All photos are courtesy of Derrin Nelson.
Name: Evan Thorpe
Year in School: Senior
Hometown: Richmond, Va.
Major: Communication Studies
Campus Involvement: CNU TV, CNU Sports Production Intern, Former CNU Basketball Player, Welcome Week Navigator 2014 (Orientation)
How would you describe yourself to other people?
“I am a crazy, fun-loving, family guy.”
Why did you come to CNU?
“Two things: one was because of basketball – I was getting recruited by other D3 schools. But I fell in with the campus. The first time I came here, the old admin building was in the middle (of campus) with the walkway going up to the fountain; it was so small. None of those buildings that are up there were there yet. Then I came back every other summer and it got bigger and bigger. People were like, ‘Yeah, CNU is a great campus, CNU is a great school.’ So once I heard how good it was to graduate from CNU, I was like, ‘Yeah, I gotta graduate from here.’”
How do you think you’ve grown as a person since starting college and your CNU journey?
“I would say that I’ve become more open to new things. Before, if I didn’t want to do something, I wouldn’t do it at all. But coming out here was way different from high school. I had to open myself up to try new things and to be around a different group of people. Really going out and introducing myself to people rather than just having people know who I am. That’s one of the things that changed me. I became more communicative, you know, goes with my major.”
What would you say your proudest moment of being a Captain has been so far?
“I would say being on Homecoming Court, because it’s normally people who are in sororities or fraternities, and I did it with a small group. Other people people did it for small groups too, but they also had a (Greek organization) to back them up. I was like the lone guppy out there. I was a small fish. Even though I didn’t win, it was good to represent a smaller organization.”
What was your favorite moment of being on Homecoming Court?
“With CNU TV, we produce so much content, but I think recording everybody’s interviews; just hearing and seeing (the candidates) outside of what people know. Watching the videos, some of them share really deep family stuff. Like CJ, I didn’t know about his dad passing away, so to hear other people’s stories. Like he has a single parent household, I grew up in a single parent household – we just bonded over that. So getting to know the candidates and who they are, and not just what you see or think about them. It was really powerful for me. Just getting to know them for who they are. They’re not just fraternity people or Navigators or Crew Leaders. Some people have got deep stories, good stories.”
Do you feel like you learned more about yourself that way too?
“Yeah, because I’m not afraid to talk about my family, but sometimes I’m thinking, ‘Am I the only person that goes through this? Am I the only person who feels this type of way? Growing up with just my mother.’
To hear a lot of people on campus go through the same thing, it brought me closer to the campus. At first I just wanted to be off to myself, but people on campus brought me in. This is a family. CNU is a family.”
How did you get involved with CNU TV?
“It’s crazy because I always wanted to do it, and last semester I was coming back from the mall one day, and somebody emailed me saying, ‘Hey, can we interview you for basketball?’
I was like, ‘That would be a good idea, but I don’t play anymore.’ And so then I was texting the guy and said, ‘Hey, I’m really interested in doing work like that. Is there somebody I can talk to?’ And he told me to meet up with Collin Brennan and talk with him, and it took me two months to get in contact with him because he was so busy. But I got in contact with him second semester and he let me come in and I did two interviews for him, and this year it turned into an actual internship. I was one of the first people he came to and he was like, ‘I really want you on staff.’”
What’s your dream job?
“My dream job would be either broadcasting, like live basketball or football games, or to be a sports host. So if I could host ESPN one day, or just be the main guy for it, that’s my dream job. [In announcer’s voice] Evan Thorpe. ESPN.”
You’ve got the voice for it!
“I’ve got the voice. I’ve got the energy! Just give me the opportunity. Let me take it.”
What’s currently your biggest struggle?
“My biggest struggle right now is trying to figure out what I want to do after college. With the field I’m in, it’s hit or miss. Either you’re going to find your job, or you’re going to be searching. So I’m trying to build my resume up to show that I have experience in producing, recording, editing. Next semester I’ll be doing in-game commentary for girl’s basketball and high school basketball. So just trying to build my resume up to match my degree to show I have the Communication Studies major, that I know the theories, and also have experience doing what I want to do as a career. Finding potential jobs or some type of career after college is my biggest struggle right now.”
Besides your career, what do you want your future to look like?
