WMU News

Judith Bailey elected WMU's seventh president

May 9, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Acting at its May 9 meeting, the Western Michigan University's Board of Trustees unanimously approved the selection of Dr. Judith I. Bailey as the seventh president of Western Michigan University.

The nomination of Bailey, who has been president of Northern Michigan University since 1997, was brought to the board by Trustee Sarah DeNooyer of Kalamazoo, and approved by the full board, which includes three trustees who were among 14 members of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee. With the board's approval in hand, Bailey is now set to succeed Dr. Elson S. Floyd, who left WMU in January to become president of the University of Missouri system.

"The advisory committee was impressed with Dr. Bailey's commitment to students, her track record in economic development and fund raising, and her penchant for consensus building and establishing strong relationships," said Birgit Klohs, chairperson of the WMU Board of Trustees and a member of the search advisory committee. "The initiatives that she's focused on in her career are exactly those that will be critical to this university in the coming years."

"I've been delighted with what I've learned about the University over the past few weeks and I'm intrigued by the tremendous sense of energy and commitment of the faculty, staff and students I've met," Bailey said. "I literally cannot wait to become part of this community and help set its direction in what is clearly a challenging time--but one also filled with opportunity."

Bailey will begin her presidency at WMU this summer at a date still to be determined. Dr. Daniel M. Litynski, will continue to serve as interim president until that time. Once Bailey takes office, he plans to resume his post as WMU's provost and vice president for academic affairs.

In a separate action at the board meeting, trustees passed a resolution thanking Litynski for his service as interim president and praising his continuing work on behalf of the University.

Bailey is a longtime higher education administrator who established a reputation at NMU both in the area of fund raising and in promoting the use of technology on campus. She is credited with success in leading that school's first comprehensive capital campaign past its goal, and she spearheaded a campus initiative in 2000 that put laptop computers in the hands of every full-time student. NMU is the largest university to which IBM has awarded the designation of "ThinkPad University."

Prior to assuming the presidency at NMU, Bailey held positions as vice president of academic affairs and provost as well as vice president for research and public service at the University of

Maine. Before that, she served in leadership roles in the cooperative extension operations at that university as well as at the University of the District of Columbia and the University of Maryland. She also has taught at George Mason University and the University of Maryland.

A native of North Carolina, Bailey earned a bachelor's degree in English from Coker College in Hartsville, S.C.. That school honored her in 1998 with its Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. She earned master's and doctoral degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1973 and 1976, respectively. She also attended Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management in 1994 and took part in the institute's 1996 alumni seminar.

Bailey began her teaching career as a middle school language arts and social studies teacher in Virginia's Prince William County Public School System. She went on to teach at the high school level in Rhode Island for a year, then returned to Virginia to teach and serve as an administrator in the public school systems in Prince William and Stafford counties, before moving into the higher education arena.

She is a member of Rotary International and a number of professional organizations and has recently completed a gubernatorial appointment as a member of the Michigan Humanities Council. In 2002, she was honored with a Chief Executive Leadership Award at the international assembly of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Higher Education. Bailey was honored for her leadership in a district that covers six Midwestern states, including Michigan. CASE is the professional organization for higher education professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications and development.

Related story
NMU's Bailey recommended for WMU presidency

Media contact: Matt Kurz, 269 387-8400, matt.kurz@wmich.edu


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