We sat down with St. Edward’s University alumnus, Aaron Clay, for a brief Q&A. The ’04 Theater Arts Major is currently working as the Director of Communications for Amy’s Ice Creams in Austin, Texas. Hear what Aaron has to say about his experience at St. Edward’s University, as a transfer student and how the theater arts program helped shape who he is now.
Q: What do you do for Amy’s Ice Cream?
A: As a communications director, I take care of all the marketing and public relations work for the company. I’m also a company-wide facilitator for something we call “open-book management.” We open up all the financial books to all of our employees. My role is to introduce those finances and to teach people how to read those financial statements, so that anybody can participate in the business.
Q: That’s an interesting job for a Theater Arts major…
A: Everything you need to learn about life, you learn in a theater class. That’s what I like to say. Communication is key and connecting with your community is really important. Without being part of the theater community at St. Edward’s, I wouldn’t have learned how to connect with people in the same way. That’s something I use in my day-to-day life. I really believe that the Theater Arts program at St. Edward’s taught, at a very advanced level, how to connect and collaborate with other human beings to make something special.
Q: Why did you transfer to St. Edward’s?
A: I went to another university in South Texas on a scholarship, but it wasn’t meeting my needs. I needed something greater to connect to. My friend suggested I see a show at St. Edward’s. I went to see A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and I was blown away by the performance. Here were college students that were actually performing at a professional level with live orchestrations and amazing technical abilities. I thought, I can do that too. I know I can do that too. When it came time to apply, I auditioned, and I was so happy I was accepted.
Q: What did you think once you got here?
A: St. Edward’s blew my expectations away. The school blew me away when it came to theater, when it came to art, when it came to history. It wasn’t until I came here that I realized, oh, there’s way more to the world than what I think there is. It took the small-town boy out of me and said, "the world is your oyster!"
Q: What does liberal arts mean to you?
A: You can go to any other school and learn a very focused, narrow way of doing something. At St. Edward’s, you take classes that expand your horizons, and you can see more, and you’re able to grow as a person and impact the world in a way you wouldn’t with just that narrow focus. It’s like seeing a bowling alley. You can either see just your lane or the entire alley. Why would anybody want to just see one lane when they could see the whole alley with people having fun?
Q: Do you have any advice for current students?
A: Don’t sleep! Go on campus, go have fun, go travel the world, do study abroad. Whatever you do, don’t spend your time at home sleeping. Talk with people. Work with people. You meet people who are going to be part of your life for the rest of your life. You don’t want to waste any moment because there’s so much awesomeness happening.