‘It’s part of my identity’: Being a Trojan Can Mean More than a Degree

by Georgia Clark

‘It’s a part of my identity’: Being a Trojan Can Mean More Than Earning a Degree.

Troy’s homecoming can bring people back to a place where some of their happiest memories came to pass, but for some, Troy has been a part of every chapter in their life. 

Like Troy native Dawn Railey, a 1981 graduate with a degree in marketing, who has a connection to Troy that goes back generations. Railey is a third-generation Trojan, beginning with her grandmother, who attended the Troy Normal School, then her father, who attended Troy State College. Railey’s father was who took her and her siblings to games and tailgates back in the days when tailgating meant pulling the family truck up onto Tailgate Terrace. Railey can now be found at almost every Troy football game, cheering on the school she has loved all of her life. 

“My first Troy game that I remember was homecoming 1968, and we won 70-7,” Railey said. “It was a beautiful day like we are going to have this weekend, but back then, the stadium looked a lot different, and the size of everything was so different.”

Troy has changed considerably since its founding and has played many roles in people’s lives throughout its history. Railey started her education on Troy’s campus in first grade at Kilby Hall, which once stood where the Adams Administration building sits today.

“It was a fabulous, intriguing place to go to elementary school,” Railey said. “We would go to concerts, plays and events, and we were exposed to so much culture at an early age. It was magical for me.”

Railey was in the Sound of the South color guard under Dr. Johnny Long and said the small-town aspect of Troy is something she has always loved.

“My family were my classmates; some of us were in band together – I even grew up next door to Dr. Long, and not everybody else in band got that experience,” Railey said.

Railey attributes her success and life to Troy and said that she and her family have built lives not only around Troy but lives made possible by what they did at Troy. And In 2018, Railey said she was given the honor of her life when she was named one of Troy University’s Alumni of the Year.

 “I don’t wait but about five minutes before telling someone, ‘hey, I’m a Troy Trojan’ – it’s a part of my identity,” Railey said. “It’s not like I don’t have anything else in my life. I have lots of friends; I have a great family; I’ve got my wonderful job, but Troy is the fun and the forever.”

With homecoming happening this week, many will be returning to Troy and sharing their own stories of the impact Troy has had on their lives. For Railey, the root she grew her life from was Troy. 

“Homecoming is special because other people get to come back; I am just really lucky that I’m homecoming all the time,” Railey said.

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