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Wesley Sanders’ classes play a strong, supporting role in his pursuit to become a Methodist minister as he learns to understand people. His work in theater helps, too.

Wesley Sanders, from Freeville, N.Y. (located between Ithaca and Cortland), says his psychology major is instrumental as he goes through the ministry’s candidacy process.

“So much of being a pastor isn’t about theology or knowing facts about religion,” says Sanders, who grew up in Georgia, moved to New York as a teen and became active in his community church. “It’s about your relationship with parishioners and being able to help them relate to God. My psychology has helped me to understand how people think and why they do the things they do.”

Sanders took a Biblical history course from the Judaic Studies Department for a different viewpoint on the Old Testament. He also has taken acting courses that have made him aware of speaking habits that he can improve upon when at the pulpit or interacting with others in the future.

Sanders has kept busy in the Theatre Department. His first year on campus, he was stage manager for the productions of Rabbit Hole and Little Women. He also managed the musical Urinetown. The key off-stage job required him to coordinate actors and the design team, move props and give instructions to the crew from the control room during the performances.

“I jumped in there with both feet because stage managing a show takes up a lot of time,” says Sanders, who had worked in high school and community theater. “There were nightly rehearsals every weekday for four hours and a seven-hour rehearsal on the weekends.”

Anne Brady, associate professor of Theatre and director of Rabbit Hole, Little Women and Urinetown, says Sanders was an instrumental part of the theater team.

“I cannot say enough positive things about (him),” she says. “He is an extremely intelligent, knowledgeable, kind, generous, highly responsible and efficient young man who is an enormous pleasure to work with.”

Planning to attend a seminary in the south after graduation won't keep Sanders away from the stage lights.

“I hope I always have the chance to work in the theater,” he says. “I really love the process and the people you meet. I love the people in the Theatre Department and everything I do at here.”
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Last Updated: 5/18/10