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Guy Bailey becomes 37th president

Ashley Chaffin

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Guy Bailey became the 37th president of The University of Alabama on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Following a search that began in March, the Board of Trustees elected Bailey as the next president Wednesday, July 11, at a public meeting.

Bailey, who graduated from the University with a bachelor’s degree in 1972 and a master’s degree in 1974, spent four years as president of Texas Tech University before accepting the job at Alabama.

“As an experienced university president from a campus that has achieved significant growth in enrollment, academic stature and research, Guy Bailey is ideally suited to lead the Capstone,” said Robert Witt, UA System Chancellor and former UA president. “I am delighted to welcome him aboard and look forward to working with him.”

As Texas Tech’s president, Bailey focused on growth. When he arrived at TTU in the fall of 2008, the school’s enrollment was at 28,422. By the fall of 2011, the enrollment reached 32,000 – the largest in the school’s history. During the following spring and summer semesters, the enrollment also hit record highs, with 30,000 students and 11,000 students, respectively.

“Dr. Bailey has been very involved in recruiting trips all over the state, much like Dr. Witt did [as president of UA],” Chris Cook, managing director of the Office of Communications and Marketing at TTU, told The Crimson White in an interview over the summer.

Additionally, the past seven semesters at TTU have seen record enrollments, with each surpassing the number of students during that semester the year before.

“When the Search Committee met Dr. Bailey, he immediately reminded us of Dr. Witt,” said Trustee Karen Brooks, who chaired the UA Presidential Search Committee. “Guy Bailey is student-centered, results-oriented and totally dedicated to the pursuit of excellence. I think he is the perfect match for The University of Alabama and we’re so pleased he has arrived.”

Texas Tech students said Bailey had an open-door policy and worked to diversify the TTU student population. Texas Tech SGA president Alex Alston told The CW over the summer he didn’t have a negative experience with Bailey as TTU’s president.

“I believe Dr. Bailey’s greatest strength would be his will to step out of his office and be among the University population,” Alston said. “He has this attention to detail that really helps the University strive to be among the best within Texas.”

Judy Bonner, who has served as interim president since Robert Witt was selected as chancellor of the UA System on March 5, will return to her position as provost as Bailey takes over as president. Bonner sent out a campus-wide email Friday, Aug. 31, welcoming Bailey to the campus.

“Dr. Bailey joins us at a wonderful time in the University’s history and we have so much to be proud of,” Bonner said in the emailed statement. “As we work together to achieve the goals and objectives of his administration, we will continue to build on our progress. We will continue to maintain our momentum. We will continue to focus on the issues that are most important and deserve our highest priority.”

During Bailey’s time as president, he will be living in the President’s Mansion, a break from the policy of former president Chancellor Robert Witt, who lived off-campus. He will begin his first day on campus by meeting with the press and taking questions at 10 a.m. in Room 205 of Gorgas Library.

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Guy Bailey becomes 37th president