Greene County News Report
XENIA — Marsha Bayless can now add the title of doctor to her long list of community awards and honors.
In recent commencement ceremonies, Wilberforce University President Algeania Warren Freeman conferred an honorary doctorate of humane letters upon the Xenia mayor during the schools May 10 commencement.
“I am truly humbled and extremely honored to have received the honorary doctorate of humane letters from Wilberforce University,” Bayless said. “Education has been my lifelong endeavor and I hope to share my honor with students in Xenia and throughout the region so that it may serve as an inspiration as they pursue their own educational opportunities. Wilberforce University is such a vital part of the Xenia community, a beacon of light for higher education and I hope our citizens will recognize the value of this fine university as I do.”
Bayless is the first elected African-American mayor of Xenia and a life-long resident. She is a 1973 graduate of Central State University with a Bachelor of Science degree inelementary education and a 1978 graduate from the University of Dayton with a master’s degree in supervision and administration and certification in counseling.
As an Educator in Xenia, she taught as a classroom teacher, provided leadership as an elementary principal and served on many councils and committees in the education community for more than 35 years. She was the first to pilot the elementary counseling program, and year-round schooling for students in Xenia. Her fervor to bring the best of education to the area warranted her to obtain school grants, totaling more than $800,000, for Xenia, and garnered the Outstanding Educator of the Year award presented by the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity of Dayton. Bayless was also inducted into the Xenia Community Schools Foundation’s Hall of Honor in 2012 and received the Public Official of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers, Ohio Region VII in 2013. She also serves as president of the Miami Valley Mayors and City Managers Association.
“Mayor Bayless has been a pillar in the Xenia community her entire professional life and has provided a great example of servant leadership,” Freeman said. “When Wilberforce University needed her the most, she welcomed us with open arms and has been an instrumental part of Wilberforce’s rebirth.”
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