By Graham Sturgeon, staff writer
The Durand Area Schools Educational Foundation has announced that the 2015 Distinguished Alumni for Durand Area Schools have been selected.
**Roger Baker graduated in 1975 and has won numerous awards recognizing his service to veterans and the nation, including the 2010 Civilian Agency Executive of the Year by Government Computer News; the 2010 Outstanding Achievement in Civilian Government by AFCEA; the 2011 John J. Frankie Award by ACT-IAC; the 2012 Executive Leadership in Information Resources Management-Civilian award by AFFIRM; and is a three time recipient of the Federal 100 Award.
Baker was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate to serve as Assistant Secretary and Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, serving in that position from 2008 to 2013. With his position at Veterans Affairs, Roger was responsible for the second-largest government information technology department with 8,000 people and a $4 billion annual budget.
Roger Baker is the son of Herb and Joyce Baker. He grew up on a dairy farm in the Bancroft area with siblings Rodney, Ron, Bob and Dawn. Roger and his wife Karen currently live in Herndon, Virginia. They have two children: Alex and Lauren.
It is because of Roger Baker’s outstanding achievements in his professional career that he has been selected as a Distinguished Alumnus for 2015.
**Marjorie Smith graduated from Durand High School in 1941, the year that the United States became engaged in World War II. Due to wartime restrictions, companies were not printing yearbooks so Marjorie joined other classmates using the darkroom at Thompson’s Drug Store to develop photographs for a yearbook that was produced on a mimeograph machine at school.
In spite of a lifelong love of sports, Marjorie was not exposed to competitive sports in high school because organized sports for females were unheard of in the 1940s. After high school, Marjorie attended Michigan State University where she earned a degree in physical education. She received her master’s degree at Los Angeles University and went on to teach health and physical education for 26 years at Citrus College in California.
Marjorie, the daughter of Steven and Pauline Smith, had one brother, Roger Smith. Her father and brother owned Smith Buick in Durand for many years. Marjorie still owns a 1965 Buick that came from that dealership.
Although Marjorie has lived in California for nearly 70 years, she still considers Durand as her home. She remains actively involved with the community. She converses with Durand friends and supports many Durand projects including school sports programs, the Veterans Park, the alumni reunion and Durand Union Station, to name a few. It is because of her dedication to Durand and because of her philanthropic endeavors that Marjorie Smith has been selected as a Durand 2015 Distinguished Alumnus.
A reception honoring Roger Baker and Marjorie Smith will be 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, at Durand Union Station. Friends, classmates and family members are invited to attend the open house event.