Zack Byrd's parents expected that their children would go to college, "but they didn't have that chance themselves. When I got here, I loved it right away. I didn't sense a breath of elitism on this campus, like I did at other places." He did some theatre during high school, but didn't really understand what he was doing. "Freshman year, I took Acting I with Mark Sutch-and I realized, this is what I want to do!"
Acting as Empathy
"Like so many kids, I came here with all kinds of protective filters-protecting me from the world and from myself, I guess. The main process of my acting training has been to strip away those masks and find out who Zack really is." Human beings interest him more than anything else. "I'll never understand how things look to other people, but what's important is making the effort. That's how I approach every character I play-how might I relate to what this 'person' is going through?"
"What Dreams May Come..."
He received the college's Rawley P. Turner Drama Award for his performance in the title role in Hamlet his junior year, an experience he describes as "the best by far." He's following that up with Orgon, the gullible patriarch, in another classic, Molière's Tartuffe. He plans to continue his acting career after graduation, beginning as the Theatre Department Fellow.
A Terry Scholar
He came to Davidson as a Terry Scholar-"an incredible experience. I've learned so much. And I've realized that there are different ways to be a leader-not being in charge, for example! I've learned that the best leaders are often the best listeners."
A Bonner Scholarship has also made Davidson possible, and he is grateful. In fact, he is grateful for every grant or award that helps to create the student community he loves so much. He compares Davidson donors with arts patrons in Renaissance times. "In those days, people would commission an artist to create something beautiful, and step away, trusting the artist. I can't think of a better place to trust than Davidson to bring students together and give them the chance to make something beautiful."