“B” comes before “W” (and “H” for that matter) if you’re simply arranging things in alphabetical order but if you want to know which residential college was actually the first to open, the answer is Will Rice. Baker was in fact the last of the original four to begin operation.
It was a logistical problem that produced this result, an obvious one at that. But it’s exactly the sort of thing people don’t enjoy or don’t bother thinking about. The problem was this: when the switch was made to the college system there was only one operational commons on campus, the one that had always been there. Carl Wischmeyer, the first master of Baker College, explains in this letter, which invites English Professor Will Dowden and his wife to the inaugural celebration:
This Thresher article from the end of March, 1957 explains the complicated sequencing in detail:
Bonus: Rice fight never dies! (With thanks to David Pillen, Assistant AD for Marketing, who gets things done.)