Renowned actor Wendie Malick '72 is one of many OWU alumni who return to campus to speak and work with students. Wendie starred in the NBC sitcom "Just Shoot Me!," where she was nominated for two Primetime Emmys and a Golden Globe Award. Her many roles in television and films also include starring roles in the HBO sitcom "Dream On" and the TV Land sitcom "Hot in Cleveland."

A Sample of Performing Arts Alumni

Performing arts graduates from OWU are enjoying successful careers in the arts and entertainment, education, and almost every field imaginable, from business to medicine to public service. No matter where their career path leads, many enrich their life by continuing to practice their art.

Rachel Ballitch '19, Music & Voice Performance

Studying opera performance at University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music
"As a music student and recent alumna of Ohio Wesleyan University, I attribute every educational and professional success in my career thus far to the faculty of the music department therein. OWU's phenomenal music faculty provides one-on-one instruction, individualized attention, and practical experiences that one would not receive elsewhere. I can say with absolute certainty that OWU's music department prepared me academically, musically, artistically, and personally for the next step in my career."

Rachel Scherrer '18, Theatre

MFA Student at The New School, New York City
Since graduating, Rachel Scherrer has worked as a social media manager and a patient services representative. At OWU, she participated in a semester-long study abroad at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She says: "Obviously when you travel, you see a different corner of the world, but there's something different about having the practical, hands-on learning experience studying abroad gives you."

Read About Rachel's Semester in New Zealand

Jiamo Zhang '18, Piano Performance

Graduate student at Bowling Green State University
"The friendly environment and supportive professors in the department of music motivated me and prepared me to continue my musical journey as a graduate student. Ensembles including the Chamber Choir, Choral Art Society, Chamber Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and musical productions offered incredible, rich resources that have enabled me to become a mature musician. Students at OWU are passionate musicians and love to collaborate and learn. As an international student, I embraced the unity and friendship in the Department of Music. Ohio Wesleyan University was an excellent choice for me, and the school embraced me as a valued student. I enjoyed a positive and challenging educational experience at OWU."

Liam Keller '17, Music Education

Orchestra Director at School of the Chathams, Westfield, NJ
The Department of Music at Ohio Wesleyan has fundamentally shaped who I am as an educator and as a musician. Thanks to professors such as Dr. Griffin, Dr. Wasserman, Dr. Roden, and many others, I was able to perform with every group on campus and even lead the Wind Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra during my time as a student. I am now in my dream job as the Director of Orchestras in a top-five district in New Jersey and am performing regularly with acts all over the tri-state area.

Jessica Stanik '17, B.A., Music, Chemistry, and Pre-Dentistry

Enrolled in Ohio State University College of Dentistry
"I looked for a school that would allow me to pursue not only the discipline which would define my career path, but also permit the continuation and expansion of my passion for music. Ohio Wesleyan provided me this opportunity. While at OWU I majored in Music, Chemistry, and Pre-Dentistry, and was able to not only complete these degrees but also thrive within them. The experiences I received during my time in the music program shaped me as a musician, a student, and a professional, and the music department faculty were an integral part of making this happen. Thanks to the skills and connections I cultivated during my time at OWU, I am now completing my dental degree at the Ohio State University and continue to perform in various ensembles and venues during the majority of my available time."

Ryan Haddad '15, Theatre and English

Actor and Playwright, New York
Ryan Haddad's acclaimed solo play "Hi, Are You Single?," developed in Ohio Wesleyan's creative writing workshops, earned Ohio Wesleyan's 2015 Excellence in Performance Award and has since been performed in New York and across the country to sold-out audiences, with Huffington Post calling his performance "a stirring work of theater...that should and needs to be seen." He has a recurring role on the Netflix series "The Politician" with additional television appearances in "Bull," "Madam Secretary," and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt." He has many stage credits in New York.

Lauren Holler '15, Dance Theatre and Politics & Government

Attorney at Yourkvitch & Dibo and Artistic Director of Expedition Dance, Cleveland
At OWU Lauren Holler was student body president, served as a choreographer for Orchesis Dance Co., and interned with Battery Dance Company in New York through the New York Arts Program. She completed a law degree in 2019 and a master's in public administration in 2020. In her choreography, she uses dance as a mechanism for social relatability and enjoys bringing political theory to the stage.

