Bailly grew up in the Denver, Colorado, area. He began participating in spelling bees in sixth grade, training with a nun at his Catholic school. He reached the National Spelling Bee as an eighth grader and won with the word elucubrate.
Bailly studied Ancient Greek and Latin, receiving his bachelor's degree from Brown University and his PhD from Cornell University. He learned German in Switzerland with the help of a Fulbright scholarship. In 1990, he wrote a letter to the National Spelling Bee organizers to offer his services and was hired as an associated pronouncer. Bailly became the Bee's chief pronouncer after the death of Alex Cameron in 2003.
Besides his duties with the spelling bee, Bailly works full-time as an associate professor of classics at the University of Vermont, specialising in Greek and Roman philosophy, particularly Plato.
- James Maguire. American Bee: the National Spelling Bee and the Culture of Word Nerds. Rodale, 2006. 121-124.
- "Denver boy wins spelling bee". The Ledger. May 30, 1980. 5.
- M.J. Stephey. "Q&A: Spelling Bee Pronouncer Jacques Bailly". Time. May 26, 2009. Retrieved on August 4, 2009.
- Department of Classics. University of Vermont. Retrieved on June 5, 2010.
- The Believer - Interview with Jacques Bailly June/July 2006
- Jacques Bailly at the Internet Movie Database
Katie Kerwin McCrimmon
|Scripps National Spelling Bee winner