San Diego State’s Renaissance man

Bill Eadie. Elizabeth Santo, staff photographer.

Bill Eadie. Elizabeth Santo, staff photographer.

by David Dixon

Bill Eadie appears to be something of a Renaissance man. He has directed several stagings of plays, is a critic for a couple of websites including sandiegostory.com; former director of the San Diego State School of Communication; a professor; a member of MenAlive-The Orange County Gay Men’s Chorus; and is chair of the University Senate. I am also a contributor for sandiegostory.com and have worked with Eadie professionally since I was a Junior.

The Aztec: Do you consider yourself to be a Renaissance man?

Bill Eadie: That is maybe too strong of a term. I have a set of interests like everybody else. I’ve always loved the arts. That’s what I really wanted to do when I went to college. I wanted to major in theater, but my parents wouldn’t let me do it. Instead, I majored in communication because I was very interested in that. When I finally had to decide what to do with my life after college, I chose to keep going to school. I ended up getting a Ph.D. and started to teach, which is what I’ve pretty much have been doing for my whole career.

TA: What is the secret to your success?

BE: Smiling a lot. That is partially because of insecurities I had as a kid and some of it is because I had a terrible overbite. When I opened my mouth, it looked like I was smiling. So, I figured, why not be genuinely happy and be glad to see people? I think one of the things that helps me is that I value relationships. I value being able to be open to other people and to have honest, good discussions.

TDA: Do sacrifices have to be made in order to do it all?

BE: There’s only so many hours in the day and you have to make choices regarding what your life is going to be about. I’ve never married. I don’t have any kids. I had a lot of trouble accepting my own sexuality. That was part of my emotional turmoil when I was in college. I didn’t come out as gay until I was 43 and by that point all my patterns were well-established and hard to break. However, I’ve been very happy with my life. You don’t have to do it all in order to be happy. You just have to find the things that make you happy and do it well.

TA: What is you favorite moment of your career?

BE: One of the best moments of my career was getting to work in San Diego. I’ve always loved San Diego. My parents moved here and I visited quite frequently and thought San Diego State was a wonderful institution.

TA: What is advice you would give to students?

BE: The arts are hard. Try to be realistic about your talent. That can be difficult when you are in school and find out that there are people who have talents equal to or better than your own. If it’s your passion, figure out a way of pursuing it. Unless you’re really talented or lucky, then you aren’t going to make a lot of money.

Still, you can enjoy it. That’s what I do with theater. I felt like I had to put theater at the side, but the arts kept on popping back on in my life. I always find some way to be involved, even just as a fan.

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Image by Elizabeth Santo. staff photographer

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