Baileys to Serve as Parade Grand Marshals

September 28, 2010

Baileys to Serve as Parade Grand Marshals

VALDOSTA -- Valdosta State University has announced that President Emeritus Hugh C. Bailey, and his wife Joan, will serve as this year’s grand marshals in the homecoming parade on Friday, Oct. 1. The Baileys were invited to be this year’s grand marshals by VSU President Patrick J. Schloss and Dr. Maureen Schloss. The parade begins at 6 p.m. at the intersection of Woodrow Wilson Drive and Patterson Street, and will head south to conclude at Brookwood Avenue.

A staunch advocate for higher education, Bailey set forth a vision for Valdosta State that led to increased academic standards, new degrees at the master’s, educational specialist and doctoral levels. He also worked to enhance education accessibility to students throughout South Georgia, including the installation of the satellite up-link facility. Valdosta State now serves as a leader within Georgia in the number of courses offered online in both the bachelor’s and master’s level.

Bailey led the construction of more than $80 million in new facilities including the P.E. Complex, University Center, Special Education and Communications Disorders Building, Student Recreation Center, and the Hugh C. Bailey Science Center, which was named in his honor in April 2006.

When you ask him to talk about achievements and highlights during his 23 years of service, and those for which he’s proudest, he says several come to mind -- but achieving university status in 1993 is certainly at the top of the list. More than 20 years later, he can remember every detail leading up to that paramount announcement.

“It was not an easy task, many years of work and a great struggle. The day we were notified that we received regional university status was a day of great celebration,” Bailey said. “It came down to the very last few hours, even minutes of the legislative session.”

By becoming a regional university, Bailey said Valdosta State has impacted thousands of students and served as the major catalyst for economic growth in Lowndes County and all of South Georgia.

An ardent Blazer fan -- often wearing his signature red jacket -- Bailey presided during years of tremendous growth in Valdosta State’s athletic programs including the establishment of the football team. Now in its 28th year, with two NCAA DII national titles and multiple Gulf South Conference championships, Blazer football is becoming a Saturday passion for students, alumni and friends of the university.

The Baileys are honored and excited to be part of this year’s homecoming activities. Though their “official” duties concluded nine years ago, they still consider Valdosta State University home and family.

Much like a mother, Joan Bailey smiles when she recalls people and events from Valdosta State that are forever etched in her memory; and with great pride she says “Valdosta State is our third child, it will be forever part of our life.”