|Actor Sean Hayes awarded at Founders Day|
|Written by Megan Maginity, News Editor|
|Thursday, 21 February 2013 17:38|
“ISU and the town of Normal means everything to me,” Sean Hayes, former ISU theater student, said. “I grew up here, and it made me the man I am today. I found my clique, who I was and all those great things.”
During this year’s ISU Founders Day, Hayes was awarded as the Honorary Degree Recipient. He has received critical acclaim for roles in television, theater and has recently become a successful producer in L.A.
While at ISU, Gov. Pat Quinn announced the new plan for the ISU fine arts complex.
“I thought 54 million bucks, my god, it’s so much cheaper to build here than L.A.,” he said. “But it’s incredible and important. I support that fully in any way I can.”
“I was shocked to hear I was getting this [ISU award],” he said. “I also graduated today because I left when I was 2 or 3 classes shy due to electives.”
While at ISU, Hayes was a piano performance major with a minor in theater.
“The best joke that the music department would always make was, ‘Don’t be sharp, don’t be flat, be natural,’” he said. “And I was like, ‘Um, I think I’m going to head over to the theater department.’”
The ISU theater department had more animated people,” Hayes said. He found himself more gravitated toward them than he did anyone else on campus.
Hayes also frequently found himself hanging out in the airport lounge, the gallery and the Watterson lobby, which he called “the lobster.”
“I was not a straight A student,” he added. “But I was drawn to what I liked, so I was more the arts, theater and music.”
Hayes was anxious to start on life and his career, so he left ISU. He tried to attend summer school to finish his degree, but he said he “couldn’t handle it” because he knew there were other things going on, he said due to his director position then at
Later, during his role in “Will & Grace,” Hayes became interested in directing.
“My mind was opened up. I realized the machine of Hollywood,” he explained.
In every character Hayes plays, he said there is always a piece of him.
“I certainly do not have the energy to be him [Jack McFarland] though,” he said. “I have grown up since then [“Will & Grace”]. I was 26, and it was a wonderful experience. I am happy to have moved on from it, but I’m grateful for the time spent with it.”