Published on October 8, 2012 by William Nunnelley  

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.

A native of Berry in west Alabama, Dr. Bailey graduated from Samford in 1950 and earned his doctorate in history from the University of Alabama in 1953.  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.  A memorial service is scheduled Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 11 a.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Valdosta. 

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.