Remembering a Transformational Leader


Remembering a Transformational Leader


Dr. Thomas P. Bailey, Sr.
President and Professor Emeritus of History of Religion
Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary

“It’s said that every organization has a ‘glue person.’ Dr. Thomas P. Bailey was one such person for the institution that today is Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary. His finger was on the institution’s pulse from his days as a student in the Missionary Training Institute’s (MTI) three-year program. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Taylor University, Master of Arts at Columbia University and Master of Philosophy at Union Theological Seminary. But this indomitable member of a Nyack legacy family not only saw what Nyack was; he saw what it could become. It is because of his transformational leadership that Nyack earned the status of an accredited liberal arts college.

Dr. Bailey served his country in 1944 as a U.S. Army chaplain in Germany, France, and Austria during WWII and was also in Patton’s Third Army, 65th Division in the Western Allied Invasion of Germany. He also served during the Korean War. He earned the EAME Campaign Medal with two battles stars, the American Campaign Medal, the WWII Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal, and the U.S. Army Reserve Medal with cluster. He continued in the Reserves until his retirement with the rank of Colonel in 1977.

With more than three decades of dedicated service, this Nyack Warrior’s imprint has been on the hearts of generations of Nyack/ATS students during his career as part-time instructor (1947), Dean of Men (1949-1951), Associate Professor of History (1953), Director of Admissions (1953-1958), Academic Dean (1958-1977), and Vice President for Academic Affairs (1971). In 1975, he became Nyack’s seventh president. At his retirement in 1982, he was named Professor Emeritus of History of Religion.

Tom led Nyack to take tremendous steps forward without ever stepping off course, and he did so with uncanny gentleness, humor, and grace. Perhaps no individual since Dr. Simpson has had more of a shaping influence on Nyack College and ATS than he. Every Nyack College and ATS graduate who has been afforded the opportunity to serve, to work, and to excel because of his or her degree owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. Tom Bailey. As do I."

Dr. Michael G. Scales
Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary
June 2016

Reflections from Colleagues

“Loved and admired by all students, staff, and faculty for so many decades, Dr. Thomas Bailey was that rare man whose winsome spirit, wry humor, and indiscriminate love for all -- from the rebel to the righteous -- cause us to believe that heaven has been enriched. I can imagine that many-an angel was eager to have Tom join the heavenly ranks so they could enjoy firsthand our Dean Bailey, as I knew him best. Truly, he was one of God's greatest gifts to Nyack.”

Dr. David E. Schroeder
11th President
Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary

“Colleges that have a visionary and dynamic founder are truly blessed of God. But it is often in the leaders that follow the founder that God’s good favor is demonstrated. God’s good favor was indeed demonstrated by placing Dr. Thomas Bailey at the forefront of Nyack’s leadership for over thirty years.

American higher education changed dramatically after, and because of, World War II, and Dr. Bailey led tremendous change at Nyack while ensuring that the College would remain true to its founder. Having been one of the first American servicemen to enter Auschwitz and then having served as an observer at the Nuremberg Trials, Dr. Bailey was called by God to broaden the horizons of Nyack’s students to serve not just in the Church, but in all aspects of society to be the salt and light for a world wracked with pain.

As Academic Dean, and then as President, Dr. Bailey led the transformation of Nyack into a Christian liberal arts college that met the high standards of the Middle States Commission for accreditation of higher education. He launched the College’s degree programs in liberal arts education and even laid out the vision for the current nursing program.

Dr. Bailey was more, however, than the right leader at the right time for Nyack. He was a man of great personal faith who expressed his faith in his love for others and in the joy that he displayed in the classroom and in poking fun at colleagues. Indeed, he was deeply beloved by all the faculty, staff, and students. All of us thought of you as our dad, and we will miss you.

Dr. David Turk,
Provost and
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary

Tom was my leader, colleague, and friend. As leader, he guided me in the early stages of becoming a college professor and successfully guided the college through turbulent times. As a colleague, he inspired me to stretch beyond the confines of my academic discipline and engage a wide variety of perspectives. Tom was never afraid to explore the ideas of scholars with diverse viewpoints. As a friend, he will always be remembered as one who made me feel that he considered me to be special. I will greatly miss this kind and gracious Christian gentleman.

Dr. David K. Huttar
Nyack College
Professor Emeritus of Bible and Greek

Dr. Thomas P. Bailey was the son of a rich family gospel heritage which grew out of the lay ministry of his father, Nathan Bailey, Sr. and now has extended to the third and fourth generations and beyond in brothers, sisters, children, nieces, and nephews.

Tom Bailey was the special gift of the Bailey family to Nyack. It was he, along with a few other senior leaders, who strategically bridged the gap between the Nyack of the legendary Missionary Training Institute of its founding to the Nyack College and ATS of today, designed to meet the demands of recent decades in preparing young people for effective gospel ministry in today's world.

Dr. Bailey's ministry on the "Hillside" was diverse and effective. Graduating from MTI in 1939, he first served in pastoral ministry, and from the middle ‘40s on, served in many capacities on campus—as instructor, Dean of Men, Director of Admissions, Registrar, Academic Dean, and finally President and Professor Emeritus.

I struggle to find the right words to describe him. The words of Luke concerning Barnabas in Acts 11:24 are a good start. "He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith." Although we mourn the passing of our friend and past President, we rejoice that he is now in the eternal presence of his Savior and reunited with his beloved wife, Joyce.

Dr. Rexford A. Boda
Nyack College
President Emeritus

Dr. Bailey was a good friend and a competent and encouraging leader. During his tenure as president of Nyack College, he strengthened faculty and programs even though small colleges at the time were having difficulty with enrollment and finances. On the lighter side, he often took coffee with a few of us at a local restaurant. He would frequently ask, in good humor, before he sat down if we thought he might be too handsome for his height. We always assured him that this was something he didn’t have to be concerned about. But his stature as a good person, a good soldier, a good administrator, and a cherished friend will never be diminished. He will be missed.

Rev. L. Jay Mapstone
Vice President and Dean of the College


In lieu of flowers, the Bailey family asks that donations be made to Nyack College for the Thomas and Joyce Bailey Scholarship Fund.



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Dr. Thomas P. Bailey served as Nyack’s seventh president.

He was a U.S. Army chaplain who served in Germany, France, and Austria during WWII.

A respected scholar, Dr. Bailey poured his heart into achieving liberal arts status for Nyack College.

The success of Nyack students was Tom Bailey’s mission.

He and Mrs. Bailey lovingly welcomed students into their home.

Dr. Bailey shares a contemplative moment on “the Wall” overlooking the Hillside.

Dr. Marion Howe (l) and Dr. David Huttar (r) were among the many colleagues who enjoyed Dr. Bailey’s friendship.

Bailey Library is a Nyack Rockland County campus landmark.

At a Nyack/ATS faculty and staff luncheon, Dr. Bailey celebrates with friends.

The family gathered on the Rockland campus in Shuman Hall to celebrate Dr. Bailey’s 90th birthday.

(l-r) Former Nyack/ATS presidents—Dr. David Rambo, Dr. Rexford Boda, Dr. Thomas Bailey and Dr. David Schroeder—were present for the inauguration of Dr. Michael Scales (c) as the twelfth president of Nyack/ATS.

Today Dr. Bailey’s nephew, Dan Bailey, is Nyack Rockland’s Director of Admissions.