Leslie G. Bailey Endowment
Shortly after Les’ death, The Leslie G. Bailey Endowment to
benefit the Saint Martin’s University Department of English was
established by a group of Les’ close friends and colleagues,
with the assistance of the university’s advancement office.
Funds raised early on for the endowment already are being
used in support of the Les Bailey’s Tennyson Award, a financial
award given to an English major for an outstanding English
paper. The selection of the recipient is determined by members
of the Saint Martin’s English faculty and presented during the
school’s annual Honor’s Convocation in late April.
At some point in the future, a small financial award in the
name of the Les Bailey Scholarship will be given annually to a
deserving English major who meets the university’s Office of
Financial Aid criteria.
In the latter half of 2013, the initial amount of funds
required to fully meet endowment status were raised, providing
the go-ahead for the third part of Les’ endowment. Meeting this
milestone allows for the planning and development of the
inaugural Les Bailey Writers Series event to begin in earnest,
projected to take place on the university campus in the fall of
2014. The intention of this annual event is to bring writers and
authors of note to campus to read and discuss their books, a
practice that was an especially meaningful part of Les’ teaching
philosophy. The event will be open and free of charge to Saint
Martin’s students and community, as well as promoted to the
broader Olympia-area community.
For more information on the series, please contact
Leslie G. Bailey, Ph.D.
Department overview • English (M.,
Writing (m.) •
Les Bailey Writers Series •
Sigma Tau Delta
The son of Joseph George and Gertrude Marie “Trudy” Raupp Bailey,
Leslie George “Les” Bailey was born Nov. 23, 1942, in Seattle. His
family moved to Pasco in 1948. A 1960 graduate from Pasco Senior
High School, he enjoyed Thespians, tennis, outdoor activities and
water-skiing on the nearby Columbia and Snake rivers.
He graduated from Saint Martin’s College in 1964, where he
majored in English and biology with a minor in chemistry, eyeing
a medical career. Within months of enrolling at Nebraska’s
Creighton University School of Medicine, he realized a career in
English, not medicine, was his calling. He obtained a Master of
Arts degree in English from Baylor University in Texas in 1966.
His doctorate in English was completed in 1975 at Indiana
University, where he also was an instructor and review editor
for the journal, “Victorian Studies.”
In 1975, Les returned to teach at Saint Martin’s, where he
shared his passion for the written word with generations of
While his legendary strictness and lofty standards terrified
the uninitiated, his students soon discovered the deep
compassion, gentleness and puckish sense of humor that were
hallmarks of his personality. Numerous students became guests at
his famed gourmet meals. Many became lifelong friends. Despite
his debilitating illness, he continued teaching until his death.
He was a gifted and inspiring educator whose greatest pleasure
was in finding students who wanted to learn.
Les’ passion for English fiction and poetry and for the
Victorian era was life-long. As a graduate student, he centered
his research on the works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Britain’s
most famous poet laureate. His extensive research on Tennyson
took him back to Great Britain several times. He also spent a
semester in Shanghai, where he taught English to Chinese
students at one of Saint Martin’s University’s sister schools.
At Saint Martin’s, Les served in several administrative
posts, including chair of the Department of English, dean of
Humanities and director of summer session. He served on the
university’s faculty senate, 2007-08 presidential search
committee and many other committees. He also was a member of the
university’s honorary, The Society of Fellows, and advised
student organizations, most notably Sigma Mu Kappa service
Les was a lifetime member of The Tennyson Society, The
Trollope Society and The Research Society for Victorian
Periodicals. Of his many honors, he was tapped in 2002 for Saint
Martin’s University’s “Distinguished Alumni Award.”
Les died Dec. 24, 2010, at Providence St. Peter Hospital in
Olympia, Wash., from complications of cancer. He was 68.