Special gift pays tribute to longtime UK professor

Dr. Harry Hudson Bailey was a person known by every generation of UK agriculture students from 1956 to 1986. As professor of agronomy in the College of Agriculture, he taught the introductory plant sciences course which was a prerequisite for several degree programs in agriculture. Hundreds of students went through his classes over the years. One of them was Mike Richey ’73 ’79, UK Vice President for Development.

“Dr. Bailey was first and foremost an educator,” Richey remembers. “His passion was teaching students, and he gave them a quality classroom experience which prepared them for academic success in their chosen degree programs. He was a quiet, thoughtful, compassionate professor whose dedication and remarkable teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels impacted countless lives.”

Another former student, David W. Case ’79, recalls, “Dr. Bailey was kind and giving, and never hurried. He took all the time needed to answer students’ questions. I never had another professor who could teach the way he did.”

“We called him the ’dirt doctor,’” Case continues with a chuckle. “He would say, however, that dirt is what you bring in on your shoes, and soil is what you plant things in to make them grow.”

Outside the classroom, Dr. Bailey mentored students in other ways. He served as faculty advisor to agronomy students, provided guidance and leadership to the agronomy club, coached the University of Kentucky soil judging teams for 10 years, and served as advisor for FarmHouse fraternity for 15 years.

In recognition of his outstanding service to students, he was selected for the Gamma Sigma Delta (the honor society of agriculture) Master Teacher Award, the University of Kentucky Alumni Association Great Teacher Award, and the FarmHouse Master Builder of Men Award which was bestowed posthumously.

Prior to joining the University of Kentucky faculty, Dr. Bailey had a distinguished career as a soil surveyor with the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army during World War II and remained in the U.S. Army Reserves, attaining the rank of colonel. He served on active duty during the Korean War and was commandant of the 2085th U.S. Army Reserve School in Lexington for eight years.

Dr. Bailey and his wife, Ethyl “Terry” Childs Bailey ’57 ’61, shared a passion for teaching. Terry’s teaching career spanned three decades at Sayre School, The Lexington School and Woodford County. Throughout the years, they traveled to different countries taking on special teaching assignments or directing study tours. They spent four years in Indonesia with UK’s USAID program, teaching both undergraduate and graduate students in Bogor and Palembang.

In retirement, they became full–time volunteers with the International Book Project, a Lexington–based nonprofit organization which collects and sends thousands of books each year to dozens of developing countries. Dr. Bailey also served as president of Big Brothers of Lexington, and they were both active in Calvary Baptist Church.

“When my sister (Ruth L Bailey ’76), brother (Lee Bailey) and I were growing up, there was never a day that our parents were not teaching us something,” remembers daughter, Linda L. Bailey ’70. “From them we learned to think for ourselves, ask questions and stand up for what we believe.”

Dr. Bailey died unexpectedly in 1990 at the age of 69. One of his unfulfilled desires was to establish an endowed scholarship fund in the UK College of Agriculture. His wife of 42 years was mindful of this, and in her estate plan, she made provision for the creation of the Dr. H. H. Bailey Endowed Scholarship Fund in her husband’s memory. She passed away in 2013, and as funds were conveyed to the University to begin the endowment, Dr. and Mrs. Bailey’s adult children made gifts so that the first awards could be made to students, even before there had been time for the endowment to generate income for distribution as scholarships.

“I am delighted at what Dr. Bailey’s family members have done to perpetuate the memory and the extraordinary influence of this great man,” Richey shares. “Through this endowed fund, future generations of agriculture students will be helped toward their academic and career goals as others were by Dr. Bailey, himself, during the 31 years he was teaching. I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to the remarkable life and work of Dr. H. H. Bailey.”

Richey adds, “I believe those of us who had him as professor, advisor or mentor may also want to make a gift of gratitude to the Dr. H. H. Bailey Endowed Scholarship Fund to extend the legacy of this dedicated educator at the University of Kentucky.”

UK Director of Gift and Estate Planning, Ford Stanley ’91, notes, “It was a pleasure to work with the Bailey family as we established this endowment. It’s never too late to honor or memorialize someone with a special gift like this. I and my colleagues in the Office of Gift and Estate Planning are available to assist alumni and friends in creating gift plans which can accomplish their philanthropic goals at the University of Kentucky.”

Gifts for the Dr. H. H. Bailey Endowed Scholarship Fund can be made online at www.uky.edu/GiveNow, or they can be sent to University of Kentucky Philanthropy, Attn: Gift Receiving Office, William B.Sturgill Philanthropy Building, Lexington, KY 40504. Checks should be made payable to the University of Kentucky, with “Dr. H. H. Bailey Scholarship” written on the memo line. Ford Stanley is also available to answer any questions about the scholarship fund at giftandestate@uky.edu, or at (800) 875-6272 or (859) 257-7886.