Brianna Robinson '15, Voice Performance

Operatic Soprano, Boston Lyric Opera
Brianna Robinson took her first music lesson at OWU, majored in Music Performance (Voice), then launched a promising opera career. She joined Boston Lyric Opera as part of its Emerging Artists initiative and recently performed the role of Lucy in their production of "Fellow Travelers." (Photo courtesy of Boston Lyric Opera)

Brianna Robinson on video

Jason Bogdany '14, Theatre

Development Database Coordinator at Playhouse Square, Cleveland, Ohio
Jason Bodgany manages and works to improve the overall structure and processes of Playhouse Square's development database. In addition to appearing in several productions at OWU, he worked in the University's Phonathon Center and served as the student supervisor for two years.

Matthew Jamison '14, Theatre and Women's & Gender Studies

Ph.D. Student in Performance Studies at University of California, Berkeley
At OWU, Matthew Jamison studied abroad at Utrecht, Berlin, Prague, and Krakow, and he served on the Theatre & Dance Student Board. He worked for three years at an organization supporting a performing arts high school in Houston before moving on to graduate school at Berkeley.

Leah Porrata '13, Theatre Education

Artistic Director of Theatre, Central Florida Community Arts
While at OWU, Leah Shaeffer Porrata worked as a pre-service drama teacher at Columbus City Schools and Dublin City Schools. She worked with Columbus Children's Theatre and Cleveland Play House before moving on to become Director of Education at Gulfshore Playhouse in Naples, Florida. She then joined Central Florida Community Arts in Orlando, first as Senior Director of Education and Outreach, and now as Artistic Director of Theatre.

Annie Moosa '11, Music Education

Choral Director, Dublin City Schools (Ohio)
"The small class sizes, personable and talented professors, amazing resources, and fantastic learning opportunities were just a few of the many reasons why making OWU my second home an easy decision. One of the highlights was traveling to Salzburg, Austria, with our choral director, Dr. Jason Hiester; I received private piano instruction from a world renowned pianist, and attended concerts by famous musicians each evening. It was a trip I'll never forget!"

Forrest Rilling '11, Theatre

Senior Associate, KARV Communications, New York City
After graduating, Forrest Rilling began a communications career as a communications assistant with a congressional campaign. He progressed to media and communications work in the U.S. House of Representatives and agencies, before moving to New York. He now works as a communications strategist for a wide range of clients.

John Landis '10, Music Education

Trumpet Instrumentalist in the U.S. Navy Fleet Bands
Master of Music, Temple University
"I am still reaping the benefits of the thinking and performing skills I developed as a Battling Bishop. I was playing in many groups at Ohio Wesleyan from the beginning of my studies. Even as a freshman trumpet player I was able to participate in the chamber orchestra, wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, large brass choir, and trumpet ensemble. Additionally, I had exposure to central Ohio's rich network of performing arts institutions. My work in the music department prepared me for my life after OWU, which included graduate studies, third prize in the 2015 National Trumpet Competition, and my work as trumpet instrumentalist in the U.S. Navy Fleet Bands."

David Crawford '00, Voice Performance

Bass-Baritone with Metropolitan Opera, New York
"I chose OWU instead of a traditional conservatory because of many reasons. I wanted to experience college life but at the same time be able to refine my craft at the highest level. And OWU was one of the few places where I saw both of those options available. As a liberal arts school OWU was able to offer me a wonderful college experience and began preparing me for a career as a singer. I had no idea how far it would take me. I am currently singing full time at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC. The attention to detail that OWU provided has not only helped me on the stage, but in life as well. The support that was found in the music department made me more confident after I left to be creative and to push myself higher and faster. I am so lucky to have made it this far already, and am hoping to continue this success. I owe most of my gratitude to OWU."

Chris Cowen '94, Theatre

President & Founder, STATION 10 Media, Westlake Village, CA
Christopher Cowen is an Emmy award-winning producer who has garnered four Emmy Award nominations, and won once. Before founding STATION 10, Cowen served as the EVP of Original Programming of Herzog & Company for 13 years, where he led that team to an impressive slate of  projects including CNN's acclaimed "Decade Series." Cowen's credits additionally include the feature-length special Gettysburg for History, which won four Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Nonfiction Special.

Department Contact Info


Ohio Wesleyan University
61 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015
P 800-922-8953
F 740-368-3314

Department Contacts

Chair: Frank Chiou
Associate Professor of Music

Academic Assistant: Lisa Hill
740-368-3702 (Sanborn Hall – Music)
740-368-3846 (Chappelear Drama Center – Theatre)