Douglas and Carol Bailey

A long legacy of supporting students

Tending 24 head of quarter horses, chopping 30-plus cords of wood every year and mending fence on a remote Montana ranch for six years was long enough for Douglas and Carol Bailey.

Despite its amazing beauty, life on the Black Butte Ranch, which sits at the northwestern border of Yellowstone National Park, was a stage in their lives the Baileys knew would not last. Douglas and Carol had moved out West in the early ’80s after earning degrees from the University of Kansas and had looked into the ranch caretaking job on an impulse. The long winters and relative isolation of the ranch gave the couple time to ponder and talk about their future beyond the Black Butte Ranch.

Though he had a psychology degree, Douglas began considering a second degree and thought he might return to college to study something that involved drafting. He remembered how much he enjoyed mechanical drawing classes in junior high. “And with gentle nudges from Carol,” Douglas said, “she convinced me to give [architecture] a shot.”

Douglas researched architecture schools around the country and was impressed by the MSU School of Architecture’s program. He enrolled in 1985 and they moved to Bozeman. The Baileys opted to avoid taking on student debt and worked their way through Douglas’s architecture studies. So, the scholarship he received was very appreciated.

“We were not people of means. Two hundred and fifty dollars meant the world to us,” Douglas said.

The Baileys’ gratitude translated into giving back. They designated their first scholarship gift to benefit an architecture student soon after Douglas graduated while he was working as an intern. “We stretched…because as much as [the scholarship] helped us, we wanted to help someone else.”

Because Douglas had great experiences serving in the ASMSU Senate—MSU’s elected student government—and in a leadership role with the American Institute of Architecture Students chapter that subsequently led to elected positions as national director and president, he grew to appreciate the significance of leadership in the profession.

As Douglas’s career with Integrus Architecture in Seattle flourished over time, the Baileys gave increasingly larger gifts to help fund the Leadership for the Profession Annual Scholarship they had started back in 1994. This past spring at a College of Arts & Architecture celebration, the Baileys were honored for their loyal 25-year giving record and support of MSU students.

In addition to their annual giving commitment, Douglas and Carol have included MSU in their will, the proceeds of which will endow their scholarship fund. Douglas said that documenting a gift in a will is “easier than you think.” He elaborated that with a good attorney who initiated thought-provoking conversations about making end-of-life decisions, they had the realization that they wanted their decisions to be meaningful.

“You’d like to think the work you did to build—even this very modest estate we have—goes somewhere that means something to us,” Douglas said.

“Paying it forward is important,” Carol concluded.

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