Congressman Dr. Brian Baird Named President of Antioch University Seattle

“I am convinced the talent, dedication, creativity, and commitment of the community at Antioch University Seattle will allow us to discover new opportunities to move forward stronger than ever.” –The Honorable Dr. Brian Baird

Dr. Brian Baird, educator, psychologist, and former six-term congressman, has been selected as the next president of Antioch University’s Seattle campus effective July 1. As Congressman for Washington State’s third district in the US House of Representatives, Dr. Baird follows in the tradition of Antioch’s first President, Horace Mann, who also served in Congress.

“We are thrilled to have a leader of Dr. Baird’s caliber as President of Antioch University Seattle. Dr. Baird has a proven track record of progressive leadership. His commitment to values that parallel those of our university and mission is demonstrated by his ongoing advocacy for social, economic, and environmental justice,” said Antioch University Chancellor Felice Nudelman, who made the announcement.

Dr. Baird represented a diverse Congressional district stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Cascades and from the Columbia River to the south tip of Puget Sound. He focused his legislative activity on science and technology, sales tax deductibility, energy, mental health, oceans, education, science diplomacy, fiscal discipline, and Congressional integrity. He was known and respected for taking principled stands, careful study of issues, good humor, and the ability to build bipartisan relationships.

“These are exciting and challenging times for higher education overall and for Antioch University Seattle,” commented Dr. Baird. “I am humbled and honored to be able to join in this endeavor and I am excited by the many things our campus community will achieve together.”

Dr. Baird holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Wyoming. Prior to running for Congress, he spent twelve years as a faculty member and two years as chair in the Department of Psychology at Pacific Lutheran University in nearby Tacoma, Washington.

He has authored three books, including Are We Having Fun Yet?: Enjoying the Outdoors with Partners, Families, and Groups (1995) and Character Politics and Responsibility: Restarting the Heart of the American Republic (2010). His book The Internship, Practicum, and Field Placement Handbook: A Guide for the Helping Professions (1996) is required reading for the Antioch University Seattle campus, known for its experiential approach to learning.

Since leaving Congress, Dr. Baird has taught courses at the University of Washington, been Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at Vigor Industrial, and provided continuing education training in communication skills. He recently chaired the Washington State Student Achievement Council, a nine-member council created by the State Legislature to offer policy guidance and analysis for all higher education in Washington State.

He is married to Rachel Nugent, an economist specializing in global health. Together with their eight-year old twin boys the family enjoys skiing, sea kayaking, diving, camping, and travel.

He will succeed Dr. Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet who has served as president for the past six years.

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About Antioch University
Inspired by the work of pioneering educator and Congressman Horace Mann, Antioch University provides learner-centered education to empower students with the knowledge and skills to lead meaningful lives and to advance social, economic, and environmental justice. With campuses in Seattle, Keene, New Hampshire, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Antioch University is a bold and enduring source of innovation in higher education. The University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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Since our founding 1852, Antioch University has remained on the forefront of social justice, inclusion, and equality – regardless of ethnicity, gender, creed, orientation, focus of study, or ability.

Antiochians actively reflect these shared values to inspire positive change in the world. Common Thread is where we document the stories that showcase our communities actions, so the change we work for can be shared widely.  

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