From: Ryan Hawkins
WSU Graduate ‘09
Where can you start, when you want to share a few glorious, fond, inspirational, and creative memories of your time in one of Vivian Fusillo’s classrooms at Winona State University? Seriously, there are so many great memories that even choosing three is enough to cause a migraine. Her imaginative approach to teaching a mind to strengthen its creative forces is something you will not find in today’s classrooms, where data rules and creativity is hindered by administrators who want proof, proof, and more proof that the text is being covered and memorization is utilized to correctly answer assessment questions. However, with Viv, whether you are rehearsing your lines in a play or reading lines in a text, she teaches you to see what COULD be written there and to find what is inferred. Those inferences are proof that you are making creative choices, and you are following not the stage directions but your great and powerful imagination.
You may remember Viv for her attire, her flare for fashion, her lovely red hair, her fantastic laugh, her friendly and welcoming smile, or her request to you to “JUST DO IT,” but I will remember her, and WSU, for strengthening my willingness to be me and to run with it. If it weren’t for the education that I received from this talented professor, I would not have had the courage to enter the educational field myself. However, with the creative power that she gave me, I am able to now pass that on to my students, and to SPEAK UP while doing it!
Thank you, Viv, for your work, your powerful friendship, and you willingness to just be you! Have a fantastic “graduation” from Winona State University. I know your creativity will lead you to yet another venue to express both your love of theatre and for education!