Gordie Foundation Merges With U.Va.'s Alcohol and Substance Education Center

September 16, 2010 — The Center for Alcohol and Substance Education at the University of Virginia and the Gordie Foundation, two organizations that work to reduce hazardous drinking and promote student-to-student intervention, have merged to create the Gordie Center for Alcohol and Substance Education at U.Va.

For 23 years, U.Va.'s center – known as CASE – has developed innovative and award-winning approaches to educate students about alcohol's effects and correct the misperception that alcohol abuse and college go hand in hand.

The Gordie Foundation was founded in Dallas in 2004 by Michael and Leslie Lanahan, whose son, Lynn Gordon "Gordie" Bailey Jr., died of an alcohol overdose at the University of Colorado after a fraternity initiation ceremony.

For the past several years, CASE, part of U.Va.'s Department of Student Health, has partnered with U.Va. faculty to supervise academic projects and case studies in which students analyze data and develop interventions to promote protective behaviors while drinking.

"Under Gordie CASE, these efforts will be expanded to focus more directly on reducing the prevalence of alcohol poisoning and promoting bystander intervention," said CASE director Susan Bruce, who becomes director of Gordie CASE. Holly Foster, who has been with CASE for the past two years as she completes her coursework toward a doctorate in education, will coordinate Gordie CASE projects for this year. 

Gordie CASE will continue many of the efforts created through the Gordie Foundation, including National Gordie Day, part of National Hazing Prevention Week, to raise awareness of alcohol poisoning. "We will continue to publicize the free GORDIEcheck iPhone app and market the documentary, 'Haze,'  which tells Gordie's story as a framework for examining the larger issues of alcohol and hazing on campuses," Bruce said. National Hazing Prevention Week is Sept. 20-24, and National Gordie Day is Sept. 23.

U.Va. Dean of Students Allen Groves said the Gordie Foundation and CASE are committed to changing behaviors around alcohol and hazing.

"We are delighted to have the powerful resources for this critical work being performed by the talented professionals in our Center for Alcohol and Substance Education," he said.

Michael Lanahan, an alumnus of the Darden School of Business, said he is pleased that the work of the Gordie Foundation will continue with a stronger U.Va. partnership.

"We are very proud that the educational programs initiated by the Gordie Foundation will be continued and strengthened by the commitment and resources at the University of Virginia," he said. "On behalf of Gordie's family, friends and supporters, we thank the University for the leadership it has provided on this issue for so many years."

A fund has been established at U.Va. to which gifts can be made to continue and enhance Gordie CASE programs and initiatives.