On February 5, 2016, the following tribute to Kenneth P. Bailey, PhD, founding director of the UCI Office of Teacher Education/Senior Lecturer Emeritus, was included as part of the UCI School of Education's tribute to early faculty: We Salute You. The tribute was written by Senior Lecturer Emeritus and following OTE Director, Rita Peterson. Dr. Bailey served as founding director from 1967 to his retirement in 1980. The current School of Education owes much to his vision and his dedication as mentor, educator, researcher, and administrator.
Founding Director Kenneth P. Bailey, as remembered by Senior Lecturer Emeritus Rita Peterson (February 2000)
Kenneth P. Bailey was born on February 17, 1912 in Benton Harbor, Michigan; he was the second of three children adopted by Elton and Lulamae Bailey.
The Bailey family lived on a farm outside of Benton Harbor near a crossroads known as Bunker Hill. While living on the farm, Ken, his older sister Evelyn, and younger sister Loa attended a one-room school after performing their morning chores. Ken's job was to bring the sheep in from the pasture each morning and return them after school. Ken's father, a devout Seventh Day Adventist, gave the farm's meager profit to the church.
By the time Ken was 13 years old, his father sold the farm, packed the car with his family and all the belongings that would fit around three children and their parents, and headed West in search of a better life. Years later, Ken described their westward trip as reminiscent of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath; he and his father patched the automobile's tires all the way to LA.
Once settled in Los Angeles, Ken attended the Los Angeles Seventh Day Adventist Academy where he graduated with a high school diploma in 1929. At that time in his life, Ken envisioned going into medicine; but after a stint of working as an orderly in a LA hospital, he revised his plan.
In 1931, Kenneth Bailey entered UCLA and quickly became interested in history. He majored in the discipline and completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1934. During his undergraduate years Ken also enjoyed sports. He was a star rugby player, called “Red” Bailey by the press, for the color of his hair, and ultimately lettered not only in rugby but also in football, boxing, and wrestling.
During the Depression it was not easy to be a student at UCLA, but Bailey was resourceful. He lived in an unheated garage with his car, worked in the UCLA cafeteria for most of his meals, and had a tutoring job to help members of the football team remain eligible for competition. According to Bailey's daughter Darlene, Ken's favorite job was driving to Beverly Hills each morning to pick up The Daily Bruin from a printing house owned by Will Rogers, Jr. and deliver the newspapers to various places on campus.
Yet, in spite of his popularity and success as an athlete, Bailey loved history more, and continued his studies to earn a Master of Arts degree in history in 1936. Continuing his studies still further, in 1938 he was awarded the Ph.D. Degree in history, specializing in U.S. colonial history. Thus, Dr. Kenneth P. Bailey was the very first person in the history of the University of California, Los Angeles, to be awarded a Ph.D. Degree in any field. His dissertation, The Ohio Company of Virginia and the Westward Movement, 1748-1792, A Chapter in the History of the Colonial Frontier, was published as a book (360 pages with maps and index) by The Arthur H. Clark Co. in 1939, and awarded the “Outstanding Volume of American History by a Pacific Coast Writer” by the Pacific Branch of the American Historical Association. Bailey remained at UCLA for one year following his doctorate, serving as an Instructor. When he left, it would be 28 years before Ken Bailey would return to a UC campus to serve as a member of its distinguished faculty.
Following his departure from UCLA, Kenneth Bailey held a series of positions between 1939-1967 that provided him with a keen appreciation for California's public school educational programs and systems, first serving as Department Chair of Social Studies at Oceanside-Carlsbad College (1939-1944), then Professor of History and Dean of Students at Humboldt State College in Arcata (1945-1948), and back to Oceanside-Carlsbad High School and Junior College as Superintendent (1948-1950). During this period of transitions, Bailey continued his scholarly studies of U.S. colonial history and published two articles and two books: “George Mason, Westerner,” published in The William and Mary Quarterly Historical Magazine (1943); Thomas Cresap, Maryland Frontiersman, a book published by the Christopher Publishing House (1944); “Christopher Gist and the Trans-Allegheny Frontier: a Phase of the Westward Movement,” published in The Pacific Historical Review (1945); and The Ohio Company Papers, 1753-1817, Being Primarily Papers of the Suffering Traders of Pennsylvania, published by the California Society of the Sons of the Revolution (1947).
