Converse Welcomes Broadway Star Kimilee Bryant ’88 as 2017 Commencement Speaker
March 29, 2017
Converse College’s Class of 2017 has announced that leading Broadway performer and Converse alumna Kimilee Bryant ’88 will give the commencement address at the graduation ceremony on May 20.
Bryant performed the role of ‘Christine’ in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, as well as in Switzerland and Toronto. She is the only former ‘Christine’ to play all three leading Phantom of the Opera roles (Christine, Carlotta, and Madame Giry) in Broadway history. Her television and film appearances include “Law and Order”, “Blue Bloods, “Ally McBeal”, “The Good Wife”, “The Following” and “The Amazing Spiderman 2.”
Senior class president, Kirby Lesesne ’17 is thrilled to have Bryant speak to her graduating class as they take their first steps towards their professional futures. “She exemplifies the Converse woman,” said Lesesne. “Using her education and skills from Converse, she has gone on to lead a successful career in her desired field.”
“Bringing Kimillee Bryant back to Converse for our commencement…shows the bond of the Converse sisterhood lasts throughout and across generations.”
Bryant discovered her love for the stage while growing up in Greenville, South Carolina. She performed solos at local churches and dance recitals. As she honed her skills, Bryant landed roles with the Greenville Little Theatre and the SC Governors School for the Arts.
While a vocal performance student at Converse, Bryant performed various roles for the Opera Workshop, won multiple National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competitions and was awarded numerous scholarships from the Greenville Music Club, the Crescent Music Club and the Miss America pageant. Graduate studies took her to New York City where she earned her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music. She has performed on several occasions at The South Carolina State capital and the Governor’s Mansion, as well as for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at an event in NYC.
“Having a graduate with Kimilee’s diverse success and determination is the perfect way to usher Converse graduates onto their professional paths,” Lesesne said. “Every one of my classmates has put an immense amount of energy into preparing for their lives outside of Converse, while still being able to be leaders inside of our Converse community.”
Kimilee’s return to her Converse community after a whirlwind career on the stage and screen is the latest step in her distinct journey. Her latest role as ‘Mommy’ to her one-year-old son is yet another milestone taking her to new heights, while still staying grounded in her roots and her Converse sisterhood. “Bringing Kimillee Bryant back to Converse for our commencement demonstrates the longevity of our sisterhood,” Lesesne said. “It shows that the bond of the Converse sisterhood lasts throughout and across generations.”