Eric Simonson '82

Eric Simonson '82 profile pic

When I came to Lawrence, I hadn’t had much experience in the world. I was coming straight from a farm in southeastern Wisconsin and was surrounded by rural poor, where most kids were eager to graduate and run the family farm, which is fine, but I knew that wasn’t me. That said, I really didn’t know much about anything and was grateful for the time Lawrence gave me to decide what I might be interested in. So I tried a lot of different things. This led me onto stumbling into a directing class in the theatre department which, at that time, had only two professors. I found I had a talent for directing plays and was encouraged to pursue this. I liked learning about something new and was eager to take advantage of the department’s welcoming policy of letting students have a free run of both the black box and proscenium spaces. All I and my fellow theatre aficionados had to do was sign up for a space and we were allowed to take over and experiment. How was I to know the outside world was any different? I have spent the rest of my life experimenting and trying new things out because that’s what I was taught to do. Or taught myself to do. And I would not have learned to do things this way anywhere else. When I think about Lawrence, I think of it as the place I cut my teeth and where I learned to be a self-starter. It’s as simple as that.