Award-winning actress among new WKU Distinguished Alumni inductees

Becky Ann Baker will be inducted into WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni this fall.

Nicole Ziege

An award-winning actress, a Kentucky education reformer and an internationally recognized pediatric surgeon will be inducted into WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni this fall, according to WKU.

Becky Ann Baker, Nettie Bayless Courts Depp and Richard C. Rink will be inducted during WKU’s 2018 Homecoming Celebration on Oct. 26 and will be added to the university’s 27th class of noted alumni.

Baker graduated as a theatre major from WKU in 1975 and became a Broadway, film and television actress. Her recent television appearances include “Freaks and Geeks” and “Girls,” in which she received a 2017 Emmy nomination and two Critics Choice nominations, according to WKU.


Baker was also featured in about 25 film productions, including “Starbright,” “Death of a President” and “War of the Worlds.” She won a Drama-logue Award and was nominated for an Online Film and Television Award, a Gold Derby TV Award and a Blockbuster Entertainment Award, according to WKU.

When inducted, she will be one of the first film and television actresses and theatre alumni in WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

James Brown, WKU theatre Professor Emeritus, taught Baker in the theatre department when she attended WKU in the early 1970s. He said he has kept in contact with her throughout her career and wrote her nomination letter to be inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

“The important reason why I feel she should be inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni is because she has never forgotten where she comes from,” Brown said. “She continues to support us, as we are now supporting her with this induction.”

David Young, WKU theatre department head, said in an email that when WKU students go to New York for faculty-led study abroad trips every January, Baker visits them. He said that last January, he and the students on the trip saw her in an off-Broadway show and met her backstage after the show.

“She has been a terrific supporter of WKU and especially our theatre & dance students,” Young said in the email, referring to Baker. “She regularly meets with our students and alumni, giving them advice and assistance.”

Depp, the second inductee, was born in 1874 and attended Southern Normal School, which preceded WKU. She served as Barren County Schools Superintendent and became the first female public official in Barren County. She was also the first WKU graduate to be elected as a County Superintendent of Schools and served as principal of Cave City School until 1923. Depp died in 1932, according to WKU.

Rink, who earned his bachelor’s degree at WKU, is an internationally recognized pediatric urologist and surgeon. He received the title of Professor Emeritus at Indiana University Medical Center’s Riley Hospital for Children.

Rink also served as the chief of pediatric urology at Riley Hospital for Children from 1989 to 2014. He is currently the surgical director for the CARES Foundation Comprehensive Care Center for Children and Adolescents with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia at Riley Children’s Hospital, according to WKU.

The Hall of Distinguished Alumni began inducting noted alumni in 1992. Other past inductees into WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni include Bill “Doc E” Edwards, former head athletic trainer at WKU in 1983, Naomi McAfee, internationally recognized engineer, and Rick Loomis, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, according to the WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow Nicole Ziege on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.