Bellingham businessman becomes honorary doctor

Entrepreneur, author, professor, husband, father and grandfather are just a few titles in his portfolio. Yet last month, this profitable businessman reached another milestone when he received an honorary doctorate of humanities from Trinity Western University—one of 11 Whatcom County residents to receive a degree from the University this spring.

Different from an earned degree, an honorary degree is given in recognition of achievement outside of academics. “It’s humbling,” says Baron who holds a BA in communications from Seattle Pacific University and an MA in communications broadcasting from Wheaton College. “Receiving the honorary doctorate was a privilege I couldn’t have imagined.”

While Baron’s humility indicates he feels the award is somewhat “undeserved”, his resume tells otherwise. The founder and former CEO of PIER System, Inc., now AudienceCentral, an Internet-based crisis communication management system, and the president and founder of Baron and Company, a full-service marketing and public relations firm, Baron’s marketplace influence has a far reach. A short list of clients for these two Bellingham based businesses includes the Western Washington University College of Business and Economics, Coldwell Banker and the Shell Puget Sound Refinery.

“My dad was and is a true entrepreneur and started many different businesses,” says Baron. One of the most well-known being Lynden’s signature Christian radio station Praise 106.5 FM. Following in his dad’s footsteps, Baron’s career has been a progression of successful star-up businesses from publishing to public relations. In between these business ventures, Baron even found the time to write three books—the latest entitled Now is Too L ate: Corporate Survival in the Era of Instant News—and lecture as a professor of drama at Seattle Pacific University and communications at Trinity Western University. Baron also served as an advisor for TWU’s communications department.

“There’s a lot of emphasis in the business and professional world on financial and career success,” says Baron. “I do get a lot of satisfaction from creating an innovative communications tool, conducting seminars, and learning the books that I’ve written have been helpful. But I know those who are most to be envied are those who have learned to enjoy the journey of life and who realize that it’s the relationships we have that are the true source of meaning and fulfillment.”

“I’ve often said the true measure of success is what your children say about you to their friends. I have three wonderful children, thanks in large part to their wonderful mom, and they’re full of grace and mercy. Based on this, I think I’m pretty darn successful.”

While Baron and these graduates are at different points in their careers, sharing this milestone gives them a common life perspective. “Now we can’t help but think about what’s next.”

Whatcom County graduates include:

Apodaca, Michael Anthony, BA in biblical studies
Bajema, Julia Elise, BA in psychology
Gering, Jessica Rae, BA in history
McBride, Jodi Pamela, BA in communications
Van Dyken, Daniel Lane, BA in international studies

Borries, Naomi Ruth, BA in biblical studies
Cornmesser, Sharye Lyn, BA in general studies
Gilfillan, Brett Stuart, BA in history

Pederson, Brooke Christine, BA in general studies with distinction

Vaughn, Janell Rae, BA in drama

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,500 students this year. With a broad based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 38 major areas of study ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 13 other graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2015-07-16
Author: Keela Keeping