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Roger Pavey
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Roger Pavey Jr.

Graduation year: 2024

High school: Pleasant Valley High School

Hometown: Quad Cities

Majors: Theatre arts, graphic design

Minor: Film

Activities: Augustana theatre productions (acting, design, directing, admin., technical); theatre department graphic designer/social media manager; theatre scene shop supervisor; Reading/Writing Center tutor; Augustana OperX productions (design and technical); film crew; Night of Noise Drag Show

Internships: Mississippi Bend Players, Des Moines Metro Opera

Post-grad plans: Production staff at Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, Mass.

Why Augustana?

In complete honesty, Augustana was one of just a few schools I applied to. I grew up in the Quad Cities, so Augustana was familiar. I also had connections to the theatre department here already, so it was a comfortable choice. When I visited campus and talked further with professors, it seemed like a perfect fit for me and my learning style.

Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?

In many ways, no. The breadth of hands-on experiences full of creative/critical thinking, artistic and professional growth, résumé building, you name it — is so unique to Augustana; I truly do not think I could have had an experience elsewhere in the way I did here.

Within the practical limits of artistic programs, there are so many opportunities — all that’s needed is a student’s commitment and drive. It’s been a true liberal arts journey as I’ve explored those opportunities in such a broad scope.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

My arts mentors have pushed me to think differently, ignited a flame, cared deeply about my success/growth, and given many artistic opportunities. While I cannot name them all, there are specific people who were significant. 

From theatre: Dr. Popple, my first professor, whose Dramaturgy class and proceeding artistic conversation forever changed the way I think about the arts. Mike Turczynski, whose career/life advice and daily collaboration/artistic mentorship were highly influential. 

Shelley Cooper, who pushed me in many ways, whose Voice and Movement class changed the way I think and perform. Jeff Coussens, for providing a ridiculously fun stage experience teaching the value of control and a directing class teaching the importance of composition and visual language. And Becki Arnold, Ben Gougeon, Jackie McCall and Christina Myatt.

From graphic design: Vickie Phipps and Kay Roderick. From film: Stacy Barton. 

Thank you, and countless people across all QC theaters, for these past four years.

Peak experience?

There are so many great experiences (literally, my total show count in four years is 50+), so it’s impossible to name one. I’ve been fortunate enough to work in so many creative avenues. 

To name a few of many: graphic design for the department and networking in Chicago; designing with faculty on Mainstage shows; directing work here and in the area; interning at Des Moines Opera; playing a range of characters from a Vaudevillian clown to a German clown; one-man film projects; foundational classes; etc.

What surprised you?

How frequently plans or expectations can change. This was frustrating at first, as someone who is always forward-thinking, but it was also thrilling, and a great life lesson. It also speaks to the nature of liberal arts. Doors are constantly opening and closing, and the pathways to success are so intersectional and non-predictable — especially for a career in the arts.

What will you miss the most?

My time at Augustana has been full of just creating with freedom to fail. I have felt safe in the performing and visual arts departments, and have essentially served as a resident creative in the theatre department. 

I will miss this the most — being an integral artist here and in the Quad-Cities arts scene, and learning, experiencing and exploring so much daily. The conversations and creative projects I have taken part in daily as a working artist in these communities have been so special.

Advice for the Class of 2028?

Stay curious. Any student here with a curious bug for growth, doing what they love and willingness to get knocked down, will flourish. My valuable time at Augie and in the Quad Cities made me a rhetorically, holistically informed artist and thinker, preparing me for a lifetime of liberal arts creativity.

"During Roger’s time here at Augie, Roger has somehow managed to participate in more than 50 theatre productions. Such an accomplishment indicative of not only skillset and work ethic but also sheer love of artistic expression. Roger is an artist, actor, designer ... an all-around creative person who I deeply admire. It is a joy and privilege to get to know and work with Roger. I look forward to seeing what comes next for Roger after he graduates from Augie."

– Vickie Phipps, associate professor/chair, art; associate professor, graphic design