Study abroad alum launches scholarship honoring Abbott

[Contribute] ( to the Abbott study abroad scholarship endowment.

David Baker

Elton Abbott

A former Texas A&M [environmental design] ( student who was transformed by a single 1982 semester spent studying abroad in Italy is creating a scholarship to help fund similar transcendent educational experiences for today’s Texas A&M students.

“Studying abroad was a terrific experience,” said David Baker ’83, a member of the first group of Aggies to attend a new college new study abroad venue in Italy. “It really opened my eyes up to a lot of things, not just about architecture, but about different cultures.”

Baker, principal in the Houston office of Dewberry, a Fairfax, Va.-based design firm, his wife, Guisella, and additional donors are [initiating] ( a $50,000 endowment to create the Dr. Elton Abbott, Jr. ’83 Study Abroad Scholarship.

It was Abbott, now the associate dean for [international programs] ( at the College of Architecture, who led Baker’s study abroad group, an adventure he said, that has benefitted him throughout his career as a designer.

“It prepared me very well for my professional practice, because I work with clients abroad as well as representatives from multinational firms here in the U.S.,” he said. “As the world’s economies continue to become more interdependent, it’s more important than ever for students to get as broad a perspective as possible.”

Seeing millennia of design history firsthand, Baker said, also expands one’s understanding of architectural design.

“You’re able to see what the Romans and Greeks designed 2,000 years ago,” he said. “It gives you an understanding of how far we’ve come with technology, but at the same time underscored basic principles in architecture that are as true today as they were in the distant past.”

In addition to its study abroad venue in [Castiglion Fiorentino] ( , Italy, College of Architecture students study abroad in [London] ( , [Barcelona] ( , and [Bonn] ( , Germany.

Anyone can help endow the Dr. Elton Abbott, Jr. ’83 Study Abroad Scholarship with an [online contribution] ( .

In 2008, Baker helped establish the [Arnoldo Robelo '83 and David E. Baker '83 Endowed Scholarship] ( for semester away students pursuing a dual degree in environmental design and construction science, or a degree in either discipline.

Richard Nira

posted March 19, 2018