Vice president of Student Affairs set to retire

Howard Bailey is the vice president for Student Affairs. After working at WKU for 45 years, Bailey will be retiring. Tyger Williams/Special to the Herald

Marcel Mayo

Vice President of Student Affairs Howard Bailey will retire on Dec. 31 of this year after being part of WKU’s history for 45 years. 

In an email sent to all faculty and staff on Oct. 21, President Gary Ransdell shared the news of Bailey’s retirement. 

“I’ve been thinking about it quite some time,” said Bailey. 

According to the email, Bailey came to WKU as a student in 1966 from Middlesboro and has spent his entire career at WKU except for a one-year stint at North Carolina State University. 

Bailey said he wanted to retire last academic school year but needed to tackle some unfinished tasks before he left his position. 

“I planned to retire last year, and some issues came up that I decided I needed to take care of before I left,” he said. 

Bailey said he feels very satisfied with leaving the division in good standing. A replacement for Bailey has not yet been named. 

“That will be Dr. Ransdell’s decision. He and I had very private discussions on that,” he said.  

Ransdell said Bailey has put a number of talented people in senior positions, and many have risen to the point at which they have an opportunity to express interest in Bailey’s position. 

“I haven’t fully decided how I’m going to approach it yet, but we were fortunate enough to have some talented people in that division,” Ransdell said. 

Bailey said he wants students to remember him as a mentor.

“Students remember me for [being] one that has taught them how to be good citizens and one to always help them,” said Bailey. 

He said even after he retires, he still wants to continue to help students. 

“I [would] like to teach a class and do some consulting,” said Bailey. 

Bailey has held many positions with the university since his undergraduate years: resident assistant, assistant hall director, coordinator in the Student Affairs division, assistant dean, dean of students, associate vice president and vice president, his current position. 

Ransdell said Bailey’s entire experience at WKU has been in Student Affairs in one form or another. The president said Bailey has been the classic role model of someone who rises through the ranks; in Bailey’s case, he earned the opportunity to become a vice president. 

Apart from his work at WKU, Bailey has also been active in the Bowling Green community. 

Ransdell’s email to faculty and staff highlighted Bailey’s involvement in the community. Among his accolades were eight years on the Board of Directors for Bowling Green Municipal Utilities, status as a founding member of the Kentucky Association of Blacks in Higher Education and help in establishing and serving on the board of the Bowling Green Human Rights Commission. 

Bailey told faculty and staff about his retirement on Oct. 21. 

“I met with our staff before the email went out so they could personally ask questions. I owe them the respect of them finding out from me and not an email,” Bailey said. 

Ransdell said Bailey is a good man and certainly earned his retirement. 

“What an amazing legacy he leaves WKU,” Ransdell said.