On Feb. 24, President Urgo sent an all-campus email informing the College community that Laura Bayless would be stepping down from her positions as Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at the end of the academic year. Five days later, however, Urgo sent another email explaining that Bayless had left her position and would be on leave the rest of the semester.
According to her online biography, Bayless received her B.A. in Speech Communication/Mass Media from Denison University in Granville, Ohio; her M.S. from Miami University of Ohio in College Student Personnel Services; and her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Virginia Tech University.
Previous to working at St. Mary’s, Bayless worked as Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and then Dean of Students at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. In 2007, Bayless became Dean of Students of the College and in 2011, she was promoted to Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
In 2010, Bayless was honored as an American College Personnel Association (ACPA) “Diamond Honoree” for her outstanding and sustained contributions to higher education and to student affairs and in 2011, she was awarded the Commission for Administrative Leadership Senior Level Professional Award. Bayless also served on the ACPA: College Students International Assembly as the Coordinator-Elect for Commissions.
In his email, Urgo said he would be searching for an interim replacement for the 2012-2013 academic year while a national search is conducted for a permanent dean.
In accourdance with stated College Policy, numerous administrators refused to comment on the specifics of her departure, though in the email Urgo said, “Laura’s visibility and positive energy has made a difference on our campus. I invite you to join me in wishing Laura well as she embarks on her future endeavors.”