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Newman, Trotti to be New Housemasters at Baker

By Kathy Lin


Dava Newman PhD ’92, a professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and her partner Guillermo Trotti will be the new housemasters at Baker House, beginning at the end of this summer.

They will be replacing Professor of History William B. Watson and Myra Harrison-Watson, who are leaving Baker after 15 years as housemasters because Watson is retiring, said Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict.

Reactions are positive

Newman and Trotti are “excited to be involved in undergraduate life and community,” Newman said, and look forward to helping “students have the most wonderful living and academic” environment they can.

“I’m sure that they’ll be as committed as we have been to supporting Baker’s strong and vibrant community,” including its strong self-government, Harrison-Watson said.

“They were basically our first choice,” said Baker President Martijn Stevenson ’05, who participated in the housemaster selection process.

Newman and Trotti are “just great people who care about students,” Stevenson said. They will “bring people together in the community because they’re people people,” he said.

They are also “avid sailors and own a 47 foot sailboat,” wrote Benedict in an e-mail. Getting a ride on the boat is among the things Stevenson is looking forward to, he said.

Newman was Baker GRT

Newman has the asset of having been a graduate resident tutor at Baker in the 1980’s, including an overlap with the Watsons’ tenure as housemasters.

Stevenson and Harrison-Watson both cited Newman’s performance as a GRT as added incentive for selecting her.

“She was a superb tutor,” Harrison-Watson said.

Although she is familiar with the dormitory, “there is still a lot to learn because a lot has changed” since she last lived there, Newman said.

Watsons plan for the future

“We’ve loved being at Baker,” said Harrison-Watson. “It’s been very challenging and rewarding.”

After leaving Baker, the Watsons will “just become part of the very large Baker alumni contingent,” Harrison-Watson said.

While they plan to stay in the area in the immediate future, they will eventually split their time between Martha’s Vineyard and a house they are building in Mexico, Harrison-Watson said.

Baker residents are “very sad that the Watsons are leaving,” Stevenson said.