A passion for theatre brings alumna back to Southern



Rachel Stanley’s love of theatre sparked at an early age. She would attend theatre productions at Southern, and wanted to become part of the show. Stanley graduated from Southern as a theatre major and now teaches an honors theatre course.

Behind the Desk


As a person enters Rachel Stanley’s office in Taylor Education Building, he or she faces a large desk and brightly patterned curtains. 

A lady with messily styled hair, glasses and a bright smile sits behind the desk. Stanley is the assistant director of Missouri Southern’s Honors Program. 

She is also a wife and a mother. Stanley has a passion for theater and for helping people grow as individuals. 


Her College Years


Her love of theater ignited at a young age. She used to accompany her brother to Southern theater productions. 

She quickly decided that she would love to become a part of the program when she saw freshmen on stage. 

“I knew I wanted to go to a school that would allow me to be on the stage right off the bat,” she said.

Her acceptance into the Southern Theatre program gave her the opportunity to make her dreams a reality. 

Stanley’s love for the spotlight grew as she became more involved in the world of theater. 

She spent her college years performing and studying. 

After graduating as a theatre major, Stanley found herself back at Southern teaching an honors theatre course. 


Honors Program


The Southern Honors Program is a place where advanced students can create relationships with other advanced students. They are given the opportunity to take more challenging classes with other honor students. 

While Stanley was attending Southern as a student, she was a member of the honors program. 

Presently, she is the assistant director. Stanley did not necessarily expect to find herself back with the program; however, she feels it is a great opportunity to help the school that helped shape her future. 

 “I wanted to give back to the university that had given a lot to me, and coming back was a way to do it,” said Stanley.

Stanley is grateful for the time she spends with students in the honors program. She also admits her job can be hard at times. 

 “I always say that my job is herding high-strung cats,” Stanley said. 

“Honors students have so much energy and so much drive to accomplish what it is that they want to accomplish that if they get on the wrong path or they get an idea in their head that can be detrimental, but they think will be advantageous, it can be hard to get them on the right path again,” she added.

While it can be a struggle to help such high-strung students, Stanley knows they appreciate her efforts. 

Kaitlin Fraser, sophomore biology major, said, “We really appreciate that we can come to Rachel for advice.” 


A Full-Time Job 


When Stanley is not working on herding the honors kids, she spends her time at home herding her own children. 

Stanley enjoys spending time with her husband, Matthew, and their two girls, Piper and Elizabeth. 

 “[My kids] are a full-time job on top of my full-time job,” said Stanley. 

After finishing work for the day, Stanley is eager to see her little girls. 

While she enjoys spending time with her college students, they play a different role in her life than her own children. 

Stanley considers her kids the best kind of full-time job. 


Creating a Legacy 


During all of the time spent with honors students and her own kids, Stanley hopes to leave a positive impact on all of their lives. 

It seems she may have achieved that goal.

“I [can] always count on Rachel to have a thought or response to a question,” said Betsy Wood, Southern application engineer, who is a good friend of Stanley’s. 

“She has a genuine concern for your well-being,” Wood added. 

As years go by and her time on stage becomes a part of the past and the topics taught in her theater class are forgotten by former students, Stanley realizes that all she can hope people took away from their time with her is that she cared about them. 

She wants to be remembered as someone who cares. 

“I care in all aspects of my life: in my job, in the theater, at home, and about people,” she said.