Ellen A. Bailey (BS ’62) has given back to UGA for 60 years and counting. Every gift, small and large, matters.
“I still rely on the rigor and problem-solving processes of the classical mathematics I learned at UGA to take big business problems and divide them into smaller problems more easily solved,” Bailey says.
She did the math.
Ellen Bailey says her degree in that discipline laid a foundation for a successful career as a serial entrepreneur.
After graduation, Bailey launched her career in her hometown of Atlanta. In that first year out of college, she donated $72 to her alma mater. She has kept up that annual UGA contribution, in varying sizes, throughout her impressive career.
Bailey first excelled in real estate. She then joined a condominium management company that grew to become one of the five largest in the country. Next, she helped launch a successful chain of restaurants.
When she wanted to turn a new page, Bailey entered book publishing. Then, switching again, she helped take a health care practice of five doctors in one building and grow it to 30 physicians in 14 offices. Today, a sharp-witted 81, she’s still busy—now as managing director at a thriving business consultancy in Midtown Atlanta.
“I know how to run a small business,” Bailey explains. “And I know how to turn it into a real business.”
At every stage of her career, Bailey has given back to communities and organizations that support people’s well-being, gravitating toward health care and children.
“Just because you’re a capitalist doesn’t mean you can’t have a social conscience,” she explains.
Bailey’s actions speak loudly.
In 2018, after 28 consecutive years of giving to UGA, Bailey decided to elevate her giving by establishing the Ellen Agnor Bailey Math Scholarship Fund to support students in mathematics. Along with the scholarship, Bailey has made scores of smaller donations through the decades—sums of $35 to $1,500. These supported a variety of funds and departments across campus.
Why? She says it’s simple math.
“A student at UGA can earn a HOPE Scholarship, live and eat modestly on campus, and still graduate with significant debt,” Bailey says. “For some kids, debt like that can affect career choices. Think of a student who hopes to be a teacher or go into public service. We need to do anything we can to help lighten that financial load. If we want our children and grandchildren to succeed, we’ve got to give back–however and whatever we’re able.”
Bailey’s half-century of financial support illustrates her motto: “Every donation makes a difference, no matter the size.”