Judith I. Bailey, president of Western Michigan University, will give the Virginia Tech Graduate School commencement address at 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 13, in Cassell Coliseum.

Bailey, who was just selected as the winner of Virginia Tech's 2005 Graduate Alumni Achievement Award, became the seventh president of Western Michigan University in June 2003. Since, the Winston-Salem, N.C., native has overseen the university's largest capital campaign ever. She also was instrumental in establishing the Biosciences Research and Commercialization Center at WMU with a $10 million grant from the state to promote life sciences research and commercialization in Michigan. She also helped direct the formation of the WMU Research Foundation that facilitates the commercialization of patents and other technology developed at the university.

Prior to becoming WMU's president, she served as president of Northern Michigan University from 1997 until 2003, where she made a name for herself in the fields of fund raising and technology promotion, including getting each full-time student a laptop computer.

In 1995, Bailey served as the University of Maine's provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. From 1988 to 1993, she held other titles at the University of Maine including assistant vice president and director of Cooperative Extension, interim vice president for research and public service, and vice president for research and public service, respectively.

In 1980, Bailey was the University of the District of Columbia's deputy director for Cooperative Extension, which she held for eight years. Prior to 1980, she held faculty positions at George Mason University as an adjunct (1978) and at the University of Maryland as a human relations coordinator and assistant professor (1976-1980).

She served in the public schools initially as an English teacher and moved into an assistant principal's position for Prince William County in 1972. In 1973, she became Stafford County's coordinator of secondary education for two years and then its coordinator of middle schools.

She earned her bachelor's from Coker College in South Carolina, which presented her its Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award in 1998, and her master's and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech in 1973 and 1976, respectively. She attended Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management in 1994 and its 1996 alumni seminar.

Each May, approximately 5,000 Virginia Tech undergraduate, graduate, and professional students complete their degree requirements and participate in commencement ceremonies. Approximately 15,000 to 20,000 family members and guests travel to Blacksburg to join graduating students.

For more information on Virginia Tech spring commencement activities, visit the commencement website.

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