W&J Alum, Actress Shares Wisdom With Theatre Classes

Created: November 9, 2016
Last Updated: January 15, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (Nov. 8, 2016) – Actress Dawn McGee ’91, a familiar face on television commercials for Ally Bank, Progresso soup, and GEICO, returned to her old stomping grounds at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) this week to share wisdom with Professor Scott Frank’s Intro to Theatre and Film class and Professor Karin Maresh’s Acting class.

McGee fielded questions from students about her experiences in theatre troupes, acting schools, auditioning, and her favorite roles.

“It is so important for young people to meet alums who have followed a passion they discovered here at Jay,” Frank said. “Students need to see that living your dream can lead to a life fulfilled.”

McGee intended to major in pre-law while at W&J, and planned to attend law school after graduation. But an audition changed her plans.

“I auditioned for Pippin my sophomore year and was cast as the grandmother, Berthe,” McGee told the class. “From that moment on it just started to cook and fester inside me, this idea of acting.”

McGee studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in New York City after graduating from W&J. She took on self-described “survival jobs” – from bartending to teaching CPR to working as an assistant in a casting office – until earning professional roles in commercials, television shows, and movies.

Her list of television credits includes the Netflix award-winning “House of Cards,” TBS’ “Are We There Yet?,” FX’s “Louie,” and CBS’ “As the World Turns.” In 2007 she played a lead role in the PRISM award-winning movie Bobby Dogs, and in 2012 she appeared alongside Robert De Niro in the film Being Flynn.

She is currently in Pittsburgh as a cast member in Stephen Adly Guirgis’s “Between Riverside and Crazy,” which opens at Pittsburgh Public Theatre on Nov. 10.

“Dawn is the embodiment of hard work, dedication, artistic temperament, and sound business sense,” Frank said. “The students loved meeting her and sharing in her wisdom.”

 

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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