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Jerome Bailey is the not student he used to be. He is better. Bailey says, “in high school I was a slacker.” But that was then. Today, we have the privilege of calling him Mr. Dillard University.

Bailey vowed to work hard to reap the benefits of a college education and the opportunities afforded to him at Dillard University. Bailey, a third-year student, is the vice president of Collegiate 100, a service based campus organization. He serves as the public relations representative for the Melton Foundation, a highly competitive international organization. He is the general manager of the campus radio station and the media relations director and editor of a Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc magazine.

Bailey is excelling in every facet of collegiate life, and living up to the promise of academic excellence he made to his mother and himself.

The H.O.P.E. Scholarship caught up with Bailey to see exactly how and why he lives up to this promise.

HOPE: What inspires you?
JB: My past failures.  In high school I was a slacker. I didn’t live up to my full potential.  College was a second chance. I decided to maximize my college experience and get as much out of my Dillard experience as I could. My mom was a single mother and worked so hard and sacrificed so much; I want to make her proud. I want to make her sacrifice worth it.

HOPE: You’re really involved on campus, how do you juggle everything?  
JB: It is difficult mentally. I was not that involved in high school. There was a transitional period until I figured the right balance. My freshman year at Dillard (DU), I spread myself too thin, as a result my grades suffered.  I had to remind myself why I was at DU and I set priorities; now I live life more and find time for myself.  I schedule time to work hard and play hard.

HOPE: The naysayers may say, “You tried to go to college and reinvent yourself,” what is your response?  
JB: I don’t believe in people reinventing themselves, people develop and grow.  Growth is genuine.  College has helped me mature and students should not go to college solely to get a job but to become a better person. I’m becoming a better person and I’m going to do that regardless of what people say.

HOPE: Are leaders born or are they made?  
JB: People are born with certain instincts that may make them better leaders but you have to develop them by challenging yourself and working on your those positive traits. Without the work, it’s just a waste of potential.

HOPE: Why Dillard University?
JB: I filled out the EDU Inc application, a common application for 36 participating black colleges, one of which was Dillard University. I thought I was going somewhere in Atlanta.  I was set to go to Clark and literally a week before school started my mom and I took a day trip to DU and I fell in love. DU was the perfect environment for me; here I felt I could stand out more, make a difference and gain a lot of experience.

HOPE: What gives you HOPE?
JB: The potential I see in everyone. The potential to make change, the potential to get it done; there’s always a way. No matter the circumstances, it is about wanting something.  Being the change that you want to see.

HOPE: What makes you a HOPEDealer?
JB: All the qualities of the definition is what I live for, to positively influence as many people as I can. To help create concrete ideas that will lead you to success.  I am optimistic; I am an advocate for change.

HOPE: What are your plans post-college?
JB: I am thinking about applying for Teach for America to nurture my passion of teaching.  It will be great opportunity for me to focus on education. Other passions that I might pursue is a career in PR/Marketing or a master’s program in film.

Give HOPE. Live HOPE.

Jerome Bailey
HOPE Dealer

About the Author

Jerome Bailey is a student at Dillard University where he is known as “Mr. Dillard.” Bailey is also a filmmaker, music producer and poet. He produced a 12-track compilation of hip hop songs during his sophomore year, and he performs often at major events around New Orleans and Houston. Follow Bailey on twitter @anightinrome.

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