The Baron legacy lives on at Montco

By Gabriella Waldon
From left: Psychology lecturer Michael Baron, Dr. Jared Brown, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs at Pottstown Campus and host of the "Montco on the Move" podcast, and Dr. Steven Baron, Psychology Professor. Photo by Joslyn Yates

From left: Psychology lecturer Michael Baron, Dr. Jared Brown, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs at Pottstown Campus and host of the "Montco on the Move" podcast, and Dr. Steven Baron, Psychology Professor. Photo by Joslyn Yates

It is not too often that you hear of a father and son working together, nevertheless in such close proximity as sharing an office. Dr. Steven Baron, Psychology Professor, and his son Michael Baron, Psychology Regular Lecturer, share an office and even at times share the same students. A unique and special opportunity that the two get to share is to have students go from Michael’s class to his father’s class. 

Steven was asked what it feels like to have his son join the Baron legacy at Montco and “It was surprising but truly a dream come true,” he shared.

Steven once got to share an office with his father and now his son gets to do the same and follow in the tradition. Together, the Barons are making a profound mark on Ƶ. The Baron family is a legacy name that has been a part of the College for decades now.

The Baron family name first came about at Montco when the school opened in 1964. Steven’s mother was one of the first students and his father was among the first generations of faculty at Montco. Steven’s mother took some classes taught by Dr. Martin Gelman, who was Steven’s godfather. 

Following in his mother’s footsteps, Steven took classes at Montco and was also a student-athlete who participated in soccer. Steven went on to transfer to the University of Delaware in 1981, where he achieved his bachelor’s degree in physical education and philosophy.

Later, in his career he taught at many other schools, including Johns Hopkins University, Gwynedd Mercy University, and Immaculata University.  Steven first started at the College as an educator in 1992 after learning about a teaching position opening from Dr. Gelman. 

“I was offered the opportunity and never looked back,” Steven said.

Following a similar path, Michael Baron grew up coming to Montco long before actually taking classes here. He distinctly recalls first coming to the College back in 1996 at the early age of four. He mentions that Montco has always been a part of his life and distinctly remembers functions and events at the college from his childhood. He then took classes at Montco while in his college career.

Michael acknowledges and celebrates how fascinating the College has changed over the years and loves to see history unfold right before his eyes.

 In addition to Steven’s and Michael’s involvement at Montco, Steven’s oldest son, Steven, took classes at the College when he was en route to medical school. Also, Steven’s sister, Marla, taught as an adjunct instructor several years ago.

Michael has been teaching at Montco for the past five years. He was hired in the fall of 2019 as a psychology lecturer and taught through the pandemic. He has taught a few courses consistently, and his versatile skills allow him to act as a utility-type person, filling in wherever he is needed to help students, including teaching in the award-winning Gateway to College program, which has won the national award for five years in a row.   

During Steven’s tenure at Montco, he was awarded the “Christian R. And Mary F. Lindback Award for Teaching Excellence” in 2021. This esteemed honor is presented to faculty who are “intellectually stimulating teaching, providing help and assistance to his students and all Montco students with whom he has interacted, as well as for his demonstration of full devotion to the well-being of students.”

Steven and Michael serve as advisors of the Honor Society and the Psychology Club. Psi Beta is a national honor society for students who attend two-year colleges; students who plan to major/minor or even have an interest in psychology are invited to join. 

Both Steven and Michael are former student-athletes. Focusing primarily on soccer within their family, they are involved in the men’s at Montco and show their support to all students of many different interests. They believe athletics helps to build a sense of belonging and creates connections. Steven says involvement in athletics helps students to succeed not only on the field and on the court but also in the classroom.

Reflecting upon the 60th anniversary of Montco, the Barons shared some advice for incoming and graduating students who are about to become Montco alums. 

“Motivation at the start of the semester may not always be steady, and it is normal to get stressed and overwhelmed," said Michael. "Allow yourself to feel those emotions. This time in your educational career presents an opportunity to make use of your connections. So go on and talk to your classmates, make friends, and maximize these opportunities as they are right in front of you. They will only serve you greater in life and beyond.”

“As you come here, never let your past take away your confidence," said Steven. "Take immense pride while you are here. You are special, and you are now part of a legacy. Remember those who came before you to make it a great place and continue that by being an honorable student and leaving it behind for the next generation.” 

“Montco has been here for 60,” he said, "and will be here for at least another 60."