Between Two Steves
The special relationship of Westminster administrators Steve Baar and Steve Morgan
by Kayla Smith (’07)
A common component of the Westminster experience is developing deep, lasting relationships. Alums almost all have at least one story about a classmate or faculty member they connected with during their time at the college who profoundly influenced their lives well beyond their days on campus.
These types of relationships are not isolated to the student experience. Many employees, including top administrators, have developed lifelong friendships through their roles at the college. One example is the relationship between President Steve Morgan and Professor Emeritus and former provost, Steve Baar.
Between these two Steves, there is a collective 71 years of Westminster history and experience. On a beautiful fall day, these two gentlemen sat down in the Foster Faculty Lounge and shared some of their favorite stories from their 37-year-long relationship.
“Our relationship started off a little bit adversarial,” says Steve Baar. “I was on the faculty side of things, and Steve was on the administrative side. In the early ’80s, the faculty and the administration of the college were not on the same wavelength.”
Steve and Steve met in 1981 when Steve Morgan started as business manager tasked with sorting out the college’s finances. “Steve was here well before I was,” remembers President Morgan. “I encountered him for the first time when I appeared before the faculty with my first budget. I remember Steve was quite intimidating with the questions he fired off at me.”
“When Steve was brought in as this auditor person to assess the financial state of the college, I thought, ‘This is great; we are giving the college over to a 14-year-old,’” quips Baar.
After 20 years of daily meetings together, the Steves found more than common ground: they found a deep respect for each other. “As the years went on and we were in more and more meetings with each other, we let go of the power struggles and realized we both had what was best for the college at heart,” says Baar.
Baar and Morgan spent a better part of an hour recounting the many stories of their arguments and antics together. They reminisced about recovering from the Hogle Hall fire that destroyed two floors of the dorm just weeks before fall semester began and falling victim to dog bites; they revealed that President Morgan is quite the prankster.
“One of the things I delighted in was putting Steve in embarrassing situations,” states Morgan. They then shared story after story about Steve Morgan giving Steve Baar a hard time: from volunteering him to headline on Westminster’s Pioneer Day float, to arranging for a dump truck bearing a birthday wish to follow Baar to campus, to relocating a particular statue to Steve Baar’s front yard.
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.