The Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies sees 'war and deep-rooted conflict as human problems’ and ‘peace as a human potential.' Housed under the Baker Institute is the undergraduate degree program of Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS), which teaches students how to be thoughtful stewards of peace in their own communities and around the world. Juniata College is one of only a handful of colleges and universities that offer an undergraduate degree program in peace studies–making it a highly revered program.
Juniata College’s PACS program would not exist today without the perseverance and vision of Elizabeth Evans Baker. Baker believed peace work is one of the most critical occupations, so in a letter addressed to former Juniata President John Stauffer, Baker proposed a peace program in 1969. After racial unrest continued to stir in the United States and domestic protests persisted over the Vietnam War, it was an easy decision to implement a peace program at Juniata. President Stauffer officially agreed to the program in 1971, two-year later, Juniata College’s Peace and Conflict Studies program began.
Baker Institute Timeline
1969 – Elizabeth E. Baker’s letter of challenge to Juniata College
1971 – President Stauffer's official establishment of the peace program at Juniata College
1973 – Frist classes, staff, and activities began
1984 – Establishment of a Peace Institute at Juniata College
1986 – Institute renamed to The Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies
1989 – Elizabeth E. Baker Peace Chapel created
Elizabeth Evans Baker graduated from Smith College in 1924 and became a professional singer, actress, and poet. In 1958, Elizabeth founded the Monomoy Theatre in Chatham, Massachusetts. She had many interests, but her true passions were beauty and peace. Juniata College’s Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) program would not exist today without Elizabeth Baker. Due to her perseverance and vision, peace institutes were established in four colleges in the United States, supported peace activists like the Peace Pilgrim, and commissioned works like Maya Lin’s Peace Chapel at Juniata College.
John Calhoun Baker graduated from Juniata College in 1917 and became a thriving businessman and Chairman of Juniata’s Board of Trustees. Baker received his MBA from Harvard Business School before returning to teach there in 1926, where he became a professor of business and then an associate dean of the university. The Juniata community and Board of Trustees awarded John Baker the Honorary Doctor of Human Letters Degree in 1943. A man with a plethora of skills, Baker was President of Ohio University in Athens and then served as chief U.S. representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1953 to 1956. John and his wife spent their retirement dedicated to establishing peace studies programs, first at Juniata College, then at Bethany Theological Seminary and Ohio University.
Reverand Dr. Andy Murray’s journey through higher education began when he earned a sociology degree from Bridgewater College in 1964, and then a Master of Divinity degree in theology in 1968. Murray then went on to receive his Doctor in Ministry in 1980. Murray’s relationship with Juniata College runs deep. He started as the campus minister in 1971 and became an assistant professor of religion in 1976. Eventually, in 1987, Murray became an associate professor of peace and conflict studies. Murray played a crucial role in the founding of the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies - He became the first director of the institute in 1984 and was named Elizabeth Evans Baker Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies in 1991. A distinguished member of the campus community, Murray received an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 2023.
Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies (1990-2020), Associate Director (2012-2020), Assistant Provost of Juniata (2015-2020)
- Andrew Murray (1984-2008)
- Richard Mahoney (2008-2012)
- James M. Skelly (2012-2015)
- Polly Walker (2015-2020)
John C Baker and his wife, Elizabeth Baker, inspired others with their vision for Juniata’s PACS program and provided a modest endowment to achieve its mission. In addition to the John C. and Elizabeth E. Baker Endowment, the Margaret E. Baker Peace Fund, the Cora Adams Endowment, and the Elizabeth Evans Baker Professorship Fund all support Baker Programming. Famously in 1985, to raise awareness and funds for the Baker Institute, Reverand Dr. Andy Murray became the first person ever to swim in newly formed Raystown Lake. This achievement started as a bet by former colleague Clayton Pheasant. Murray’s 20-mile swim raised over $70,000 for The Baker Institute.
Left: Oller Center for Peace and International Studies; Right: The Elizabeth Evans Baker Peace Chapel
Offices - Oller Center for Peace and International Studies
The Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies is located on the first floor of the Oller Center for Peace and International Programs. It maintains a 1,000-volume library in the Baker Resource Room and hosts classes and advisory board meetings in the Brumbaugh Reception Room.
Special Location – The Elizabeth Evans Baker Peace Chapel
The Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies is a steward of the Elizabeth Evans Baker Peace Chapel. The Peace Chapel is an environmental landscape site designed by architect Maya Lin. Located near the Juniata College campus - the Peace Chapel provides a contemplative setting within the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania. This artwork was a significant dream of Elizabeth Evan Baker, who passed away in 1988 from cancer, a year before it was completed. Learn more about The Elizabeth Evans Baker Peace Chapel here.