Some Connecticut Yankees in EMU’s Support

January 13th, 2016

Todd and Diann Bailey came to know EMU through their sons Ben '12 and Nate '14.

Todd and Diann Bailey came to know EMU through their sons Ben ’12 and Nate ’14.

It’s sort of a long and strange story, warns Diann Bailey, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) who ministers in Suffield, Connecticut, and lives with her husband Todd in Granby, an adjacent town. The story goes like this:

Some years ago, it came time for Ben, the oldest of the Baileys’ two sons, to think about college. His interest in peace studies of some sort guided their first forays into that good old “college search.”

Around this time, the youth group at the Baileys’ church (they were then attending a different UCC congregation in Simsbury, another nearby town) was planning a mission trip to Atlanta. The trip was arranged through an organiza­tion called DOOR, which belongs to the Mennonite Mission Network.

In the process of planning the trip, the Baileys’ youth minister learned more about Mennonites and became aware that the Mennonites have several colleges that heav­ily emphasize peace studies. Knowing that this was key to Ben’s college search, the youth minister passed the Baileys – who then knew nothing about Mennonites aside from some vague Amish associations – a tip to check out Goshen College.2

With Goshen atop the list, Ben, his younger brother Nate, and Diann headed off to Atlanta for the mission trip. While there, they heard good stuff about another Mennonite place called EMU, so after returning home, they set up a campus visit.

The admissions interview went as well as any admissions interview could go; immediately afterwards, Ben said he was coming to EMU. They’d already set up a few other col­lege visits to make the long trip worthwhile, but after EMU, they were just going through the motions.

“It was just one of those things where we just knew. This was the college,” recalls Diann.

Two years later, when Nate was ready for his own college search, Ben called him and told him not to bother. EMU was the place for him. Ben graduated in 2012 and now works at EMU (he is married to Hannah Beachy ’12 Bailey); Nate finished up in 2014.

After Ben’s first year, Diann and Todd – who works in real estate finance for UBS Realty – were invited to join EMU’s Parent Council. Through this experience, the Baileys learned more about the “inner workings” of the university where both their sons thrived.

“The community and friendships that both boys made are very deep and strong,” says Todd. “Community building and education are really important to us.”

The Baileys have continued to support the university after their sons’ graduations. They’re excited about things like EMU’s cross-cultural programs, the annual School for Lead­ership Training held at the seminary, and the work of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding; they’re grateful that a series of coincidences during the college search brought them and EMU together.

“We’re not just supporting the university. We’re supporting future leaders – from local leaders to global leaders – and it’s grounded in our own faith tradition,” says Diann. “We are called to be peacemakers and love one another and reach out to those in need. EMU’s doing all of that and more!”