Remember and Respond with Generosity

Author: Kate Brimer


Category: News

Brandon Baker, Class of 2006, remembers sitting in his childhood home overhearing his parents discuss finances, wondering how they might be able to scrape enough money together for their son to go to college. Brandon remembers visiting the University of Tennessee Southern and being interviewed for a full-ride scholarship. With tears in his eyes, Brandon remembers receiving the news he was selected as a recipient of the Ben Alford Church Leader Scholarship, which afforded him the opportunity to attend UT Southern.

Brandon Baker
Brandon Baker (’06)

Mr. Baker, a native of Asbury, Alabama, and now a resident of Los Angeles, California, recently took time to share his journey from Asbury to LA and how his time at Martin Methodist College, now UT Southern, made a huge impact on his life trajectory.

As a small quake literally jolted his office, Mr. Baker recalled his great awakening of the power of relationships, leadership, and engagement as a student at UT Southern. Brandon fondly recalled friendships forged in and out of the classroom as he and his peers laughed, cried, and sang together on campus, on choir trips, in Student Government meetings, and even today, through all of life’s high-tech, social connections. Brandon shared how he and his peers became family, and in his words, “Boo-out and other key events allowed us to work together to bring about good in others.”

One of Brandon’s friends echoed his sentiments. Sarah Luna, class of 2004 and UTAA Board member, recently stated, “Brandon’s incredible drive and ambition brought him from a tiny town in Alabama to traveling the world. Our alma mater helped launch Brandon on to national success in his career.”

Continuing to do good for others on the national and international level is exactly what Brandon Baker is doing 17 years after graduating from UT Southern!

Mr. Baker serves as the Vice President of Development for the RAND Corporation, a world-renowned nonprofit “research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.”

Today, Mr. Baker leads a staff of 35 employees in fulfilling the “RAND Campaign”, an effort to raise $400 million for the organization’s continued mission. Mr. Baker seeks to lead with gratitude and show empathy while reminding his employees that their number one priority is their health and family. In addition to leading with his words and actions in the office, Mr. Baker is leading his team and others in giving by reminding all in his circle of the “responsibility to give back”. He has endowed the Brandon Baker Scholarship Endowment for students attending the University of Tennessee Southern.

Mr. Baker said, “Receiving a generous scholarship for college was an access point for me to pursue my college degree, and we each have a responsibility to give back.” Mr. Baker remembers how higher education changed his life and made his career possible. And it is in continuing to share the story of our experiences and the stories of those influenced by our organizations that we help remind one another, “Don’t forget where you came from and respond with generosity.”