Don ’68 and Linda Bailey

Supporting co-op opportunities that strengthen communities
BAILEY Don Linda
Don ’68 and Linda Bailey

When Donald M. Bailey enrolled at Drexel in 1963, the Maryland-native spent part of his time on technology-research projects as a civilian employee of the US Navy. Like many students, one of the most meaningful outcomes of Don’s time on campus – where he earned a BS in mechanical engineering – was the beginning of lifelong personal and professional relationships, including meeting his future wife, Linda. Today, the couple lives in Southern California, close to their three children and seven grandchildren.

Drexel set Don on the path – along with an MS in operations research from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Pepperdine University – towards distinguished consecutive careers in aerospace, wireless communications and pharmaceuticals. In the last decade, while Don was CEO of Questcor Pharmaceuticals, both Forbes and Fortune named it the number-one growth company in the US.

Don remains active in the biopharma industry as a board member, and he and Linda enthusiastically fulfill numerous philanthropic objectives through a donor-advised fund, A Little Help Foundation Fund, at the Orange County Community Foundation. In 2019, the Baileys and their foundation established the Don ’68 and Linda Bailey Steinbright Partners Co-op Fund (referring to the Steinbright Career Development Center), supporting Drexel co-op students in social justice, social entrepreneurship and service fields. The Co-op Fund’s goal is to provide paid work experiences to students seeking intern positions with nonprofits that cannot afford to pay them.

“It’s a real privilege for us to help Drexel students pursue meaningful co-ops that help people and communities,” says Don Bailey. “My time at Drexel was spectacular. I received a well-rounded education, and my co-op experience was transformational. Linda and I are pleased to empower today’s students to explore nontraditional career interests and learn outside the classroom, and in turn to gain experience in how to help others become self-sufficient.”

It’s a real privilege for us to help Drexel students pursue meaningful co-ops that serve people and communities. My time at Drexel was spectacular. I received a well-rounded education, and my co-op experience was transformational. Linda and I are pleased to empower today’s students to explore non-traditional career interests and learn outside the classroom.

During the spring/summer term (running through mid-September 2021), the Bailey Co-op Fund is supporting eight undergraduate students in pursuing a variety of service and related assignments:

Destiny Bedminster, a second-year marketing student (LeBow College of Business), is employed at Our People Entertainment, a content, experiential marketing and live events agency in Center City Philadelphia.

Amber Bolli, a third-year biological sciences student (College of Arts and Sciences), is employed at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. Part of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the center opened in 2012 (on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks) as a national research and development center for detection dogs.

Gianna Curci, a third-year psychology student (College of Arts and Sciences), is working for the Joseph J. Peters Institute, a nonprofit public health agency in Center City Philadelphia that provides expert clinical care for individuals suffering from the effects of trauma owing to exposure to abuse and violence.

Prachi Gaddam, a third-year biological sciences student (College of Arts and Sciences) in the BS/MD program, performs clinical research at the MDA/ALS Center of Hope at Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine, which helps people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other neuromuscular disorders with specialized care to improve their quality of life. 

María José “Majo” Garcia, a second-year biomedical engineering student (School of Biological Engineering, Science and Health Systems), is on a team at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia conducting research on the neuroscience of driving at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, with the goal of improving driver safety.

Kelly Oduro, a junior political science and pre-law student (College of Arts and Sciences), and Kejsi Ruka, a pre-junior global studies student (College of Arts and Sciences), accepted positions to provide legal and social services at HIAS Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, which supports low-income immigrants, refugees and asylees from 130 countries and is the state’s largest provider of legal services for immigrant children and youth.

Emma Smith, a second-year music industry student (Westphal College of Media Arts & Design), is employed as a helpline specialist at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which works to educate, advocate for and help people with mental illness (and their loved ones). 

Particularly for students pursuing co-op positions in nonprofit fields, financial support is essential. “My co-op is personally significant to me because it allows me to conduct clinical research on ALS, a debilitating disease that has taken the life of a close family member,” says Gaddam. “This support allows me to contribute to the advancement of the field without financial stress. I particularly appreciate that the goal of the fund is to launch students on career paths that ultimately better communities.”

“Don and Linda Bailey and A Little Help Foundation Fund of the Orange County Community Foundation are dedicated partners and supporters of Drexel Co-op,” adds Ian P. Sladen, vice president for cooperative education and career development. “Many students want to pursue unpaid or lower paying co-op positions outside traditional business and healthcare organizations, and our society needs people trained broadly in service and community engagement. Donors can have a real impact in helping Drexel connect students to these opportunities and to enable students to afford making the needed time investment.”

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