Posting Date: March 18, 2011
Meet Patrick Baxter: Future doctor turned future actor
By Felicia Ervin
Photo by Tracie L. Hinnant
Patrick Baxter knew exactly what he wanted to do when he entered Kennesaw State University as a biology major: become a veterinarian. However, after taking an acting seminar as a freshman, Patrick became so smitten with the stage that he decided to a double major in biology and theater. Eventually, Patrick found that pursuing both areas was too time consuming and he had to make a choice.
Now a junior at KSU, Patrick says that what he likes most about the KSU Department of Theatre, Performance Studies & Dance is the open door policy that the professors have with the students. “I can go to any one of my professors with a question and they will be more than happy to answer it for me or find someone who can. They care about your success as a student and as an actor.” Patrick is also impressed that many of the instructors in the department work professionally in the Atlanta theater community and hopes to establish good relationships as a student that can lead to professional opportunities after he graduates.
There is one professor Patrick credits with setting him on the path to a career in acting, Associate Professor Harrison Long. It was Long who encouraged Patrick to take an acting class after seeing him perform in the acting seminar. “Patrick is the kind of guy you always want around”, says Long. “He’s hard working and has a great attitude. He is never afraid to roll up his sleeves and do whatever it takes for a project.”
While at KSU, Patrick has built an impressive collection of work. Last semester, he was featured in the production of “What’s Your Secret?” and also in fellow student Ralph Del Rosario’s “Skin Drunk.” He also helped develop a theater company called The Collective with KSU alumni Phillip Justman, Corey Bradberry and Andrew Puckett. The group has performed in such venues as 7 Stages, Theatre in the Square and The Earl Smith Strand Theatre. Patrick is also vice president of Alpha Psi Omega, the theater honor society at KSU. Through this group, he’s able to work with freshmen acting students. “It’s fun to see them grow and have them come to me with questions. I can help them develop and do what I can to get them where they want to be.”
Patrick is not the only one in his family who chose a career in the arts. His older sister is studying music and his younger sister plans to study photography. Patrick jokingly states, “My parents wanted three doctors or lawyers and they ended up with three artists.” However, Patrick explains that once they realized his talent and passion for the art form, they offered their full support.
As for his plans after KSU, Patrick plans to go to graduate school but wants to work as an actor first. He also wants to grow and develop his acting group and make it a well-known name in the Atlanta theater community.
This is a far cry from someone who originally wanted to be a doctor, but Patrick feels he made the right choice. “I can’t imagine doing anything else.”