By Anna Faith Smith
Assistant Dean, College of Theology
Grand Canyon University is at a crossroads. For more than 35 years, Dr. Mike Baird has lived the spectrum of life at GCU. And now he has announced his retirement.
He will leave a crater that is not truly fillable. Who will plan the weekly lunches on Thursdays? Who will organize the all-faculty end-of-the-year lunch at Pappadeaux or Bobby Q’s? Who will represent the College of Theology on his committees related to faculty leadership and scholarship? Who will say “So far, so good”?
For decades, Dr. Baird has taken Christian Studies majors from their first semester introductory Bible classes through their capstone experiences. In the freshman classes, students have often chafed at his expectations for mature behavior in class, his rigor on written assignments and his challenging exams.
But by the time they are seniors, they no longer complain. Rather, in exit interviews, students usually state that Dr. Baird is the highlight of their studies at GCU. His course in Biblical Interpretation is characterized as the hardest and the best class in the Christian Studies program.
Mike leaves a heritage of loving God’s word and loving students. He has taught classes and written many of the rigorous biblical studies classes that are also offered online. He has left his mark on GCU and blazed a trail for many faculty and students to follow.
He will be missed on campus, but students in the M.Div. program may be the recipients of the blessing of his retirement, because he will have the opportunity to teach their online New Testament classes from wherever he is vacationing.
We will miss Dr. Baird, but we have learned from him. We will follow his faithful example and God will be pleased.
If you’d like to celebrate Dr. Baird’s time at GCU, please stop by the Prayer Chapel from 2 – 4 p.m. today, Friday, May 1.
More About Anna Faith Smith:
Anna Faith Smith is the assistant dean of the College of Theology. She received her B.A. from Grand Canyon University in 1980. She completed an M.Div. with an emphasis in biblical languages at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX in 1984. Her lifelong passion has been to love God and share his love cross-culturally.