Hugh C. Bailey
Oct 08, 2012 | 1052 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hugh C. Bailey was born in Berry on July 2, 1929, the son of Coleman Costello Bailey and Susie Jane Jenkins Bailey. He graduated from Berry High School in 1946, received a BA degree from Samford University in 1950, and received 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 University in Florence, South Carolina from 1975 to 1978. He served as president of Valdosta State University from 1978 to 2001.

As a historian and administrator, Bailey had a number of reviews published, and he 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 Pi Gamma Mu, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship.

In his local community, Bailey served as president of the Valdosta Chapter of the American Red Cross, The South Georgia Partnership for Health and the Valdosta Kiwanis Club. 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, Ga. 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.

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.

A memorial service for Bailey will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 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 to 8 p.m. today, Oct. 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

Carson McLane Funeral Home, Valdosta, Ga.;

(229) 242-5544