Saint Martin’s University grieves the loss of exceptional
Professor Leslie G. Bailey, Ph.D.
January 7, 2011
Washington – Esteemed friend, colleague and English Professor
Leslie G. “Les” Bailey, Ph.D., died Dec. 24, 2010, at
Providence-St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Wash., from
complications of cancer. He was 68.
An endowment to benefit the University’s Department of
English is being established in Bailey’s name. Memorial gifts
can be sent to the Les Bailey Endowment at the Saint Martin’s
University Office of Development, 5300 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey,
“Les was beloved by students, faculty, staff and alumni,”
said Saint Martin’s University President Roy F. Heynderickx. “He
will be sorely missed by our community. His service to Saint
Martin’s was exemplary.”
Bailey was born Nov. 23, 1942, in Seattle. He grew up in
Pasco, where he graduated in 1960 from Pasco Senior High School.
In 1964, he graduated from Saint Martin’s College with majors
in English and biology, eyeing a medical career. Within months
of enrolling at Nebraska’s Creighton University School of
Medicine, he realized English, not medicine, was his calling. He
pursued a master of arts degree in English from Baylor
University in Texas, graduating 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,
A faculty member at Saint Martin’s since 1975, Bailey was a
gifted and inspiring educator whose greatest pleasure was in
finding students who wanted to learn.
Bailey shared his passion for the written word with
generations of students for 35 years. 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.
Bailey’s 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 studies 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, Bailey held several administrative posts,
including chair of the Department of English, dean of Humanities
and director of summer session. He had 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, including Sigma Mu Kappa Service
Bailey 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 the
University’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year,
Catholic, coeducational university located on a 380-acre wooded
campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic
Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 18 Benedictine
colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and
is the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s
University prepares students for successful lives through its 21
majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts,
business, education and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes
1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its
main campus, and 650 more to its five extension campuses located
at Fort Lewis Army Post, McChord Air Force Base, Olympic
College, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College.