Dr. Robert Hayes - 2011 A Award Recipient
Dr. Robert B. Hayes, class of 1951, received the A Award for his lifelong commitment to excellence in higher education.
Dr. Hayes came to Asbury after serving in the United States Marine Corps in World War II. After he graduated in 1951, Dr. Hayes earned a master’s and doctor of education degree at the University of Kansas before returning to Asbury as the chairman of the division of education and psychology. In 1959, he accepted the position of director of teacher education at Taylor University and served there until joining the administration at Marshall University in his home state of West Virginia.
It was at Marshall that the different threads of Dr. Hayes’ experiences as a teacher and administrator came together in one design. Serving first as Dean of the College of Education, Hayes was appointed president of the university in 1974 and ushered in what has since become known as Marshall’s “Decade of Progress.”
Key among his accomplishments was the establishment of Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. Its success was by no means guaranteed — significant funding challenges and administrative hurdles faced the project when he became president. Yet, through a tenacious commitment to the project and willingness to make some tough calls, Dr. Hayes realized the vision of a facility that has become a credit not only to Marshall but also to the surrounding community.
Other achievements at Marshall include the establishment of the Marshall University Community and Technical College; more than $50 million worth of campus improvements, including two academic buildings and a sports arena; and a three-fold increase in private support of the university.
Dr. Hayes formally retired as professor of educational administration in 1990, but for a man who considers his work to be a calling, his service has continued. In 1991, he agreed to serve as interim president of Warner Southern College in Florida while that institution was in a period of significant change. He returned to West Virginia to lead Marshall’s College of Business on an interim basis and continues to teach in various capacities and volunteer in the community and his church.