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Vicki Baker makes Nied­feldt res­i­dents orga­nized and lovable | Courtesy

Every day, the res­i­dents of Nied­feldt go to class, take notes, and enjoy college life. They take advantage of office hours with faculty and hang out with friends. But it is easy to forget an entirely dif­ferent side of Hillsdale, one that keeps things running smoothly right at home.

Vicki Baker is one such hidden hero. While stu­dents carry on their crazy, paper-riddled lives, she quietly makes sure Nied­feldt Res­i­dence is orga­nized and livable. She is a friendly face in the dorm, and she always takes an oppor­tunity to greet stu­dents. She cares for the res­i­dents through her ded­i­cation to her work. Baker began working as a cus­todian on Dec. 30, 1996. Nearly 21 years later, she is still ded­i­cated to her job, but she began her work after an inter­esting turn of events.

After getting married in July 1982, Baker and her husband moved to Jackson, Michigan. Her husband men­tioned to her that a mutual friend worked at the college book­store and that their friend’s children received free tuition. For this reason, he encouraged her to look into a job at the college.

“I had never heard of Hillsdale College,” Baker said. “I didn’t even know what he was talking about.”

But she found the college and applied for a job. She called every month to check on the status of her appli­cation. One day, the Dow Center offered her a job cleaning the hotel.

Baker was as teacher’s aide for Reading Schools at the time, so she was hired as a sub-cus­todian.

After one of the cus­to­dians at the Dow retired, Baker began working full time. Not quite a year afterward, an opening came up for a cus­todian at Simpson res­i­dence. She applied and got the job. When she began working there, she said, Simpson was hosting football camp. She worked at Simpson for 13 years before even­tually moving on to cus­todial roles at the Ambler Health and Wellness Center and Nied­feldt Res­i­dence. This year is her second year working in Nied­feldt.

“It’s a great place to work, and I like talking to the stu­dents and getting to know them every day,” she said. “I usually just talk to them when I’m cleaning their room or when I see them in the halls. That’s about it, unless I see them in the store or some­thing; then I’ll say ‘Hi.’”

Baker said she works most closely with the house director, but she main­tains contact with the Res­ident Assis­tants in case some­thing needs to be cleaned or fixed. If an issue comes up when she isn’t on campus, she puts in a work order request with main­te­nance.

Junior Mitchell Moutard, Nied­feldt house director, said that Baker keeps the RA team updated on various main­te­nance issues in the dorm. He said that she is essential to keeping Nied­feldt running smoothly.

“Vicki’s work affects the res­i­dents and the Nied­feldt com­munity at large by cre­ating a healthier and more aes­thet­i­cally-pleasing envi­ronment which frees up more time for the stu­dents to foster their liberal arts edu­cation,” he said.

Baker has a pos­itive influence on the dorm at large, according to Moutard.

“She is a very per­sonable lady and a valuable asset to the dorm,” he said. “She does her job well and com­mu­ni­cates effec­tively with the RA Team and me to help stu­dents care for Nied­feldt, their home away from home.”

With her cus­todial job, Baker could put her son and daughter through Hillsdale. Her son Brian grad­uated in 2007 with a degree in financial man­agement and com­pu­ta­tional math, and her daughter Ashley grad­uated in 2009 with an accounting degree.

“I was very happy and glad and proud of them,” she said.

Baker’s son and daughter received free tuition, but were required to pay the fees for on-campus housing.

“We paid for their books, and their tuition was free. They got student loans when they moved in here.”

Although their family lived about six miles from campus, Baker said her son was set on living in the dorms. He found it dif­ficult to make friends on campus when he com­muted, so he decided to move on campus.

“He said he wanted to live on campus to meet people, so I said, ‘Good for you!,’” she said.

Her son attended Hillsdale for five years. The first four, he lived in Simpson, and during the last year, he lived at a house on Fayette Street.

She said that both her son and daughter made close friends at Hillsdale who they keep in contact with to this day. Her daughter, she said, had Hillsdale friends attend her wedding this year.

“She just got married in October, so a lot of them came here,” she said. “They flew in from Cal­i­fornia and a couple other states. She’s been to their wed­dings.”

While her son lived in Simpson, his room was on the floor she cleaned. So it seems as if she cleaned his room anyways, even though he didn’t live at home during his college years.

“I ended up cleaning his room,” she said.