We caught up with Dr. Jon Baer, who joined the Coram Deo Academy Board this last year, in order to learn more about him and his family.
1. What brought you to CDA?
I became connected to Coram Deo Academy through my two former Wabash College students, Dave Seibel and Marcus Manges. I first began to learn about CDA when I heard about their involvement, but I became more interested a couple years ago when they invited me to learn more about the school and think about possible ways to support its mission. As I saw God’s hand at work in CDA, I sensed that the Lord was leading me to help advance the first-rate classical Christian education it provides its students and families.
2. Tell us about your professional background.
I teach in and serve as chair of the Religion Department at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Wabash is a small liberal arts college, one of the few remaining all-male undergraduate colleges in the US. I have taught at Wabash since 2002.
3. Spouse and Kids?
Carolyn Mitchell Baer and I have been happily married for 32 years. We have three children, two sons and a daughter: Nathan (26 years old), who is a financial advisor with Edward Jones; Chris (23), who is an environmental specialist with Vulcan Materials, and who is married to Lydia; and Noelle (20), who is a sophomore at Davidson College.
We love our children and miss them, but we are really enjoying being empty nesters—with our three cats, who are quite sure they run the household! Carolyn is a pediatric occupational therapist with West Central Special Support Services, an area cooperative that provides educational services (OT, PT, Speech, etc.) to schools in Montgomery County.
4. Where did you go to school?
Carolyn and I both attended Duke University as undergraduates. She then received a master’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill (if you know anything about the rivalry between Duke and UNC, you’ll understand if we ask you to keep this part of the family bio on the q.t.). After Duke, I did a master’s degree at Queens’ College, Cambridge, in the UK, then two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. at Yale University.
5. Favorite hobbies?
I enjoy reading, which is an admittedly odd hobby for someone who reads a great deal for work. I also appreciate hiking and the outdoors, as well as sports.
6. What are you most excited about when it comes to Coram Deo’s future?
Regarding CDA’s future, I am most excited to see how the Lord continues to work through the administration, faculty and staff to bless the students and nurture their faithful development. There are so many good things happening at CDA—and there is so much need for what it provides families—that it is impossible not to be enthusiastic about its future.
7. What do you do on the board?
I have been on the board for just over six months, so I am still getting my bearings, but I am grateful for the warm welcome and helpful guidance of my fellow board members. My main contribution at this point is through a newly formed academic advisory group that will support Dave Seibel and Jason Barney with curricular and other academic matters.
8. Who has been one of your biggest influences in your life?”
Aside from God and my wife Carolyn, I would point to my father, Richard Baer, who is a retired professor of environmental ethics at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. My father shaped not only my faith in Christ but also my sense of calling as a teacher and scholar. I saw through his example the positive impact one could have through faithful work as a professor. I have also been inspired and humbled by his love and care for my stepmother Carol, who has suffered with multiple sclerosis for more than 40 years. Their marriage and witness have reflected the light of Christ to our family and many others.
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