When Andrew Wright finished filling out his application to a major state university, he got the feeling that his decision might have been a little rash. After all, he hadn’t really explored any other options. What if the perfect school was out there waiting for him and he would never know because he hadn’t even looked for it?
Being a Pittsburgh native, Andrew decided to visit some other schools in the area. The first was Geneva College. He immediately knew it was a perfect fit. “I loved the community, the campus, the personal touch I got as opposed to a big school,” he says.
During his campus tour, he visited the career development office and filled out a career assessment test. It was there that he was able to sit down with Rob Rostoni, director of career development. “I got a lot of person attention, and it wasn’t generic like other tours I had been on.” As a result of their meeting, Andrew decided to pursue a degree in English Literature.
As soon as Andrew arrived as a student, he dove into the theater department and got involved in the college productions. He landed his first role during the fall semester of his freshman year, playing Admiral Petkoff, a supporting character in Arms & the Man. He describes the character as an “out-of-touch blowhard, as well as the father of the main love interest.”
The following winter he played the miserly slave owner, Pantalone, in Androcles & the Lion, and then went on to be stage manager that spring for Eleemosynary, a play with an entirely female cast.
Currently, Andrew is preparing for his fourth college play, The Misanthrope, in which he will play Oronte, a self-absorbed French painter.
Geneva College no longer offers a theater concentration, but it continues to put on strong stage productions. “Geneva’s theater department is very dedicated,” Andrew says. “It’s a small program, but it really shows you one of the classic adages of theater — ‘theater is theater is theater.’ Wherever you go, it doesn’t matter how big your stage is or how much money you have, you can still have an excellent show.”
Andrew has only good things to say about the directors. “Dr. Kuhns and Mindy Wagner are great at what they do. Mindy’s sets are fantastic — always surpassing my expectations —and they both choose very good shows and do a great job of tailoring them to the school’s abilities.”
One thing that Andrew appreciates about the Geneva College theater department is that is doesn’t have the competitive nature he found at other schools. “They are really looking for the best people, but there isn’t any rivalry for the best roles. At bigger schools, the audition process can be very jaded and bitter, but that’s not what I found at Geneva. I found people who are really supportive of each other even if it means not getting the role you want.”
Amazed that the relationships he had established on his first trip to campus still existed, Andrew applied for a student worker position in the Career Development Office his sophomore year. He does public relations work there, and also designs promotional materials for various events throughout the year.
Despite a full course load and being so involved with theater, Andrew has somehow managed to make time in his schedule for extracurricular activities. He sings bass in the Genevans choir, writes poetry for The Chimes, is a member of the English Club and goes to weekly meetings for the honors program. He is even applying to be a residence assistant (RA). “Being an RA is a great way to be involved on campus. I want to be involved in other people’s lives, get to know them, have a positive impact,” he says.
Andrew still has some time to figure out what he wants to do after college. For now he is enjoying the life of a student and looking forward to future theater productions.
- By Rima Warren ’09
Geneva graduates pass the test for teacher certification in elementary education (Praxis II) at over a 99% rate in the first attempt–one of the highest pass rates in Pennsylvania.