue adjunct professorship. Thanks to Mr. Ryan Conway, one of my best friends and often my co-teacher here at University of Richmond for all the collaboration. 

Finally, a big thank you to my family — my mom and dad, and of course my wife and sons. I end with a huge thank you to my students who nominated me for this award — I look forward to the day where YOUR lucky future students can make you feel this acknowledged and appreciated for your work.

Biographical Summary

Dr. Drew Baker is a native of Richmond, Virginia, who loves being able to pursue his passion in education every day. A graduate of the SPCS Teacher Licensure Program, Baker has deep ties to the Spiders and loves being able to support the next generation of educators within the School of Professional and Continuing Studies.

Baker began his career in public education at Deep Run High School, where in 2008 he was named First Year Teacher of the Year. When not teaching at the University, Baker currently serves Henrico County Schools in the office of Professional Development, focusing his work on teacher-leadership development, action research, and supporting continuing education for teachers. In 2019, Baker received the SPCS Innovations in Teaching award with his teaching partner Ryan Conway, ’96.

Baker and his wife, Katie, have two sons, Jimmy and George, who keep them both busy and entertained, and his whole family are active members of Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Richmond.