Issac Jerome Bailey '95
It has been said that "the pen is mightier than the sword," and in the case of Issac J. - "Ike" - Bailey, we can affirm that Ike has used his pen, and his keyboard, to slice through the daily madness of our world, in order to expose the truths of our humanity.
Ike, one of 11 children, came to Davidson in the fall of 1991 from St. Stephen High in eastern South Carolina. Already he had demonstrated strong academic talent, participating in the South Carolina Governor's School for Academics, and in a science and math summer enrichment program at Claflin University. He was quite the athlete, as well, in a starting position every year on the high school football and baseball teams. Still he found time for what would become his lifelong calling; alongside his classwork in speech and journalism, he worked eight hours each week as a sports editor and reporter for his high school publications.
Ike soon found a home among other well-rounded students at Davidson, where he participated in varsity football, intramural basketball and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. A psychology major, he received the A.C.E.S. Academic Award, the Wildcat Club Football Award, and the Wayne Cromwell Trend Setter Award for provocative newspaper writing. He participated in the Psychology Club, served as a counselor and mentor for the Love of Learning program, volunteered for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and was a columnist for the Davidsonian.
After graduation, he continued connecting with Davidson and its surrounding communities, as a news intern in the office of College Communications, and as a freelance news writer and contributing columnist for the Charlotte Observer and the Charlotte Post. He moved back to South Carolina in 1997, when he took a position as a news reporter for the Myrtle Beach Sun-News. He remains one of the Sun-News' top writers, having worked on the City Council beat, as business editor and columnist, and as part of the newsroom's leadership team. At the same time, he works part-time as a journalism instructor at Coastal Carolina University and serves as an advisory to the university's newspaper staff.
In his writing, Ike has epitomized a life of leadership and service, purposefully crafting columns that make readers want to take a second-or third-look at important issues such as race, family, education, war, and personal sacrifice. He confronted his childhood stuttering with intensive treatment, and then wrote about it, winning his first South Carolina Press Association Award: first-place in feature writing. He also shared his story on national television, with Good Morning America.
Ike's awards keep on coming: from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists, and even more from the South Carolina Press Association. He won the Publisher's Award from the Sun-News, and was nominated for the Knight-Ridder Excellence Award. He also earned well-deserved rave reviews for his 2008 book, Proud. Black. Southern. (But I Still Don't Eat Watermelon in Front of White People).
Earlier this year, when the Davidson Journal published an in-depth story regarding diversity and inclusivity on the Davidson Campus-the realities, the struggles, and the possibilities-the editors did not have to think twice about the best writer for the job. Certainly the College Communications team is overjoyed that Ike remains closely connected to Davidson, and many others are equally delighted. Ike has been a contributor to, and editor of, the DBAN newsletter. He serves on the Davidson Journal Advisory Board, and volunteered his time and energy to make his fifth and tenth Reunions fun and successful.
For your commitments to achievement and community service, for your contributions toward making Davidson -and the world-better connected and understood, for your sensitivity toward others, and for the recognition you have received from your peers, the Davidson College Alumni Association honors you, Ike Bailey, with the Alumni Service Award.