Michael Bailey Smith

EMU alumnus Michael Bailey Smith (BS88) contributes much of his success to his beginnings at Eastern Michigan University. The former actor and football player proudly calls EMU home, and his time with the University helped set the stage for a lifetime of opportunity.Michael Baily Smith headshot

Eastern was never part of Michael’s plan. After a few years in the military, all he knew was that he wanted to get out somewhere and play football. Though many schools were interested, Michael chose EMU because it allowed him to walk on and get a scholarship.

That’s how it all started. Michael took a break from school to take his shot at professional football with the Cowboys, although an injury prevented him from taking the field. The work ethic that was instilled in him from Eastern is what kept Michael chasing success.

“At EMU, we’re taught to never give up,” Michael said. “That attitude is now ingrained in me.” 

Michael took that attitude to heart, and found himself in Hollywood auditioning for a role in “Nightmare On Elm Street.” Now, Michael has been in over 50 films, 100 episodes of TV, countless commercials, and has won multiple awards for his acting career. 

“I knew someone had to make it, and I figured why couldn’t that someone be me!” Michael shared. “It’s been an incredible ride, and I learned so much of what I know now from Eastern. The school makes you feel pretty special, and it was a huge blessing in disguise.”

The special friendships made at Eastern helped him feel more at home than he ever had before. In fact, it was these friendships that brought Michael back to EMU years later to be a part of the GameAbove at EMU alumni group.

“It took me a long time to come back to Eastern,” Michael explained. “I felt like I wasn’t worthy enough to come back, but then my college roommates encouraged me to get involved.”

GameAbove is a group of EMU Alumni with a strong desire to give back to the University and community. The great thing about GameAbove is that they want you to give in whatever way you can. Many members of the group participate in mentoring and are involved with programming at Eastern.

“When I came on board with GameAbove, they made me feel so welcome,” Michael said. “They make it clear that whatever you’ve done in your life is valuable to Eastern and to GameAbove.” 

Being involved in giving back to the University that gave him so much is important to Michael. If it weren’t for Eastern, Michael says he would never be where he is today. 

“It just makes you feel good to help people out,” Michael said. “It makes you feel in touch with humanity.” 
If you want to learn more on how you can give back to EMU, please email [email protected]. Learn more about the GameAbove alumni group here.