Frances M. Baker (née Frazer), MA’60
Frances was born in Edmonton in 1933 and died in New Westminster in 2010. From 1956 to 1961, she was the graduate student don in all three of UBC’s first women’s residences. She was a role model, counsellor, chaser of assignments, and encourager of student activities. As an undergraduate at McMaster, Frances was news editor of the student paper the year it was declared the best in English Canada. She acted in and produced plays. She danced and sang whenever possible, and enjoyed student clubs. She wanted her freshettes in residences to enjoy the undergraduate life she had enjoyed. She said that, like her, they could play bridge all night as long as they were quiet. She also received a first class honours degree with distinction.
After UBC, she received her PhD at the University of London. Her three‑volume thesis on G.B. Shaw’s Three Plays for Puritans was a variorum edition, a critical commentary and stage history. The chair of her examining committee wrote that she should have received three PhDs. A major Shaw scholar on the committee wrote that she had advised publishers that Fran was the only person to edit Caesar and Cleopatra. Her edition, intended for students, was praised in the Year’s Work in English Studies. She taught at Alberta, SFU, and the University of PEI where she was chair of English and the first female Dean of Arts. She was admired both as a scholar and fascinating teacher of Victorian literature, contemporary drama, and children’s literature, and also as an administrator.
She married Ron Baker, BA’51, MA’53, the first president of the University of PEI, and as his wife was praised and said to have added joie de vivre to the university’s early days.