Yolande A. Baker Scholarship in Entrepreneurship

This scholarship is dedicated to the memory of Yolande Baker, a female entrepreneur at a time when that term was virtually unheard of. Ms. Baker, who founded multiple businesses in her lifetime, died in 1994. She started her career right out of high school selling advertisements for the Yellow Pages across Kansas. She was so successful that she was able to purchase a Kirby Vacuum Cleaner franchise. In the 1960s, she opened a wig salon that grew into a chain of six salons throughout the state. In the 1970s, Ms. Baker developed and was responsible for the manufacture and national distribution of a line of human-hair false eyelashes. She eventually merged her company with a New York group called the Cosmetic Corporation of America. Their main product was the Yolande eyelashes that sold nationally at leading department stores. It was Ms. Baker’s own salesmanship that landed her products in national chains such as Sears, JCPenney and K-Mart. With her dynamic personality, she developed strong relationships, both professionally and personally, with many retail buyers. Living in New York City was a lifelong dream and Ms. Baker excelled there. By the late 1980s, she had developed a network of connections and launched an import-export business.

Throughout her successful career, Ms. Baker reared six children as a single mother. Even after her death, her optimism, ambition and can-do spirit lived on in each of her children. It was with tremendous pride that her son William established this scholarship to support a student studying entrepreneurship at Wichita State University.

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Welcome to our news feed. Here you'll uncover the latest news happenings and announcements. Journalists on a story deadline can connect with our media relations team below. Lori Linenberger, Director of Communications | lori.linenberger@wichita.edu | 316.978.6812 | Lynn Deckinger, Associate Vice President of Donor Engagement | lynn.deckinger@wichita.edu | 316.978.5624