Dr. Hugh C. Bailey, a member of the Samford University faculty from 1953 until 1975 and later president of Valdosta State University, died Oct. 5 in Valdosta, Ga. He was 83.
Bailey was born in Berry, Ala., on July 2, 1929. He earned his B.A.in History from Samford University (then Howard College) in 1950 and Ph.D in 1954 from the University of Alabama.
Bailey returned to Samford University as a history and political science instructor in 1953, working his way up the ranks to assistant professor, associate professor, professor, head of the Department of History, chairperson of the Division of Social Sciences, and dean of the Howard College of Arts and Sciences. He was the author of seven books, six on Southern history. A popular lecturer, he won Samford's John H. Buchanan Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching and various other awards.
Bailey was named dean of Samford's Howard College of Arts and Sciences in 1970, serving until 1975, when he became academic vice president and dean of faculties at Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C. He was named president of what was then Valdosta State College in 1978.
Bailey served as president of the south Georgia school until 2001, leading it to achieve university status in 1993. He led numerous campus building, renovation and addition projects, and oversaw the creation of Valdosta State's intercollegiate football program. He awarded more than 33,000 diplomas to graduates during his tenure.
Bailey is survived by his wife, Joan Seever Bailey, two daughters and four grandchildren.
VSU Mourns Former President