‘Mr. S&T’ hangs up his slide rule

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On February 27, 2017

Missouri S&T associate professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering Jerry Bayless poses with Joe Miner. Bayless has been a part of Missouri S&T since he was a first-year student in 1955. After more than 50 years on campus, he retired effective Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017.

No matter whether you call it the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, the University of Missouri-Rolla or Missouri University of Science and Technology, Jerry Bayless has called it home.

Bayless, an associate professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at Missouri S&T, first came to the campus in 1955. He earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering in 1959 — the same year he joined the faculty — and added a master’s degree in civil engineering in 1962.

Now, after more than 50 years, Bayless is retiring. His last official day is Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Known as “Mr. S&T” for many years, Bayless has influenced thousands of students during his time at the school.

“There’s nobody who has made such an impact on our students in our almost 150 years of civil engineering education in Rolla,” says Dr. Joel Burken, Curators’ Distinguished Professor and chair of civil, architectural and environmental engineering. “He has influenced many, many students, helping those who are struggling to stay in school and see it through. That’s day to day, not just a special occasion. That’s who he is.”

Jerry Bayless, center, shows students how to use a slide rule.

In 2011, Bayless was asked what course was his favorite to teach.

“I can narrow it down to three,” he said. “Fluid Mechanics, Reinforced Concrete Design, and Structural Analysis. Slide Rule would rank high, also, but I haven’t taught that in 35 years!”

Bayless has served as an assistant to the chair of civil engineering and as the assistant dean of engineering. In 1990, he became associate dean, and in 2004 he received the Chancellor Medal. Bayless is a recipient of the Alumni Merit Award, was an honorary St. Pat and parade marshal, and in 2011 he was named a Missouri S&T Alumni of Influence.

Besides the countless students he has counseled, he’s been a guiding light for faculty, too.

“He has been a fantastic direct mentor to me,” Burken says. “He stands for what S&T stands for: excellence in preparing students.”


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21 thoughts on “‘Mr. S&T’ hangs up his slide rule”

  • Brent Baker says:

    Dean Bayless is a great man. He played a significant role in my success at UMR!

  • Congratulations, Jerry, and thanks for all you’ve done!

  • Stephanie Kline-Tissi says:

    I had Mr. Bayless for fluid mechanics several years ago. He is an amazing teacher. He always take the time to explain concepts to students, no matter how many variations it requires. I am happy he is retiring and taking the time to spend with his family. Congratulations, Mr. Bayless.

  • Chris Weisbrook says:

    Congratulations, Jerry! You are a special man. God’s blessings on you in your retirement. You will be missed by us all!

  • Brian Fuller says:

    Awesome career, Brother Bayless. You made Lambda Chi Alpha smarter.

  • Greg McClain says:

    Mega kudos and congrats, Dr. Bayless! (I’ve called you Dr. Bayless since 1970 and I’m not about to change now.) I took Engineering Law & Contracts and Engineering Economics from you. You were an awesome teacher. You were and continue to be an awesome advisor and inspiration to me. You’re a great person and I wish you nothing but the best and a happy retirement. Bravo zulu, Dr. Bayless, bravo zulu!!

  • Tom Gredell says:

    Way to go, Dr. Bayless! He was my advisor as a freshman in the fall of 1975! I probably had him for class, but I am too old to remember anything that specific! Always a pleasant prof to be around.

  • Tom Pokrefke says:

    Jerry, the best to you in your retirement. You and Dr. Harbaugh were the two biggest influence in getting me interested in hydraulics, then model studies, and then sediment transport. It was because of you and all my UMR instructors that I was able to be as successful as I was working for the Corps of Engineers. Thanks for being a glowing example of a civil engineer.

  • Val Bates says:

    Your shoes are going to be tough to fill. Mr. S&T is an under statement; you are truly part of the adhesive to the civil engineering department in its accomplishment over the years. I always enjoyed our encounters and playing the role of Jerry Bayless in the Chi Ep skits years ago is a high light of my academic career at Rolla. May you have a great retirement, my friend.

  • Don Birchler says:

    Jerry, Congratulations on your retirement if you can do that! I had you in about 78 for structures. I was struggling with hanging in there and you and the class convinced me I could make it. You are one of the professors who I have not forgotten! Thanks so much!

  • Andrew Schranck says:

    Thank you, Professor Bayless. A man for the ages. The definition of service and dedication is Jerry Bayless! I hope enjoy your well deserved retirement.

  • Michael Hall says:

    Thank you for everything you did for S&T and for myself while I was a student as well! Congratulations on your retirement.

  • Paul Miller says:

    Professor Bayless congratulations and hope retirement is even better than your expectations.
    In 1963 you gave me some great counseling as a confused and naive freshman which made a big difference in my life.
    Thank you

  • Jim Keebler says:

    Professor Bayless was always there for the students when they couldn’t locate their designated counselor, especially when registering for each upcoming semester. I had Professor Bayless for Engineering Economics in the ’67-’68 timeframe. Professor Bayless and I also shared community service in helping Rolla’s Optimist Club get their youth soccer program going. Thanks for everything Professor Bayless! You have been a true inspiration in my life.

  • Ralph Lueck says:

    I believe he was my Fluid Professor 50 years ago. But Jerry Bayless has been a great friend ever since. He taught more about engineering than just what is in a book.

  • John Wesee says:

    Congratulations on a retirement well deserved! My favorite course was Fluid Mechanics too!…only I had Professor Gevecker (wonderful teacher!). Professor Bayless seemed to “always be on campus”! And that was a good thing for the Civil Engineering students. Here’s hoping you have many happy healthy years of retirement!

    John R. Weese
    BS Eng Mgt (’74), MS Env & Planning Eng (’75)

  • Ayydin Izmirli says:

    Hello from İstanbul Prof.Bayless, I am Dr. Oktay Ural’s brother in law. I attended UMR between 1969-72 and still working as a civil engineer. I have enjoyed my stay in Rolla and to be a student of CE and meeting you when Dr Senne was the Dean . I also served as the governor of my district 2440 RI where I know you served as a good Rotarian for communities. I wish you and the family a happy life!

  • Aydin Izmirli says:

    Hello from İstanbul Prof.Bayless, I am Dr. Oktay Ural’s brother in law. I attended UMR between 1969-72 and still working as a civil engineer. I have enjoyed my stay in Rolla and to be a student of CE and meeting you when Dr Senne was the Dean . I also served as the governor of my district 2440 RI where I know you served as a good Rotarian for communities. I wish you and the family a happy life!

  • Paul Hirtz says:

    Congratulations Jerry!! You were a GREAT teacher in and out of the classroom and a GREAT friend. I enjoyed working with you on projects and sharing your excitement for our campus. I trust that we will continue to see you on campus and around the community as you enjoy your retirement.

    Paul Hirtz

  • Evelyn Hall says:

    Wow! I recall being in math classes with Jerry during our freshman year. Congratulations, Jerry! I hung up my engineering career in 2004.

  • Leo Turek says:

    Congratulations Professor Bayless! and THANK YOU. First of all after our first test in CE 230 Fluids circa 1976, when most of botched things up because we didn’t pay close attention to the units you scolded us and emphasized how essential it is to keep the units consistent. That has helped me my entire career as a civil engineer. And on a personal level I came to your office for some much needed advice, your excellent guidance was a huge help to me and I have kept that simple principle “honesty is the best policy” with me ever since and believe I have been a better man for it. PS I still remember those cool autographed baseballs that were always on your desk! Thank you sir for all you did for UMR and all us CE’s !!!!