GRADUATES: Make Their Mark - Brad Gebben '12
Brad Gebben makes a wry comparison between his two academic majors, theatre and religion. “In one, you learn how to ‘lie.’ The other teaches you that lying is bad.”
The senior from Effingham, Ill., balances a deeply spiritual nature with a flair for the dramatic. While the bowling program and a Presidential Scholarship lured him to McKendree, a conversation with the chaplain, Rev. Tim Harrison, sealed the deal. Brad, who contributes at least community service 200 hours each semester, has felt called to service since his final year of high school. “I knew I never wanted to sit behind a desk the rest of my life,” he said.
In two years he completed all but two classes required of religion majors. Within one year, he learned to read Biblical Greek and mastered a basic command of Greek words, translating them into English and forming simple sentences.
With ample time to pursue a second major, the stage beckoned. Brad had participated in high school theatre productions and has acted in several plays at McKendree, starring most recently as the villain in a melodrama.
"My theatre background gives me the ability to stand in front of a crowd..."
His two majors complement each other. “My theatre background gives me the ability to stand in front of a crowd and speak for a long time. Also, the lighting and sound equipment that a lot of churches have are the same things we use for theatre.”
While at ease in front of a crowd, Brad doesn’t plan to preach from a pulpit. When he enters the seminary next fall, he will concentrate on pastoral care and chaplaincy. He wants to specialize in homeless and special needs ministry, offering spiritual counseling and Bible study in group homes or one-on-one with the mentally disabled.
In the meantime, the six-foot, five-inch gentle giant is perfecting his juggling moves, lately with cigar boxes. It’s a skill he picked up in a body control and movement class, where drama students juggle pins to integrate mind and motion.
"I encourage students to get involved as soon as you possibly can."
Brad has kept a lot of balls in the air during four years at McKendree, as a member of three fraternities, the bowling team, new Frisbee club, student safety patrol, Interfaith Council, Campus Ministries and Philosophy Club, to name just a few. “I encourage students to get involved as soon as you possibly can,” he said.