Jamaican-born multimillionaire and University of Connecticut graduate Dr.Trisha M. Bailey recently made history at her alma mater after the university announced she had “committed a significant lead gift” to aid the construction of a state-of-the-art student-athlete center.
In a statement on October 14, UConn said Bailey’s donation “represents the largest cash contribution ever received from a UConn alumnus, and the largest gift dedicated specifically to UConn Athletics.” The amount Bailey donated was, however, not revealed.
Bailey was a member of UConn’s cross country and track & field teams and part of the graduating class of 1999. “Trisha Bailey is an American success story that has its roots in the classroom and in competition at UConn,” the university’s Director of Athletics, David Benedict, said, per FOX 61. “She is the ideal model for our student-athletes to aspire to become champions in all they pursue well after their playing days are over.”
Benedict added: “Her unprecedented and transformational generosity will dramatically elevate the academic, nutrition, and mental wellness needs for all of our more than 600 student-athletes, it also will provide a new home to six of our Olympic sports – five of which are women’s programs.”
As a token of appreciation for her historic donation, the university said its UConn Board of Trustees has recommended the facility be named the Bailey Student Athlete Success Center. This is, however, subject to pending approval by the full board on October 26.
The project will see the former recreation center and locations within the existing Hugh S. Greer Field House being renovated and expanded by 80,000-square foot, the statement said. The university said the facility will be home to an academic center, clinical space for sports medicine and mental health services, kinesiology teaching space, a rowing practice tank, strength and conditioning apparatus, a communal kitchen and nutrition area, and a multipurpose training and meeting spaces.
The university’s hockey, rowing, swimming, tennis, as well as its men’s and women’s track & field teams will have newly constructed locker rooms.
“The National C Club will also be housed in the facility. Other improvements include a new entry pavilion and reception area, and a landscaped pedestrian way between the facility and the adjacent George J. Sherman Sports Complex,” the statement added.
Bailey graduated from UConn’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1999. She also has an MBA and Ph.D. in organizational leadership.
“It’s not so much the journey that I found to be most important,” Bailey said. “It’s the way I treated those along the way that mattered the most, and when I look at the beginning of it all, UConn was right there.”
Born in Jamaica, Bailey came from a modest background. She grew up in the Caribbean nation with no access to electricity or water, CT Insider reported. At the age of 13, Bailey relocated to the United States with her sister to join their mother and stepfather.
“It was a better life,” Bailey said. “Even though we were in these apartment buildings that are as low-income as you can imagine — we lived in a one-bedroom apartment, and my sister and I slept on the pullout sofa — for me, it was, ‘OK, I have electricity, I don’t have to go outside to use the bathroom.’ I was in luxury land. I didn’t know at the time that we were not rich.”
Today, the multimillionaire and entrepreneur is the founder of multiple companies including Bailey’s Pharmacy, Bailey’s Medical Equipment and Supplies, Bailey’s Scrubs, Bailey’s Real Estate, Bailey’s Ideal Choice Homes International Real Estate Division, Bailey Charitable Foundation, and Serenity Ranch.
Bailey is also the half-owner of an island that is situated around her native Jamaica. She intends to construct a resort on that property. Her equestrian farm in Florida is also the largest in the state. Bailey’s net worth is estimated to be between $650 million and $700 million. And she has donated over $10 million to charity-related endeavors in the Orlando area.