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An alum traveled back to Atchison, Kansas, from Broadway to inspire students.
Each April, Benedictine College cancels classes to allow for a day of extra-curricular learning as hundreds of students give presentations on subjects including music, engineering, economics, history, theology, biology, chemistry, theater, language, dance, sociology, psychology, computer programming, and philosophy.
This year, the day included a keynote address from Kingsley Leggs, who graduated from Benedictine in 1983 with a degree in Music. He has appeared on Broadway in Sister Act, The Color Purple and Miss Saigon and is currently appearing in Pretty Woman.
How did he get from Kansas to New York City? “You have to get out of your comfort zone to grow,” he told students.
“I do regard my time at Benedictine and the liberal arts education I received to be the single most defining experience in my life. I stand here today the direct product of the support prayers of family and friends, hard work, tough love, patience perseverance and divine providence,” he said. “It all began right here where I studied and learned how to make art and so much more.”
“Your journey is specific to you. Your life. Your experiences. And your demons, that you have to face and work through. You’ll have to find the courage to be open and honest so that you can receive the help from others and can help yourself,” said Leggs.
“Remember this,” he said. “God created you for greatness, and God wants you to be happy.”
His presentation, “Putting it Together: Benedictine, Broadway and Beyond,” included memories of his time on campus, stories from his career, songs from some of the musicals he has been in, and heartfelt advice. Kathryn Dalzell, a 1980 Music graduate, accompanied him on piano.
He concluded with some thoughts about the Liberal Arts and the value of the kind of education received at Benedictine College.
“A Liberal Arts education, by design, teaches you about putting it together,” he explained. “It makes you diverse, well-rounded, and grounded in the knowledge that everything you learn here will serve you and increase your ability to succeed in a now very complex world.”
“Part of the advantage of coming from a liberal arts college that is faith based is that you know who’s really in control,” he said.