Collegian Q&A with spring commencement’s faculty speaker Diane Timmerman

Collegian file photo. 


Diane Timmerman, department of theatre chair and professor, will represent Butler University as the 2017 Spring Commencement faculty speaker. She came to Butler in 1993 and has since taught voice, acting and theatre courses. Timmerman is the producing artistic director of a Shakespeare theater company and directed many plays. Her daughter will also graduate with the Class of 2017.


Photo from Butler’s website.

The Butler Collegian: What has your experience been like working at Butler?

Diane Timmerman: I absolutely love Butler. I have always loved my students and my colleagues. I love the atmosphere at Butler, I love the creativity and energy at Butler. It’s a wonderful place to have a life.


TBC: What is your main goal for the speech?

DT: I’m actually still working on it. There are so many valuable life lessons to gain from theater into life, which is why the skills that one learns in a theater degree are 100 percent transferrable. So many of the things we learn as actors are completely applicable to one’s life. Whether that is interactions within our immediate circles or if that is in a hospital, pharmacy, courtroom or a TV newsroom. So much of what we do in theater applies to life because theater is about life. Acting is about interacting with other human beings and everybody does that, whether that’s professionally or personally, usually both. I’m going to, hopefully in a way that people find appealing and interesting, talk about how essential theater skills are essential life skills.


TBC: How are you going to connect with all students?

DT: I’ve been to nearly every commencement since 1993. I love the Butler commencement ceremony. It’s been in a number of different locations over the years that I’ve been at Butler. It was in the old Starlight Theater when I first arrived. Now that’s torn down, but it was near the Butler Bowl. The commencement exercises started in that. I’ve been to more than twenty Butler commencements, so I know that this is a moment to speak to the entire community of students. It’s an opportunity for me to do something that I love to do, which is to connect to all of the students, faculty and parents at Butler in way that I’m usually speaking to a more targeted audience as chair of theatre.


TBC: How are you practicing or planning for this speech?

DT: I do a lot of my writing when I am out running everyday, out jogging on the paths. I do a lot of my thinking about what I’m going to say. A lot of speeches come together out on some country road where I’ve been jogging. That’s my prep.


TBC: What was your reaction to being chosen as speaker?

DT: This is truly one of the biggest honors of my life. I’m completely thrilled that I was selected. People have told me before that I’ve been nominated, and when they sent me the email a couple of weeks ago, I just couldn’t believe it. And now, here we are.


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