“Since I come from a small family, I really want to have a big family and be able to provide for everybody. My grandpa was the provider for my family for a while, and when he passed away, the legacy he left behind for his children and my mother – it’s like he laid the foundation for them to be successful. And I want to be the same way for my family, to show them I came from this area, but I went to college, I did a lot of good things, and just be a successful role model for my kids. Lead people to great paths.”
Who is your hero?
“My hero is my mother. My mother raised me by herself and we’ve been through struggles. It’s a lot of things I could talk about, but she showed me how to be a man… She also made me the person I am today – her and my grandma – and she always told me, ‘Treat people how you want to be treated. Have fun with whatever you do. If you don’t like something, don’t be afraid to stand up and say you don’t like it.’ So she’s my biggest role model. That’s why I have her right here on my arm. [Points to tattoo on arm.]”
Yes, tell me about your tattoo.
“Okay, so I have scripture – Philippians 4:13. I have my mother’s name, my grandma’s name, a cross, some doves, and up top I have my grandpa. My grandpa was the first tattoo I got. He passed away when I was in sixth grade, so I feel like he brought me the gift of basketball, so I got the basketball with the wings. The flowers: my mom and grandma both have big gardens, so I made sure to get something that represents them. And I was baptized September 22, 2002. That’s for the cross.
And Philippians 4:13: ‘I can do all things…’ You know, it’s a quote that gets you motivated. Whenever I was in a big game or something, if I felt like I was doing bad, I’d just look at my arm, pat it twice. It would give me that courage to get through a bad game. I’m having a hard time in class, I can get through it. I had a hard time writing that exam we had, but you know what, I got through it.”
What’s your favorite thing about your mom?
“Honestly, it’s her truthfulness. She’s going to tell you straight up if she don’t like it, if she do like it. And, you know, sometimes people may be like, ‘Oh my god, she’s so mean,’ but that’s her. She’ll tell you the truth. She’ll never tell you a lie or have you believing something when you shouldn’t. My mom keeps it 100 with me, I try to keep it 100 just like her.”
What is something that inspires or motivates you to keep going?
“It might sound cliché, but be great. Be the best I can be. I’ve had times where, in sports, I’ve had the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. And you always want to feel the best you can when you do something. So if I’m going out to record a video, I wanna get the best shots possible. I wanna have the best interviews possible like this one is right now. I always want to give my all and have the greatest outcome possible.”
Who are three famous people you’d want to meet, and why?
“Alright, I’m going to keep it simple. All three Batmans. Well, the first one is Adam West. He was like the pioneer of Batmans, but his Batman isn’t the Batman we know today. His was like the funny, goofy type. Like, ‘Gee willickers, Robin!’
And second would be Michael Keaton because he’s my favorite Batman, personally, until I see Ben Affleck’s. But Michael Keaton just changed the role to what everybody knows it as today. Our generation knows “The Dark Knight,” but they don’t know how much success (Keaton) had with it and how many changes were brought to it when he became Batman.
And last, I would skip Christian Bale. He was a great Batman, but I want to see how Ben Affleck’s take on Batman will be. I know it’s going to be like an older Batman, but I feel like this is going to be my favorite Batman.
So the first Batman, the second Batman, and the next Batman. Sorry Christian Bale. I mean, he’s great though. He made Batman relevant after the two really bad ones.”
You know a lot about Batman.
“I’m a huge Batman fan. In my room I have a Joker poster, and then across from it I have a Batman poster. And then I have a Justice League poster. I’ve got all the Batman games. I have just about every Batman movie that was out in theaters. I’ve watched every animated one. I love Batman.”
Is there anything else we didn’t talk about that you’d really like for people to know about you?
“People might not think this, but I’m a really shy person. And it’s weird because I’m always the loud one and I always have energy, but I just can’t go up to people and talk to them unless I know them. If I were to meet somebody for the first time, it would be very awkward. And I would try to make you laugh. If you don’t laugh, it’ll be the worst conversation you’ve ever had with me. So I’m very shy. Once I get you to laugh, I’m good. But if you don’t laugh at me, then I’ll probably just cry and be like, ‘Oh my god. I looked so stupid just now.’”
What if it’s someone who just doesn’t laugh?
“Then just smile at me! If you just stare at me, then I’ll just be like, ‘I’m sorry that I wasted your time. Here’s $5 to give back the time wasted.’ I’m serious!”