From Oceanside, Bailey moved to Long Beach City College as Coordinator of Community Services (1950-1953) and finally to San Bernardino to become the first principal of the new Pacific High School (1953-1967). Even as the principal of one of the largest high schools in California at the time, Bailey nevertheless took out time to write another book, this one more closely aligned to the public schools: Survey of American History, published by Edwards Brothers in 1965.
By 1967, a friend and fellow-historian from UCLA days, Dr. Samuel McCulloch, contacted Kenneth Bailey and encouraged him to apply for an opening at a new campus, UC Irvine, to develop a much-needed teaching credential program that would serve K-12 schools. When Bailey resigned as principal of Pacific High School, local newspapers were filled for weeks with fond farewells and reports of many social events honoring this cherished academic and community leader. So loyal to Bailey were those at Pacific High School that two faculty and two staff members followed him to UCI to work in the Office of Teacher Education.
Dr. Kenneth Bailey was appointed Director of the Office of Teacher Education in 1967 and served in that position until he retired in 1980 at the age of 69 years. During his 13-year tenure as director he developed seven credential programs, one each in early childhood education, elementary school teaching, secondary school teaching, intern teaching, special education, pupil personnel, and school administration. Every year, hundreds of students completed their credential programs under his leadership, and left UCI to serve in elementary and secondary schools throughout Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.
When I [Rita Peterson] arrived at UCI in 1981 to become the new Director of Teacher Education, I found a talented faculty and staff of nearly 50 professionals, all committed to the programs Bailey had initiated and to the students who had selected UCI as their first choice. The faculty and staff represented a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds even then, reflecting Bailey's capacity to look toward future social needs.
To this day, alumni still ask about Dr. Bailey and share their remembrances of this compassionate and insightful man, this friendly giant who towered above everyone else in height. Dozens tell the same story of how he had lined up ten chairs in his office, and how students moved from chair to chair until they were at the head of the line, all listening to Bailey's advice as he helped students, one after another, plan a sequence of courses that would allow them to achieve their academic goals.
When he retired, Bailey continued to have streams of students seeking his advice because their friends had told them to be sure to meet Dr. Bailey. He came to his office almost daily, and continued to teach, challenge, amuse, and inspire students for many years as Senior Lecturer, Emeritus.
When a person such as Bailey has deeply touched so many lives, one naturally thinks about the philosophy that underlies the behavior of that valued friend and colleague. Bailey once summarized his philosophy of education for a reporter for the UCLA Monthly, November-December Issue (1985). “Basically, my philosophy of education is reflected in the way this department is structured. Teaching methodology is our primary objective. It gives students the foundations for thinking critically--or for what I call using ‘suspended judgment.’ The other feature of this program is that we offer internships to students that will give them hands-on experience in the classroom.”
However, the philosophy that Bailey lived says more about the man and his philosophy. Through the collection of his publications (he authored ten published books and several articles in scholarly journals during his career), one sees a genuine devotion to scholarship and the study of American history. Regardless of the varied positions he held as dean of students, high school principal, superintendent of a community college, and other positions that did not require the publication of scholarly studies, he continued to search for and describe the contributions that individual Americans made in the nation's history during the Colonial Period of development. Such quiet scholarship as this earns a special place in our institution's heart.
Finally, there are those other personal dimensions that are part of the joy and sense of loss that close friends share. In his spare time, Kenneth Bailey was an avid gardener. Like everything else he did, he undertook gardening with great gusto. Every season brought abundance. Ken was legendary for bringing large baskets of fresh produce, roses, and fruit to the office, much to everyone's delight. Faculty and staff alike treasured not only the produce but also the generous gesture from such a busy colleague.
Kenneth Bailey died on January 24, 2000. He had lost his wonderful wife and life partner, Irene Marie Bailey on July 3, 1995. During the final years of his life he was loved, cared for, and cherished by his children, Kenneth, Jr. and Darlene, and their children. Special appreciation is due Darlene Bailey for the many details she provided for this memorial.
In the beginning....