Bailey Celebrated as College Icon, Mission Author
Sep 21, 2012
Dr. Carl Bailey, professor emeritus of physics, former dean of the college and author of Concordia’s mission statement, died Saturday. He was 94.
Born in Grafton, N.D., Bailey graduated from Concordia in 1940 with a degree in math and physics. He earned his master’s and doctorate in physics at the University of Minnesota and worked on the Manhattan Project (which developed the first atomic bomb), including three years at the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico.
He joined the Concordia faculty in 1947.
During his time at Concordia, Bailey was largely responsible for raising academic standards and for playing key roles in Concordia’s growth into a respected college of the church.
Former President Joseph Knutson once praised Bailey as being “our Leonardo da Vinci” who “lives the liberal arts idea."
Bailey was a man gifted in careful thinking and clear writing.
In 1962, Bailey contributed to the college’s first long-range planning document – a 28-word mission statement that continues to guide the college today:
“The purpose of Concordia College is to influence the affairs of the world by sending into society thoughtful and informed men and women dedicated to the Christian life.”
Professor Emeritus of History Dr. Carroll Engelhardt, who wrote the history of the college, said Bailey’s intellectual stature commanded the respect of faculty, which translated into higher academic standards at Concordia.
Bailey worked in unison with Knutson to move Concordia in the direction of being a “free Christian college,” in the sense that “free” did not restrict thought and Christian because its religious commitment would be vigorously maintained.
Bailey returned to teach at his alma mater because he believed that teachers, by multiplying themselves many times, could make greater contributions than researchers.
“Ironically,” Engelhardt wrote, “this would-be professor was drafted by Knutson to become an administrator,” and he served with distinction as academic dean and a key leader of the college from 1957 to 1971.
In 1957, Bailey learned from four Cobber physics graduate students that an ion accelerator used for atomic research was available. As head of the physics department and as a former nuclear scientist, Bailey set in motion the events that brought the kevatron to campus in April 1958. He also secured a particle accelerator from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1976 to enhance research opportunities for Concordia’s physics students.
Other Bailey innovations included improving benefits for faculty including higher salaries, a defined faculty appointment policy, a tenure system and leave program. He also wrote an academic freedom statement that permitted professors to express themselves freely as long as they were temperate and dignified.
He was honored as the Reuel and Alma Wije Distinguished Professor in 1972, and in 1973 was the first recipient of the Ole and Lucy Flaat Distinguished Service Award at Concordia.
Bailey received an honorary doctorate from Concordia in 1992 and was honored with an Alumni Achievement Award in 2001.
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