CORVALLIS, Ore. – Samuel H. Bailey, a journalist, educator and public relations executive at Oregon State University for almost 40 years, died on Dec. 13. He was 87.
Bailey, a Utah native, veteran of World War II and master’s degree graduate of the University of Wisconsin, began his service at what was then Oregon State College in 1947, as an assistant professor of journalism. He soon served as director of the information office of the Agricultural Experiment Station, and then pioneered the development of the university’s news bureau.
In more than three decades of university service that ended with his retirement in 1986, Bailey’s work earned many career awards and honors, and he shaped what is now the Department of News and Communication Services at OSU. The university’s reputation for honesty, integrity and quality in news services was largely built on a foundation that Bailey established, former colleagues said.
“Sam was an old-school journalist who understood news, demanded accuracy, and served as a valued mentor to countless students and colleagues over the years,” said David Stauth, an OSU science writer. “He had a work ethic that would put people 30 years younger to shame, and always insisted on prompt distribution of news about university research, programs or events, even if an issue was controversial.”
Gwil Evans, a former student of Bailey’s and a long-time colleague, said his mentor was a perfect fit for Oregon State.
“Sam ‘got it,’ the real meaning of a Land Grant institution serving the state, and he built a stellar reputation and great trust with the news media for balanced, objective reporting about what went on here – favorable, or occasionally, unfavorable,” Evans said. “In his trademark short-sleeve white shirt, dark narrow tie and slacks, Sam had a smile and a greeting for everyone. And he knew most everyone on campus, having written about their work at one time or another.”
Mark Floyd, assistant director of News and Communication, described Bailey as a superb teacher as well as a journalist.
“Sam was very patient, rarely critical and always took the time to point out how a story could be better,” Floyd said. “He continually emphasized our accountability as a public institution. Clever writing wasn’t nearly as important to Sam as clearly demonstrating the impact of OSU’s teaching, research and outreach missions – and how the university was wisely using its public resources.”