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Biography of Robert C. and Christina Baker
Yale Law School alumni contributed more than $60 million for the purchase and renovation of Baker Hall. Leading the giving efforts were Robert C. Baker ’56 B.A., ’59 LL.B. and his wife, Christina, who launched the Campaign for Baker Hall with a $25 million gift. In honor of their generosity, Yale Law School has named the building Robert C. and Christina Baker Hall at Yale Law School.
Robert Baker was the founder, chairman and CEO of National Realty & Development Corp., one of the country’s largest private development and ownership firms. With a career in commercial real estate spanning half a century, Baker was an expert in property acquisitions, financing, management and construction. His company’s portfolio consists of some 76 shopping centers in 16 states, as well as several office and industrial buildings, aggregating about 22 million square feet. Baker was also a major owner of a private equity group that purchased Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay department store chains. Hudson’s Bay is now the owner of Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue and Galeria Kaufhof in Germany, presently operating almost 500 department stores and outlet stores in North America and in Europe.
Prior to his passing in November 2020, Baker was also a trustee and treasurer of the Guggenheim Museum and a member of the Museum’s Executive Committee, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of Johns Hopkins Medicine. His wife, Christina Baker, is also active in various charitable institutions. She serves on the Board of Trustees at Lincoln Center, the Board of Trustees at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice, the Guggenheim Museum International Council, the Brady Institute at Johns Hopkins, and is vice president of the Women’s Division of the Albert Einstein Medical College.
The Baker family is woven into the fabric of the Yale community. A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Robert Baker established the Nathan Baker Professorship of Law in honor of his father. Robert’s son Nelson Baker graduated from Yale College in 1985 and Yale Law School in 1988; daughter Ashley Baker earned a B.A. from Yale in 2004 and a J.D. in 2007; and Baker’s brother, Gerald Baker, is a member of Yale Law School’s Class of 1967.