Student Spotlight: Donnie Williams

June 14, 2017

Donnie Williams of Milwaukee understands the importance of communication. As a junior double majoring in theater and communication arts at Cardinal Stritch University, he values nuance, tone and even nonverbal signals.

Donnie Williams“My favorite class at Stritch has been Interpersonal Communication,” Williams said. “It was rewarding to be in a classroom environment with other students who wanted to learn and a professor who was so well-equipped with the tools to teach us.”

Much of Williams’ learning also takes place in a less traditional classroom – the Nancy Kendall Theater. Rooted in the liberal arts tradition, Stritch’s theater program combines experiential training with rigorous academic coursework to ground practice in theory.

Each year, theater students perform four productions – a musical, a children’s show and two plays. A seasoned veteran of the Stritch stage, Williams has been in six shows (so far) in his undergraduate career.

Williams, also a singer, easily transitions from vocally demanding musical performances to dramatic monologues to downright silly characters. What do these different performances have in common? They’re all entertaining! Williams’ most recent performance as the hen in “Jack and the Beanstalk” had audiences of all ages laughing, thanks to his comedic timing.

“Donnie contributes a unique stage presence and sense of humor to Stritch’s performing arts program,” said Mark Boergers, chair of the theater department. “Because he has worked so hard to attain the bravery to be uniquely himself on stage, his personality and voice become a part of the fabric of the productions we mount and add a colorful vibrancy to the human stories we portray.”

Williams also leads the University’s acapella group and has been active in University Ministry, choir, and other student organizations. With coursework and extracurricular activities, Williams’ days can be a bit hectic, especially when he’s rehearsing for a play. But he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“If you would have asked me in high school if I’d be good with managing such a crazy schedule, I would have laughed,” Williams said. “I was the most unorganized person ever! But at Stritch, I’ve learned to work hard for the opportunities I’ve received.”

In addition to talent, determination and discipline, Williams has another key to his success – financial support.

Like many students, Williams faces financial barriers to funding and completing his college degree. He is grateful for the financial support of scholarship donors.

“Financial aid was actually the deciding factor in my college search,” Williams said. “Fortunately, the scholarships and financial aid from Stritch helps students like me. Without that financial support, I wouldn’t have the money to pay for the education I’m receiving at Stritch.”

After he graduates from Stritch, Williams plans to pursue professional theater gigs in Chicago and possibly enroll in a master’s degree program.


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