Archive for Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Baker University triple major is Oxford bound

May 15, 2012


Will Duncan, who majored in  math, music and international studies at Baker University, is headed to Oxford University for graduate studies.

Will Duncan, who majored in math, music and international studies at Baker University, is headed to Oxford University for graduate studies.

Baker University senior Will Duncan learned so much during his time as an undergraduate student.

He learned to be a leader through the many organizations he joined. He learned to be an athlete while on the tennis team, and he learned that late nights studying in the library or practicing in Owens Music Hall could have a big payoff.

Duncan’s most important lesson, though, was the value of friendship with the people he comes in contact with every day.

“I have learned that making friends is more important than competition,” Duncan said.

Duncan, a triple major in math, music and international studies, has a competitive spark that is hard to snuff out.

“I always had to be the best at whatever class I was taking or the best musician in the department,” Duncan said. “That’s fine, but the competition should happen within yourself. Just do the best that you can do and compete with yourself to be better.”

Although Duncan is no longer competitive with his classmates, he follows his own words of wisdom and pushes himself to be better everyday, especially in one of his favorite activities: piano.

“When I get bad news, I have my favorite pieces and I’ll play them; when I get good news I still play the piano,” Duncan said. “It’s just always there.”

Duncan began playing the piano when he was 4 years old. Aside from a short period of wanting to quit in his pre-teen years, Duncan has continued to make music. He said it was natural to major in music when he got to Baker because he spent his life playing.

“He just seems to be so much more into his music and knows what he wants to do with his life,” said Linda Ballinger, member of the board of the Lumberyard Arts Center. “It’s all about his music, and he is just so dedicated to that.”

Ballinger knows Duncan through the arts center. Zeta Chi fraternity holds the fundraising concert Polyeuphony annually, and after a suggestion from Duncan, the fraternity decided to donate the money to the local charity.

His work ethic and passion haven’t gone unnoticed. Next year, Duncan will travel to Oxford University in England for graduate studies in global governance and diplomacy.

“Since the age of 9, I’ve always wanted to go to Oxford,” Duncan said. “I’ve always just had that dream, and it wasn’t going to happen for (my undergraduate). So on a whim I, thought I would apply.”

Attending Oxford won’t be the first time he’s studied overseas. Duncan said one of his favorite memories of Baker was when he studied abroad at Harlaxton College, north of London.

His enthusiasm for Oxford isn’t just about returning to Europe; he is eager to explore newer areas of interest.

“The program has a lot of classes that are oriented towards peace, and in the last two years that is something I’ve become really passionate about at Baker,” Duncan said.

Despite the excitement surrounding Duncan’s upcoming year in the United Kingdom, he isn’t ready to say goodbye at graduation.

“This is so cliché, but (what I’ll miss) about Baker will be the people,” Duncan said. “I’ve got really good friends here.”


overthemoon 5 years, 11 months ago

So where is he from? Baldwin? New Jersey? Timbuktu? Seems like a very interesting and inspiring young man, there's a lot more story there to tell!

angelsunwall 5 years, 11 months ago

He has two arms..............he just has one slightly behind his back in the picture. :-)

northtowngrl 5 years, 11 months ago

He is from Baldwin! He and his brother grew up coming to my teen programs at the Lawrence Public Library. They were two of my most favorite kids EVER! I'm so happy to read this story and see he has continued to be as bright and charming as he ever was! I wish him nothing but the best.

PS Will if you guys are ever in KCMO come see me at the Central Branch I would LOVE to catch up with you both.

Lawrence Morgan 5 years, 11 months ago

This is a great story and I wish you very well.

Don't forget some of those great British comedies when you're taking breaks over there.

And if you decide to go to Africa - the Gambia is only 4 hours away by plane - let me know so I can contact people I know there to greet you. I'll be doing blogs with friends from Africa in the future.

Also, take a look at my reader's blog "My Commencement Address" which appeared this weekend, in which I suggest that students be able to go for a semester or term to a small town university or college. Baker is a great example. And make any comments you want!

One of the points I make is that students need to be much more internationally involved than they presently are.

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