STORRS, Conn. (WTNH) — Former UConn student-athlete Dr. Trisha M. Bailey has made the largest alumna cash donation to UConn in the university’s history

“If I didn’t have my scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to go to college,” she said. “So, when I got here, they supported me. The staff supported me on the track and off the track.”

The gift from Bailey went toward the construction of a new state-of-the-art student-athlete performance and academic support center on UConn’s Storrs campus. It also marks the largest donation exclusively for UConn Athletics.   

Bailey was a member of the cross country and track & field teams at UConn and graduated in 1999.

“Trisha Bailey is an American success story that has its roots in the classroom and in competition at UConn,” David Benedict, UConn director of athletics said. “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. 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.”

The new student-athlete success center was a major improvement from UConn’s old recreation center, entailing an 80,000-square foot renovation. The facility’s plan included an academic center, a sports medicine, and mental health services clinical space, a kinesiology teaching space, a rowing practice tank, a strength and conditioning apparatus, a communal kitchen and nutrition area, and multipurpose training and meeting spaces. 

Focusing on student-athlete amenities in the new center, the university implemented new locker rooms and team offices for tennis, rowing, swimming, field hockey, and both men’s and women’s track and field. 

The project also included a new entry pavilion, a reception area, and a landscaped pedestrian walkway in between the center and the George J. Sherman Sports Complex. The National C Club, an organization for former student-athletes and managers who’ve earned a Varsity letter at UConn, is placed inside the facility as well.

Furthermore, Benedict adds that this year especially, the 50th anniversary of Title IX, he is honored to have Bailey represent such a large portion of UConn student athletics.

Since graduating, Bailey has become a successful entrepreneur; crediting much of her success to all that she learned at UConn.

“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.”

Along her journey, Bailey has founded many 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.

She visited the university in February. She was talking to a track athlete about her own scholarship when he said that he was only able to afford school because of her donation.

“That touched my whole soul, because I remember being in his place,” Bailey said.

“Trisha is a real-world example of how philanthropists can be transformative in the lives of people,” Jake Lemon, the president of the UConn Foundation said. “This gift will have an incredible impact on student-athletes both now and for many years to come. Simply put, we cannot say thank you enough.”

In recognition of Bailey’s generosity, the UConn Board of Trustees hoped to name the facility after her, calling it the Bailey Student-Athlete Success Center. This name is currently awaiting approval from the full board on Oct. 26. 

“Not only will her generosity benefit generations of future Huskies in all aspects of their life on campus, it stands as a tremendous example of the passion and commitment UConn alumni feel toward their alma mater,” Andrea Dennis-LaVigne, UConn trustee and committee chairperson said.