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Former trustee William J. Baird, Jr., ’61, honored with Loyola’s prestigious Andrew White Medal

William J. Baird, Jr., '61, and his wife, Joanna Baird
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., Joanna Baird, William J. Baird, Jr., '61, and Rev. Timothy Brown, S.J., pose for a photo after the presentation. Photo by George Miller, '76.

Loyola University Maryland awarded William J. Baird, Jr., the Andrew White Medal at a special family Mass celebrated on Jan. 18 in honor of his 80th birthday. Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., president, presented the medal.

The Andrew White Medal, which was first awarded by Loyola in 1961, is named for Father Andrew White, the Jesuit chaplain to the voyagers of the Ark and the Dove, who celebrated the first Mass on Maryland soil on March 25, 1634. The anniversary of that historic event is marked with Maryland Day.

Since 1961, the Andrew White Medal has been bestowed on dozens of individuals who have had an impact on the state of Maryland. The medal is given to distinguished individuals who make contributions to the general welfare of the community, dedicating time and energy unselfishly through public service, serving as an example of personal, domestic, and civic virtue, and making an effort to assist those who are less fortunate.

Fr. Linnane said that Loyola chose to honor Baird with the Andrew White Medal “for his commitment to his community, for living out the Jesuit ideals that Loyola aspires to instill in all of its graduates, and for embracing a life of service and compassion.”

As a Loyola student, Baird was a varsity basketball player who worked on the yearbook and served as president of the Green and Grey Society. He majored in engineering and physics and went on to build a career in the insurance industry, primarily with the Willis Group.

Since his graduation in 1961, Baird has served Loyola in several ways, including as a trustee from 2000-2008, serving Loyola Alumni Association director, and sitting on the Parents Council with his wife, Joanna. Their eight children are graduates of Loyola.

“Bill has made a profound impact on our university, helping to strengthen it and increase its vitality over the years,” Fr. Linnane said. “Even with a demanding career and a busy family life, Bill has always been involved in the community, serving in a variety of organizations—including the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, the Greater Baltimore Committee, Loyola Blakefield, Associated Catholic Charities, and Good Samaritan Hospital. His commitment to Catholic schools and other organizations in Baltimore, is an inspiration and challenge to each of us. His contributions have had an extraordinary impact on Loyola’s community, as well as on Baltimore.”