The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


‘Gordie’ leaves SMU

The Gordie Foundation office on Swiss Avenue is not quite empty.

Although the Andy Warhol style portraits of Gordie are gone, along with the furniture in the waiting area and conference room, remnants of a once busy office remain.

An area rug, which once carpeted the waiting area, is rolled up against the wall. Spare furniture, office supplies and tools litter the floor and desks. The back storage area is practically bare.

Over this past summer, the Gordie Foundation packed up and shipped the bulk of its materials to Virginia. On Sept. 16, the Gordie Foundation officially merged with the University of Virginia’s Center for Alcohol and Substance Education Center to create the Gordie Center for Alcohol and Substance Education (Gordie CASE).  

Both organizations work to educate students about the dangers of hazardous drinking and emphasize peer-to-peer intervention.

The university’s center had been doing so for 17 years when the Gordie Foundation was founded in 2004, the same year Gordie Bailey died.

 The Gordie Foundation is responsible for educating millions of students nation-wide as well as around the world.

Brooks Powell, an SMU alumnus, was the educational programs coordinator for the Gordie Foundation.

He brought the Gordie Foundation and Gordie Day to SMU three years ago. He said he was motivated because of three alcohol- and drug-related deaths at SMU that occurred between fall 2006 and spring 2007. Powell is the only employee of the Gordie Foundation left and is in charge of closing the Dallas office.

The Foundation was created by Leslie and Michael Lanahan in memory of their son, Lynn Gordan “Gordie” Bailey Jr., to educate college students about the dangers of binge drinking, alcohol poisoning, peer pressure and hazing. Gordie was an 18-year-old college freshman at the University of Colorado when he pledged the Chi Psi Fraternity. He was found dead from alcohol poisoning on Sept. 17, 2004.

The Foundation “was something that would allow Gordie’s memory to live on and would also let [the Lanahans] sort of take a step back,” Powell said.

Even though the Gordie Foundation has moved from Dallas, it has left a lasting impression at SMU, according to John Sanger, director for the Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention at SMU.

He said that SMU has benefited from having the Gordie Foundation here in Dallas  and that he will continue to make Gordie Foundation materials available to students.

“I think it’s a message that not only resonated well with students, but it’s one that students are really stepping forward now and planning to carry on,” he said.

Megan Knapp, lecturer of applied physiology and wellness, said many students already know about Gordie when they go to wellness classes to talk about alcohol and drug prevention.

“I hate to see the Gordie Foundation leave Dallas,” Knapp said. “I think they’ve done a lot of good here… but I think there may be some cool new opportunities that may come through this partnership.”

National Hazing Prevention week is Sept. 20 to 24 and Gordie Day is Sept. 23.

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