Lift as You Climb: A Commitment to Giving Back

Since the first female students stepped foot on campus in 1918, generations of strong women have crossed the Cistern, going on to successful careers in a variety of industries. One such woman is Victoria Bailey ’19 

Bailey, who expressed her desire to study medicine at the age of 4, selected the College of Charleston because of its small class sizes, Honors College curriculum, opportunities for lab work and available scholarships.  

Once it was time to explore research opportunities available on campus, Bailey met her match in chemistry professor Brooke Van Horn. 

“Victoria was excited about biodegradable polymer chemistry work in my lab from the minute I met her at the Research Matchmaking session in November 2015,” says Van Horn. “She jumped right in as a rising sophomore with one semester of Honors organic chemistry under her belt, helping us wrap up two publications’ worth of data on our X-ray polymer project, and pulled together the third manuscript with us the following year.” 

As a junior, the Columbia, S.C., native was influenced indirectly by another strong woman when she was awarded the Maggie Pennington Scholarship, which was endowed by students, friends and alumni to celebrate the retirement of the College’s first female faculty member. Pennington Scholarship recipients are outstanding junior and senior biology majors who demonstrate leadership skills and have exemplary academic records.  

Starting in fall 2019, Bailey, also the recipient of the prestigious J. Gorman ’43 and Gladys Thomas Memorial Alumni Scholarship, is attending MUSC and will no doubt go on to influence future generations of strong women.  

“These scholarships have not only relieved financial responsibilities from me and my family, but have inspired me to give back to the very institution that has helped me achieve my goals,” says Bailey at the Cistern Society luncheon honoring the College’s legacy donors. “Over the past year, I have lived by the quote, ‘Lift as you climb.’ Just as philanthropy has had an impact on my education, I hope to do the same with others in my community. I can start by mentoring those who are in the beginning phases of their journey in medicine while I continue down my own path. I want to give additional support and aid to students who don’t know where or how to start their futures, but do know what their future will be.”  – Courtney Pourciaux 17