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MSU mourns passing of Dr. Michael Hail

Michael HailDr. Michael Hail, professor of political science at Morehead State, died Thursday, Aug. 6, at the Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset after a brief illness. He was 53 years old. 

Born on Dec. 4, 1966, in Somerset, he was the only son of Doris Burton Hail and the late Rev. Mark D. Hail.    
Hail came to MSU in 2000 as director of research and assistant dean of the newly created Program of Distinction, the Institute for Regional Analysis and Public Policy (IRAPP). Dr. Hail subsequently served as Dean of IRAPP, and Chair of IRAPP. He directed both the Government and MPA graduate programs. He also worked with the UK Martin School of Public Policy on a joint doctorate of Public Policy program, and since 2004 as the associate director of the Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relationships. He founded, directed, and obtained external funding for the MSU Statesmanship Center, and the MSU Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence.

As a Professor, he was instrumental in the creation of the Masters of Public Administration degree, and taught and mentored many students on to successful careers. He obtained grants, and helped other faculty obtain grants, for millions of dollars each year, to fund both research and service. He successfully obtained funding from HUD, Department of Homeland Security, Defense Intelligence Agency, Rural Telecommunications Policy Institute, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). His tireless work was vital for providing substantial initial investment of federal dollars to start the MSU Space Science Center. He constantly worked to recruit, hire, and mentor faculty to be successful teachers, scholars, and grantsman.

Dr. Hail was appointed to the Truman Scholarship committee by both President Obama and President Trump. He was a prolific scholar, publishing articles, books, and book chapters, as well as taking leadership roles in various scholarly organizations. He had leadership roles with the American Political Science Association, American Society for Public Administration, Southern Political Science Association, and Kentucky Political Science Association. He served as editor or editorial board member for PUBLIUS: The Journal of Federalism, Commonwealth Political Science Review, Public Administration Review, and The Federalism Report. His outstanding scholarship and grantsmanship were recognized with scholarly awards. His classroom teaching style and curriculum development work has been recognized with teaching awards. He has worked tirelessly to help students find jobs and internships in government and the private sector. His legacy will live on through the amazing students whom he helped teach and mentor who themselves went on to outstanding futures. He will also be remembered by the colleagues who had the honor to work with him over the past 20 years.

A private funeral service and interment was held Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020.   

Somerset Undertaking Company oversees arrangements. View Hail’s full obituary at