Freed-Hardeman University is known for its active spiritual life, superior academics and its intimate size. “It takes about fifteen minutes to walk from one end of the Freed-Hardeman campus to the other…that is, if you don’t stop and talk to the countless people who will yell your name and wave you over on your way,” says Bailey Gillreath, a senior at FHU. It is this close-knit atmosphere and the loving people that are Bailey’s favorite part of her college experience. “You are friends with your professors as well as your peers, and you know anyone of them will be there for you in a heartbeat,” she says.
Bailey decided that FHU was where she wanted to be when she attended the weekend youth rally, R.U.S.H., throughout her high school years. “I loved everything about those weekend visits. Every day was uplifting and filled with so many great people and positive experiences. I knew that if I could go somewhere where everyday would be like that, that would be the place for me.” In the fall of 2006, Bailey found that place at FHU as a full-time student.
A double major in English as well as Merchandising and Interiors, Bailey has a broad range of interests that she has been able to explore over the past three years. She has worked as a writer and an Entertainment Anchor at TV40, the campus television station, for two and a half years. She has written for and co-hosted the fledgling morning show, Good Morning FHU! and she is currently a staff writer for the Bell Tower, Freed-Hardeman’s newspaper. This year Bailey is also working in the Office of Marketing and University Relations. “I have also taken as many art classes as I could fit into my schedule. I wanted to go as many directions as possible with the things that interest me, that way I would have a better idea of where I want to end up, as well as build a resume to help me get there,” she says.
Bailey has added a few impressive entries to her resume, including an internship with FHU Theatre Director, Dr. Cliff Thompson, where she helped design the lobby and green room for the new Black Box Theatre. She also procured an internship with her hometown newspaper, Florence Alabama’s TimesDaily, where she had several articles published and received “real life experience” in journalism. She has also worked as a freelance writer for The Courier Journal and Shoals Woman Magazine, publications local to Florence.
Bailey’s broad range of interests has translated to her participation in several different Freed-Hardeman Social Clubs throughout her time at FHU.
Bailey remembers playing intramurals as a member of the retired Psi Mu in 2006, Homecoming with Phi Kappa Alpha in 2007, and winning Makin Music with Chi Beta Chi’s production, “In Living Color” in 2009.
During the fall of 2008, Bailey participated in one of FHU’s Study Abroad Programs where she spent a semester backpacking around Europe and living in the half Tuscan, half Umbrian, hilltop town of Citerna, Italy. Bailey says, “You expect a trip like that to change your life, but you just aren’t prepared for it to change you on so many levels. I would not have been able to travel like that if it had not been for Freed-Hardeman. It was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had! I could talk about it for hours!”
Bailey believes that going to school at FHU has made a huge impact on her life, from the countless friends she has made, to the opportunities she has been presented, and the goals she has for her life. Bailey says “Making the decision to go to Freed has affected my life in so many ways. Now, as I’m in my senior year, I have to say it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made!”