Celebrating the Retirement of Dr. Mark L. Bailey after 19 Years as DTS President

Alumni Spotlight

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18).

Dr. Mark L. Bailey retires as president on June 30, 2020, after serving nineteen years in that role at DTS. His encouraging heart, commitment to Scripture, and perseverance to continue to follow Christ despite circumstances and without compromising service has reshaped the Seminary. Starting July 1, Dr. Bailey will serve as chancellor and senior professor of Bible Exposition.

Dr. Mark L. Bailey has served the Seminary for over thirty-five years, the last nineteen years executing the mission of the Seminary and the recruitment and oversight of the staff necessary to fulfill the mission to “glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders for the proclamation of His Word and the building of the body of Christ.”

During his time here at DTS, he led the development of a cohesive team of people who work hard and serve the Lord. Dr. Bailey worked closely with the Advancement team, earning the right to ask God’s people to support the Seminary through genuine relationships and the demonstration of fiscal integrity.

He also preached regularly, maintaining a personal commitment to biblical authority and the public proclamation of the superiority of God’s wisdom. He has written articles contributing to publications, the church, and the academic community with a loyalty to the doctrinal position of the Seminary.

Dr. Bailey loves teaching people the Word of God. He has had a significant travel schedule that would rival any world adventurer while serving as an ambassador for the Seminary at public events, conferences, luncheons, dinners, and external non-profit ministry board service.

“There is a broad range of responsibilities that a president does that most people wouldn’t know,” Dr. Bailey said in an interview. “I rely on the staff and their giftedness, but probably the hardest thing is to keep the balance and the challenge of opinions together. It’s in essence fostering and preserving unity in the bonds of peace.”

Dr. Bailey came to DTS as a professor in the Bible Exposition Department. In 1996 then-President Charles Swindoll appointed him vice-president for academic affairs and academic dean. Three years later, Dr. Bailey added the role of provost to his list of responsibilities. In March 2001, then-DTS Board Chairman George M. Underwood III announced the selection of Dr. Bailey as the school’s fifth president.

“This was a position to which I never aspired and for which I will never believe I deserved,” Dr. Bailey said. “Leading DTS has been a unique privilege and blessing.”

During the celebration of Dr. Bailey’s thirtieth year at DTS and his fifteenth year as DTS president, Dr. Swindoll wrote, “God has provided DTS with sterling leadership throughout our history. Dr. Bailey’s dedication to God and his devotion to this school continue the tradition of constantly lifting the bar as we send Christian leaders into the world. As all of us could testify, since May 5, 2001, when Dr. Mark Bailey was inaugurated, he has continued to ‘lift that bar.’”

“The board will tell you that some of the best work I’ve done here is building a good team around me,” Dr. Bailey said. “My philosophy has been to find competent people who you would enjoy spending the rest of your life serving together. So, we are here for life unless God moves us.”

At the beginning of his presidency, Dr. Sandra Glahn wrote a profile on Dr. Bailey. “‘[He] has the hands of a gentle shepherd,’ said Dr. Charlie Dyer, a long-time friend. ‘Those hands are scarred from battles that few outside leadership ever witness. But they also display the gentle touch of one who cares deeply for those under his care. Watching those hands in action, I’m reminded of a description of King David that also applies to Mark: ‘And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them’ (Ps. 78:72). Mark has skillful hands that are guided by a heart of integrity.’”

When Dr. Bailey retires, he looks forward to spending more time with his family, which includes six grandchildren. Having time to attend all of their activities will be a major priority for him.

“I’m also looking forward to—when I retire from being president—having more time to read. I have to read for prep and production now, but being able to read for pleasure and personal growth, well, that’s going to be fun.”

Have fun, Dr. Bailey. We will miss you, dearly. Thank you for your time, service, and commitment to us all.

Editor’s Note: Read more from writer Raquel Wroten (MAMC, 2012)