December 7, 2000
00-223

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

Dr. Hugh C. Bailey To Retire As President of Valdosta State University

Dr. Hugh C. Bailey, who engineered university status for Valdosta State University in the 1990's, announced today that he will retire as president of the school effective June 30, 2001. Bailey, who has served VSU as president for more than 22 years, is the senior four-year college president within the University System of Georgia.

Bailey made his retirement request to Chancellor Stephen R. Portch and the Board of Regents.

"Last year at this time, I seriously considered retirement in June of 2000, but decided not to do so because there were a number of undertakings I wished to see nearer realization." Bailey said in a prepared statement. "Conditions have progressed so much that it seems now is the right time to step down."

It is estimated that since Bailey came to Valdosta State in 1978, he has handed out more than 26,000 degrees to students. He has presided over the most dynamic period of time in the institution's 94 years, including the transition from Valdosta State College to Valdosta State University on July 1, 1993. Bailey's efforts were influential in making VSU one of Georgia's two regional universities, along with Georgia Southern University. Valdosta State now has a mission to serve an area of South Georgia including 41 counties and stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Alabama state line. With a current enrollment of 8,792 students, 48 states and 53 countries are represented.

"The years my wife and I have had at Valdosta State have been exciting and fulfilling," Bailey said. "We are grateful to the University System of Georgia, the governors, legislators, students, faculty, staff, alumni and the University's entire community for the splendid counsel and support they have given us. There is no doubt in my mind that Valdosta State University's service to its many constituencies will grow and its influence increase dramatically in the years ahead."

Under Dr. Bailey's leadership VSU's academic standards were increased and many new programs were added, including those at the masters, educational specialist and doctoral level. Among the new programs were the M..B.A., M.P.A., M.S.W. and Ed.D. and to begin next year, a M.L.I.S. (Master of Library and Information Sciences). Construction of new facilities on the VSU campus in recent years has gone over the $60 million mark. A new $3.3 million Special Education and Communication Disorders Building opened earlier this year and the new $22.4 million Biology/Chemistry Building will open for classes during Spring Semester 2001. A new $9.75 million student recreation center is under construction and a $14.2 million addition to the Odum Library is in the works, as well as other projects. Dr. Bailey has been recognized for his commitment to quality campus design, specifically his dedication to preserving the institution's unique Spanish Mission style of architecture.

Since arriving at Valdosta State, Dr. Bailey has worked to enhance the educational services provided to South Georgians. He has supervised VSU's emergence as an innovator and educational leader in Georgia. Some additional highlights during Dr. Bailey's tenure as president include the installation of a million-dollar satellite uplink facility that is capable of bringing VSU educational programming to a world audience; implementation of a doctorate in education program; pioneering efforts in distance learning through off-campus class sites, like Kings Bay Naval Base on Georgia's coast; and bringing the fine and performing arts to a rural region of the state.

Dr. Bailey was born in Berry, Ala., July 2, 1929. He earned his A.B. from Samford University (then Howard College) in Birmingham, Ala., and his M.A. in 1951 and Ph.D in 1954--both from the University of Alabama.

Bailey decided early on that he wanted to achieve academically, and help others to do so as well.

"I had some very good teachers who praised me and made me feel special. I think that is the secret to anything," Bailey said. "I learned that if I could engineer an experience of success for every student, then I would do so."

During his early years of teaching Dr. Bailey was a favorite of his pupils. He was named "friendliest professor" and received the "Excellence in Teaching Award" based on a vote by students at Samford University. He moved up through the ranks at Samford, chairing the Department of History and Political Science in 1967��-70 and serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1970-75.

In 1975, Dr. Bailey became vice president for academic affairs and dean at Francis Marion College in Florence S.C., from which he received the institution's Distinguished Service Award. He was named president of Valdosta State on June 28, 1978 and took office later that summer.

President Bailey and his wife, Joan, who serves as VSU's First Lady and coordinates many of the campus's special events and projects, have two grown daughters, Debra and Laura.