Jamaican-American Woman Donates Record Cash Sum to US University

Dr.Trisha Bailey
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Gleaner- Jamaica-born Dr Trisha Bailey made University of Connecticut (UCONN) history when she became the largest-ever donor to the school.

Neither Dr Bailey nor the UCONN administration will disclose the amount of her endowment, but it is believed to be more than US$10 million.

A graduate of UCONN, Dr Bailey’s donation will support the schools’ student-athletes for generations to come.

Her gift is the lead donation towards a US$60-million renovation and expansion of Greer Fieldhouse, where she spent a lot of time training during her days as a middle-distance runner for the UCONN track team.

Dr Bailey’s support will reportedly allow for construction of the Bailey Student Athlete Success Center, an 80,000 square foot training and academic support facility that will house six Olympic sports programmes. Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2023.

The Bailey Center will have space devoted to offices, strength and conditioning, academics, mental health, nutrition, locker rooms and more.

Speaking about her donation to the school, Dr Bailey said that UCONN gave her the first opportunity in life.

“So for me, it’s greater than simply a gift and bigger than a building in my name. It is the start of my life. They took a chance on me and the talent I had and I didn’t believe I would take advantage of the opportunities that were given me and I have, with the blessings of God,” she said.

Speaking about her contribution to UCONN, the athletic director, David Benedict, said it shows great leadership.

Dr Bailey’s journey began in Woodland, St Elizabeth, Jamaica, where she grew up. She attended Springfield All-Age School before migrating to the United States at age 13, settling in Hartford, Connecticut.

Dr Bailey recalled her time growing up in Jamaica as the happiest of her life.

“My mother went to Kingston to work so I and my sister were left with my aunt and grandmother…It was the happiest time I had. We did not have much but we were a close knit family with lots of love, kindness and strong moral habits,” she told The Gleaner.

“I was the fighter for the family. Anyone who troubled my sister or cousins I would fight them to protect my family,” she said.

Dr Bailey attended Quirk Middle School and then Weaver High School. She began her track career at Weaver in the 10th grade running the 400, 800 and 1,600 meters. She did not do athletics in Jamaica. At Weaver she made the Junior Olympic track team.

She was then recruited by UCONN on a full athletics scholarship.

After graduation, she became a stock broker then moved into the pharmacy field as a sales representative, also earning her master’s and doctorate degrees during that time.

She later moved to California and started her own medical recruitment company, placing doctors in hospitals and other medical facilities.

Her life changed after an accident that left her temporarily paralysed as well as unable to speak.

An experience in an airport where she sat for hours because she could not be heard when she tried speaking about her connecting flight led to her going into the medical equipment and supplies business, where she reaped financial success.

Dr Bailey, who was married, has five children ranging in ages from 24 to three years old.

-Lester Hinds

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