2018 Haupert Humanitarian Award
Lauren A. Baksa ’97, MBA ’99
The Haupert Humanitarian Award honors an alumna or alumnus who has rendered outstanding service in the cause of human welfare. The Alumni Association is honored to present the 2018 Haupert Humanitarian Award to Lauren Baksa ’97 in recognition of her continuous contributions to better the lives of little people locally and nationally.
Lauren Baksa knows firsthand the struggles little people face in today’s society: accessibility issues, points and stares, and the dreaded label midget. So, since 2003, Baksa has been actively advocating for herself and others through her work with Little People of America.
Within the organization, Lauren has collaborated with the advocacy group to contact schools around the country whose sports teams or mascots have the word midget in their names, encouraging them to change it. (The word midget has a negative, degrading connotation.) The group hasn’t always been successful in getting teams to change their names, but they’ve created awareness that the word is no longer socially acceptable.
As part of her efforts, Lauren helped with an episode of the TV show Extreme Home Makeover in which parents whose daughter was a little person redid their entire home to make it more accessible to her. The show not only succeeded in the renovations but brought to light the challenges little people face every day.
Lauren also volunteers each June at Camp Victory, a handicap-accessible camp located in Millville, Pennsylvania. For a weekend, little people children and their families enjoy a variety of little-people-friendly activities. She says the smiles on the kids’ faces when they reach the top of the climbing wall by themselves are priceless.
Lauren has done this work with her fellow little people all while holding day jobs in billing departments of several Lehigh Valley companies, including Moravian Village of Bethlehem, PennMed Consultants, Exigo Consulting, and Lehigh Valley Pain Management.
Lauren graduated from Moravian College in 1997 with a bachelor of arts degree in accounting. She went on to get her master’s in business administration from Moravian in 1999. In addition to Little People of America, she is president of the Saucon Valley Lions Club, where she’s been an active member since 2014.