Professors Who Went Here: Jonathan Tazewell ’84

The Thrill is pleased to introduce a new occasional feature: “Professors Who Went Here,” which features current Kenyon professors who also completed their undergraduate education on the Hill. This week we talked to Thomas S. Turgeon Professor of Drama, Jonathan Tazewell ’84. 

Professor Tazewell ’84. Via kenyon.edu

How has Kenyon changed since your undergraduate years?

I came to Kenyon as a first-year student in the fall of 1980. I was a legacy kid because my uncle had graduated from Kenyon in 1961. My parish priest had also gone to seminary at Bexley Hall when it was a part of Kenyon.
Kenyon has changed in many ways since I was a student, but what is most significant to me is that it is a more diverse and more liberal place than it was in the early ’80s. The population of students of color was less than 3%, and there were few non-white faculty members and no African American faculty. The families of students that I knew were mostly moderate to conservative in their political views, and that political point of view dominated the the campus.

How does the knowledge you gained about Kenyon during your undergraduate years influence your teaching? 

Much or most of what I learned as a student at Kenyon has made me the teacher I am today. I did not understand at the time that the Baby Drama class that I took as a student would be one of the most important courses in my career, and that watching and studying the teaching of my Kenyon professors would significantly shape what I do and how I do it. My Kenyon education taught me how to be a lifelong scholar. It gave me opportunities to be creative and to model professionalism in my work.

What is your fondest memory of Kenyon as an undergrad and as a professor? 

I have many fond memories of my time at Kenyon, most of which have to do with performing with the Kokes or on the Bolton stage, and I have made many great friends with my peers, my teachers, and my students. But I think my fondest memory may be directing my son, who is a Kenyon senior, in a production here and working with my good friend and former student, Jason Walker, who composed the music.

Anything else you would like to tell us?

The college remains a spectacularly beautiful place, but it is so much richer and more beautiful for the diversity and acceptance of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality.

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