Jane Baker Nord (GRS ’76) first discovered her profound love of learning as an undergraduate at Vassar College. This passion influenced philanthropic endeavors throughout Northeast Ohio, including extraordinary support for Case Western Reserve.
To honor her generosity, President Barbara R. Snyder will give Nord the 2013 President’s Award for Visionary Achievement during commencement ceremonies May 19 at Veale Convocation, Athletic and Recreation Center.
Nord and her late husband Eric (CIT ’39, HON ’98) brought her interest in the arts and community to life on this campus in 1996 with a $3 million commitment to establish the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities. The gift also supported the renovation of Clark Hall where the center is housed.
The family also made a $5 million gift to the Case School of Engineering that allowed the conversion of Enterprise Hall—formerly the home of the Weatherhead School of Management—into a hub of engineering education. This gift allowed the engineering school to centralize academic and administrative functions, and provided a soaring atrium and other common areas for students. The university renamed the building Nord Hall in recognition of their generosity.
Committed to education across disciplines, the Nords also established scholarship funds for arts education, teaching innovation, faculty development, and the Nord Professorship in Engineering.
Jane Nord herself earned a master’s degree in art education from Case Western Reserve and went on to become a major contributor to the success of the Firelands Association of the Visual Arts by providing funding for renovations to house the program, which has become an asset in the Oberlin community and the field of the arts. In 1996, the Ohio Arts Council presented Jane with an award for her work with the organization.
Her community outreach also has been lauded. In 1994, she received the Oberlin College Community Service Award, and in 2007, she received the Community Service Award from Leadership Lorain Country.
President Snyder created the President’s Award for Visionary Achievement in 2008 to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves through exceptional philanthropic service to the university, the world and humanity. Previous honorees include Peter B. Lewis, Iris Wolstein, Milton and Tamar Maltz, Tinkham Veale and Norma Lerner.