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The Professor Is In: Grant Kretchik

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PPA Associate Director Grant Kretchik discusses the importance of curiosity, finding your place in the world, and why he’d enjoy being a wildlife conservationist.

Grant Kretchik, professor and associate director of the School of Performing Arts, has long been a fan-favorite at Pace. An accomplished actor and director with experience in theater, film and television, and commercial work, Professor Kretchik, a Pace alumnus himself, has played a major role in helping train the next generation of PPA success stories. Since starting as an adjunct in 2005, Kretchik has undoubtedly become one of the more instrumental members of the Pace Community—and if you’re fortunate enough to sit in on one of his classes or see any of his work, you’ll know exactly why.

We were very fortunate to have Kretchik—who was armed with his trademark wit and insightful honesty—stop by Opportunitas for this month’s edition of The Professor Is In.

What was one thing or person that made you passionate about your current career?

My high school drama teacher. I still maintain that my true passion for theater, performing, or teaching acting comes from doing what I was doing in my hometown, in community theater and my high school.

What quality do you most value in your students?

Curiosity. I think the theater could be such a world that seduces people to capitalize on their beauty or seek fame—I’m interested in students who are curious about the world. Curious about how history, philosophy, science, politics, etc. shape the world and the stories that we tell in performing arts.

What’s your advice to students to make the most out of their time in college?

Work hard, play hard. Stay out late but be prepared and ready to work at your 9:00 a.m. class. Find that balance between being a great student and growing as a person—find out who you are—not the person your parents sent to college, but the person you aim to become. And don’t take yourself too seriously.

If you had to do it all over again and took another path, what profession would you choose? What profession would you not choose?

I would want to be a wildlife conservationist—I have a real love for almost every other species that isn’t ours.

At all costs? I don’t think I’d avoid any. My current self might not like this other self—but I’d give it all a go.

What is your favorite word? Least favorite word?

My favorite word is "Jitney." It reminds me of my 96-year-old great grandmother. It’s like an old lady word that the Hamptons has made cool again. And it’s just fun to say.  

My least favorite word is "poop." I really hate when people try to make disgusting things cute.

What is your guilty pleasure TV show or mobile app?

In the middle of a devious laugh, Professor Kretchik says, “I can’t answer this question. I’ll assume my lack of answer is answer enough.”

What was your favorite class as a student? Least favorite?

My favorites were definitely theater, acting classes.

My least favorite was CIS—Computer Information Systems. Just terrible.

If you were a Pace student, what class would you like to take with another Pace professor?

I graduated from Pace and I always loved my classes with Professor Barry Morris. Aside from that, probably environmental science or peace and justice.

What would you do if you had an extra hour every day?

Who reads this? Just refer people to my answer under guilty pleasure.

What is your favorite professional or personal journey/experience?

Travel to Africa—there was nothing quite as humbling as working with conservationists and seeing wildlife and understanding how much there is worth saving. You gain a real understanding of your role in the world and how small your life is and how brief your time is here.

What is your favorite saying/words to live by?

Find something you love, and do it like you mean it. I have another one but I don’t think you can print the F word.  

If you could have any five people living or dead, imagined or real, as guests at a dinner party, who would you choose?

Dolly Parton, Hillary Clinton, Princess Diana, Judy Garland, and Mae West. Of course now every gay man in America wants to crash my party!

Have a suggestion for the next installment of The Professor Is In? E-mail us.