I was lucky enough to grow up at Saint Vincent. (My father was a member of the faculty for many years). Before I was even old enough to go to school, I was learning important lessons about faith, scholarship, community and hard work from the faculty, staff, students and Benedictine monks of Saint Vincent.
I received my B.A. in History from Williams College and my MFA in Film Production from The University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television (now called the School of Cinematic Arts). I have also been working as a professional theatre director for more than 14 years. Here at Saint Vincent I teach Film Studies and Acting classes. I also direct a student show every semester and serve as Artistic Director of Saint Vincent Summer Theatre, a professional theatre founded by the late Father Tom Devereux, O.S.B in 1969.
I love Saint Vincent’s commitment to the Liberal Arts and the college’s support for theatre, even though we don’t have a theatre department. Those two aspects combined mean that I teach and direct students from a variety of academic backgrounds and with a variety of extracurricular interests. My Acting I class is usually full of athletes (most of whom usually do a fantastic job). The cast of the student musical I just directed included music majors, of course, but also Business, Bio-Chem, and Psychology students. Most of these students don’t plan on careers in the theatre, but they love performing and they see involvement in the arts as an important part of a full and balanced life. I love that.
I have lots of memorable moments, and most of them involve students being brave. It takes courage to get up, in front of a class or in front of an audience, and perform. I’m thinking of burly football players pretending to be women, and soft-spoken freshmen figuring out how to project their voices so they can be heard at the back of the theatre. And I’m thinking of weeks of hard work and dedication paying off on opening night and the glowing look on a student’s face when he or she comes off stage after making a hundred people laugh. Those are good moments.
Make the most of this time; it will go faster than you think. Accept the consequences of your mistakes and learn from them; it will sting for a bit, but it will make you a better, stronger, wiser human. Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers for help; we love to help. Befriend a monk; monks are great.