GEORGE F. BAKER
special category for individual achievement
inducted October 2, 2008
Thanks to the generosity of financier George Fisher Baker, Columbia student-athletes have competed and trained for the past 85 years at the Baker Athletics Complex, commonly known as Baker Field.
In Columbia’s earliest days on Morningside Heights, outdoor sports teams practiced and competed on South Field in the middle of campus. When that space was needed to construct a new library, University President Nicholas Murray Butler had to search for a new home for Columbia’s field sports.
A co-founder of the First National Bank of New York – now part of CitiGroup – in 1863, he became the Bank’s President in 1877 and Chairman of the Board in 1909. He was a director in 22 corporations, which, together with their subsidiaries, had aggregate resources of $7,272,000,000 and he presumably had stock in at least as many corporations. A financial titan in New York City, Baker purchased the land at the northern end of Manhattan that would soon bear his name, and presented it as a gift to the University in 1921.
From its official opening in 1923, Baker Field was the home field for numerous College Football Hall of Famers, including the legendary Lou Little and Sid Luckman.
Today, the Baker Athletics Complex is home to all of Columbia’s men and women’s outdoor sports teams, and is the centerpiece of a revitalization effort that is being undertaken through The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence.