LEAP Alumni Highlight Connor Kealey at Augustana College



Since graduating from the LEAP Master’s program, life has been very busy. This is a good thing. My busy schedule means that what I learned and took away from my time in the graduate program is really paying off.

In early fall, I took a position at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois as the manager of performance tours and arts promotion. In this position I lead the event management and public relations efforts for all on- and off-campus arts events projects, manage the department of music’s ensemble tours and travel with ensembles, serve as a member of the communication and marketing staff, maintain relationships with local, regional and national media as well as arts and music community leaders and organizations, and much more.

I really am enjoying my new role because I am able to put into practice so much of what I learned at CSU. The LEAP program provides the opportunities to not only explore the management of the arts and culture, but to also enrich yourself with knowledge from a broad rang of disciplines. In my time in the program, I was encouraged by our faculty members to continue to reach for more and that kind of support is invaluable.

Something I have really enjoyed in my one year as an alum is being able to stay connected with the program and with other alumni. As we know, the arts world thrives off of connections and collaboration and so being able to have a space for that in LEAP even after graduating is really great.

Outside of my “day job”, I serve on the Quad City Arts Committee made up of arts influencers and corporate partners. Recently, I have joined the team at the Quad City Theatre Workshop as their publicity manager, which has been a rewarding experience. My plan is too add more responsibility to that list the longer I am here in the Midwest. Going to graduate school in a place like Fort Collins was inspiring because so many people in the FoCo community are dedicated to a thriving arts community. Between the passion of the community and the enthusiasm of my peers in the program, I found myself almost constantly motivated to be a part of positive change in the community. Working on the Larimer County Science and Cultural Facilities District ballot item was a good example of this and now that the ballot was passed funding will significantly boost the number, range and affordability of scientific and cultural experiences offered in creative pursuits for Larimer County residents.

This summer I will be doing some on the ground planning and visiting Sweden, France, Italy and Spain for The Augustana Choir tour in summer 2018, California for the Augustana Symphonic Band tour in spring 2018 and finally Chicago for the Augsutana Symphony Orchestra tour in fall 2017.

There is so much more to learn every day in the work of an arts manager and public relations practitioner, but having the tools and lessons from my time at CSU helps me to navigate my career is something for which I am very grateful. I look forward to continuing my relationship with the LEAP program and continuing to make a name for the graduate program that I call home.

View the video posted by Connor, reflecting on his time at LEAP and at his new position in Rock Island, Illinois.