ROBERT BRUCE HAYES - ELEVENTH PRESIDENT, 1941-1983
Upon John D. Barker’s resignation on 1974, Robert B. Hayes, dean of the College of Education, stepped in as interim President on July 2, 1974, while the search for a new president commenced. On November 4, 1974, the Board of Regents named him Marshall University’s eleventh President. His term of office has been called the "Decade of Progress." One of Hayes’s first achievements was the creation of the Marshall University Community College, whose first classes were held in the Fall of 1975. In 1977 the Marshall School of Medicine was established; the first class graduated in 1978. The College of Science was created in the restructuring the academic programs, which resulted in the renaming of the College of Arts and Sciences, as the College of Liberal Arts. An expansion of campus facilities also took place, including the renaming of three existing buildings: Buskirk Hall, Harris Hall and Sorrell Maintenance Building. Hayes resigned in May 11, 1983.
Robert Bruce Hayes, the son of James Albert Hayes and Ruby Irene (Hitt) Hayes, was born on November 25, 1925, at the Coal District (Clarksburg), Harrison County, West Virginia. He graduated from Victory High School in Clarksburg, after which he served in the United States Marines from 1944 to 1946, fighting during World War Two. Upon returning home he attended Fairmont College for two years and then he transferred to Asbury College (now University), where he graduated with his A. B. degree in 1951. After graduating he taught school at the Yates Center, Kansas, for three years, and in 1956 he accepted a position as the principal at Fair View High School in Fairview, Kansas. During this time he also attended the University of Kansas, earning his M. Ed. degree in 1956. From 1957 to 1959 he was chairman of the Division of Education at Ashbury College In 1959 he accepted the position as Director of Teaching at Taylor University, Upland, Indiana, where he remained until 1965. During this time he earned a doctorate in education from the University of Kansas in 1960.
His long association with Marshall University began in April 1965, when he was named the Dean of the Teachers College. He remained in that position until he became the interim president and then the eleventh president of the University in 1974. After a decade, he resigned on August 31, 1983, and returned to teaching in the College of Education, where he stayed until his retirement at the end of the Fall 1990 semester, completing a twenty-year association with the institution. But, it was not his last.
Although, he formally retired in 1990, he was asked to serve as the interim president of Warner Southern College at Lake Wells Florida and then continued as its executive vice-president until 1991. In 1992 he returned to Marshall University as the interim dean of the College of Business, serving until 1993. From 1993 to 1995 he coordinated the University’s self-study for the North Central Accreditation visit. From 1996 to 1997 he served as provost. From 1995 to 2007 he worked in the Marshall Community and Technical College, first as vice-president (1995-1997) and the as interim president (2006-2007). In 2007, he accepted a position in the Robert C. Byrd Institute.
He married Ruth Harrison on July 19, 1947; they had three children. After the death of his first wife, he married Kathleen Peters. He divides his time between Huntington, West Virginia and Lake Wales, Florida.
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