For Mike Endy, The Past is Prologue
By Misty Browning
It’s easy to hear the excitement in his voice about Weatherford College’s future when you talk to Mike Endy.
There’s an energy that radiates from him as he explains his role as vice president of workforce education at Weatherford College. His job coordinates all of the workforce programs with faculty and staff for students in the Emerging Technologies and Workforce Building.
“We develop new programs and new opportunities for the future. That is why it’s called emerging technologies, not just the workforce building. We are figuring out what we need to do next, and that is exciting to me,” he explained.
Current and former students know that this is not Endy’s only role at the college. In his spare time, he works with students in the theatre department. Right now, he’s preparing to direct the upcoming summer production of “The Tempest” starting on June 9.
“I taught James Brownlee (WC’s current theatre program director) and was his instructor 25 years ago,” Endy said. “We have been doing things off and on together for the last few years, usually in the summer.
“One day he said, ‘Hey, do you want to do ‘The Tempest?’ We kicked it around, and I said, ‘How about you let me direct, and you play Prospero,’ because generationally I’m a little too old for that role right now since I’m now 61.”
Endy has had a decades-long run as an on-stage actor. His love of theatre started back in his high school days in Pennsylvania. His original goal was to be a writer and study journalism in college. He got bitten by the acting bug after he tried out for a high school production to fill some free time.
“I switched to theatre because I appeared to have some talent for it when I was in high school, and I couldn’t play ice hockey anymore because I hurt my knees,” he said. “So, I became an actor and apparently did OK with it for a while.”
Endy was born in an industrial community and is the first generation in his home to graduate from college, receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatrical Performance degree from Pennsylvania State University. During his undergraduate studies, he developed a love for William Shakespeare and his writing, working mainly with Shakespearean companies throughout his acting career.
“I love the way he writes, and it was a natural fit,” he said. “I’m a big, scary-looking guy to some people, and with the voice I had at the time, it was a natural place for me to go. I’m 6’2”, and as my mentor said, ‘You don’t dance, and it looks like you kill people for fun, so that’s what you are going to do. Here is a broad sword. Learn how to say these words correctly.’
“I’ve played Marc Anthony in ‘Julius Caesar.’ I’ve been in ‘Henry IV’ and ‘Othello,’ all at Texas Tech University when I was there,” he said.
Endy went on to receive his master’s degree at Wichita State University in dramatic theory and criticism in communication. He started teaching at Western Texas College in 1992 and moved to Weatherford in 1997 to become the department chair of fine arts at Weatherford College. He was promoted to dean a year later.
Over the years, Weatherford College has worked hard to create a culture of caring for its students, allowing them to have the best education possible. This aspect of helping people create the future they’ve always wanted is Endy’s favorite thing about working at WC, whether on or off the stage.
“We are a great college for the student who has lots of drive and lots of options and lots of dreams,” he said. “We are an essential college, and we’ve got to be a great college for the student who may not know where they want to go or who may not be confident. We are the people to help them bridge from wherever they are in their life to what they want to do.
“We have to be good for them, be successful for them, and have to care. My favorite thing is working with people who really get that and commit to that on a moment-by-moment basis. They commit to serving a greater good than themselves and caring about other people who they may never meet again. I think that’s a pretty cool thing to get to do all day.”