Colleagues, students, and family members of Karl Baehr paid a final farewell to the faculty member in a memorial service at the Cutler Majestic Theatre on January 17.
Baehr, a father of two, died in November at age 54.
He became an Emerson faculty member in 2004, and was senior executive-in-residence in Marketing Communication, where he established the highly successful Emerson Experience in Entrepreneurship Program (E3), which has students develop their own business ventures. Several former students who successfully started businesses because of the program spoke or performed at the memorial service.
The ceremony began with music by the band Rush—one of Baehr’s favorites—playing on the loudspeakers.
Doug Quintal, senior executive-in-residence, called Baehr “my closest friend.”
“Karl was an iconic, larger-than-life individual,” Quintal said. “He had an unparalleled sense of humor and possessed both a tremendous capacity for love as well as an uncanny knack for making people’s dreams come true.”
Quintal later performed a musical tribute with others in Baehr’s memory.
“Karl blessed our lives as father, as son, as brother, as professor, as mentor, as advisor, and of course, as a friend,” said Emerson President Lee Pelton. “Karl loved life and life loved him. If there was ever a person who we thought would live forever, it was Karl Baehr.”
Juma Innis ’13, a local rap artist who created his own entertainment business after completing Baehr’s business classes, choked back tears before performing a song.
“The best statement I could make was to just show up,” said Innis, “because Karl showed up when you needed him.”
“He would always give you a push, even if you didn’t know you needed it,” Chen said. “That’s why it’s been three years and Evy Tea is still running.”
“I will always miss him,” she said. “Because of him, I am who I am.”
James DiSabatino ’09, owner of Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese, credited Baehr for “literally answering every business question I had.”
Pelton said Baehr was one of the first to schedule a meeting with him after becoming the president of Emerson about two and a half years ago.
“Of course, his purpose was to exult the many varied virtues of the E3 program,” Pelton said. “More importantly, he wanted to test the depth of my support for the entrepreneurial [program that he] cultivated here. I hope he left well pleased that we shared a commitment to innovation, inventiveness, and creativity.”
Other speakers included Phillip Glenn, interim dean of the School of Communication; Donald Hurwitz, interim chair of Marketing Communication; former E3 students Jon Allen ’14, Derrick Chung ’12, Hiroki Murakami ’12; Baehr’s longtime friend and business partner, Thomas J. Crane; and friend and business associate Barb Finer, CEO of TechSandBox.
Emerson is now accepting gifts in honor of Karl Baehr to support entrepreneurial activities at the College.