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The Sum of My Debt

Joseph McGranaghanAn Interview With Actor and FSU/Asolo Conservatory Graduate Joseph McGranaghan

Gift Planning (GP): Joseph, how you became interested in acting?
Joseph McGranaghan (JM): I was an athlete in high school, primarily a pitcher on the baseball team. But in the spring of my junior year I got tendinitis in my throwing shoulder and had to miss the entire baseball season. I started looking for other after-school activities and, on a whim, auditioned for the school musical, Oklahoma. I ended up playing this bitter character and I kind of channeled my disappointment into this creative endeavor. It was revelatory, the whole experience.

GP: Why did you choose to study at the Asolo?
JM: The scholarships offered by the FSU/Asolo were a big factor in my decision. I had been accepted into other programs, all reputable, but extremely expensive. Also I was really impressed with the people I met when interviewing and their commitment to training the next generation of theatre artists and leaders. Finally, the professional relationship with the Asolo Theatre factored heavily into my decision.

GP: What was the impact of receiving a scholarship and/or financial aid?
JM: Ask around among MFA actors in New York and you'll hear a lot of people talk about the crippling debt they incurred while receiving their education. I was extremely fortunate to have received top-notch training for free and even benefited from a generous living stipend.

But that doesn't mean I don't understand debt. I carry a debt I can never pay back. I owe my education, my career, and some of the best years of my life to the generous community of donors who sponsored me throughout my time at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. I owe this debt to the donors who supported the graduate acting program at FSU and to the people who supported me financially and emotionally throughout my graduate school experience. I don't expect I'll ever be able to pay back this debt; I can only hope to make them proud by someday paying it forward.

GP: That is amazing! What are your current projects? Career goals?
JM: I am currently writing a full-length play about futures trading on Wall Street and I am in rehearsal for an off- off-Broadway production of Life Is a Dream. I also teach acting to young artists. As for goals, I'm very happy working in regional and off-Broadway theatre, but I would like to break into the film and television scene in New York City.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Florida State University a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Florida State University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Tallahassee, Florida, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

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The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

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