The Valdosta Daily Times
Hugh C. Bailey was born in Berry, Alabama on July 2, 1929, the son of Mr. Coleman Costello Bailey and Susie Jane Jenkins Bailey. He received a BA Degree from Samford University in 1950 and a MA and PhD from the University of Alabama in 1951 and 1954. He was a member of the Samford faculty from 1953 to 1975, serving as Dean of the Howard College of Arts and Sciences from 1970 to 1975. He was Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties of Francis Marion College (now Francis Marion University) in Florence, South Carolina from 1975 to 1978. He served as President of Valdosta State University from 1978 to 2002.
As a historian and administrator, Dr. Bailey had a number of reviews published in regional and national publications. He also wrote seven books, one of which won an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. He received many awards and grants, including the Excellence in Teaching Award and Friendliest Professor Award at Samford University, the Distinguished Service Award from Francis Marion University, the Distinguished Service Award from the International Social Science Society Pi Gamma Mu, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, and an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship. He was President of the Alabama Writers Conclave and from 1984 to 1990 was International President of Pi Gamma Mu. His memberships included Phi Kappa Phi (scholarship); Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership); Phi Alpha Theta (history); Pi Gamma Mu (social science); Fellow, The Royal Society of Arts; the American Historical Association; and many others.
In his local community, Dr. Bailey served as President of the Valdosta Chapter of the American Red Cross, The South Georgia Partnership for Health, and the Valdosta Kiwanis Club, and he was a founding Board Member of Leadership Lowndes. In 1998 he was named Distinguished Citizen by the Alapaha Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. In 2003, he was Chairman of Habitat for Humanity’s Jimmy Carter Work Project, which raised one million dollars locally and built 25 houses in Valdosta. In 2011, Dr. Bailey was honored with the Community Service Award of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Association. He served for many years on the Boards of the Salvation Army Valdosta Corps and United Way of Lowndes County and was a Vestryman and active member of Christ Episcopal Church.
During his tenure as President, Dr. Bailey supervised Valdosta State University’s emergence as an innovator and educational leader in Georgia. Under his leadership, Valdosta State more than doubled its enrollment and became one of the state’s two regional universities. He personally presented over 33,000 degrees to students during his years as President.
New programs introduced during his presidency included the MPA, MSW, MSN, MBA (Accounting), MLIS and Ed.D., all of which were accredited by their respective accrediting agencies. The University established the first College of the Arts in the University System, which greatly enriched the cultural life of the region and served as the birthplace of the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra. Also under Dr. Bailey’s leadership, the physical facilities of the campus expanded significantly – including the creation of the University Center Complex, the Physical Education Complex, a Student Recreation Center with indoor swimming pool, the Communication Disorders Building, the addition that doubled the size of the Odum Library, the renovation of West Hall, and a 158,000 square foot Science Center which was later named the Hugh C. Bailey Science Center. Dr. Bailey was honored by the Georgia Association of the American Institute of Architects for recognition of his work to promote quality design and preservation of the Spanish Mission architecture on the VSU campus.
In 1998, Dr. Bailey led the University in adopting new admission standards, the first University System Institution to do so. He pioneered a long distance education program and the expansion of offsite campuses such as Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, as well as installing a multimillion dollar satellite uplink facility for transmitting VSU programming to the world. Other University achievements during Dr. Bailey’s tenure included the Theater Program, which annually received over half the awards in the theatre area for the entire University System, the launch and establishment of the Football Program, and the creation of the Marching Band.
When asked about his career and his passion for education, Dr. Bailey once said, “I strive to draw on the creativity and energy of others to help them develop talents they may not know they possess. I hope that our region and our state are richer because of this fact.” Indeed they are.
Hugh C. Bailey is survived by his beloved wife of 50 years, Joan Seever Bailey; his daughters Debra Jane and Laura Joan; sons-in-law Mark Helwig and Thomas Singletary; four grandchildren: Alex, Clare, Avery, and Bailey; and cousin Jack Bailey and his wife Patsy of Birmingham, Alabama.
A Memorial Service for Dr. Bailey will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, October 10, 2012, at Christ Episcopal Church, with Rev. Tar Drazdowski, Rev. Joye Cantrell, Rev. Jim Elliott and Rev. Deacon Patricia Marks officiating. A private interment will take place in the Urn Garden of Christ Episcopal Church. The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Monday, October 8, 2012, at the Carson McLane Funeral Home.
The family asks that donations in lieu of flowers be made to the Hugh C. Bailey Scholarship Fund at the Valdosta State University Foundation.
Condolences may be conveyed online at www.mclanecares.com. — Carson McLane Funeral Home, Valdosta.