Walking into the Strange Brew Coffee & Tea Company on Cecil Street, Stroeh smiles, takes a seat and orders a bottomless cup of Joe.
A medic alert bracelet dangles from his wrist, and his eyes convey confidence and joy behind his black-rimmed specs. He is ready to head to D.C. to perform it is no desert.
Following a discussion about the play, the conversation quickly turns to Wittenberg, the place Stroeh always knew he wanted to be and the only place he applied. “It always felt like home,” he says.
Wittenberg had already welcomed his brothers, John ’91 and Dave ’92, and his sister Kristin ’92, and his father, Tom, pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Loveland, has served on the board of directors since 1994, so Stroeh knew all about the college, and he couldn’t wait.
Once here, he dove headfirst into college life, joining organizations, getting involved, reading all the books and loving every minute of it.
Always performance-oriented, he was here to do drama, and he did. The excitement easily shows in his face. It was also here that he met professors who made a difference in his life, particularly writing and theatre professors.
“I was recently reading a play in which the character said that all successful
individuals have an older and wiser individual guiding them, and that’s what Steve is to me,” Stroeh says about Steve Reynolds, professor of theatre and dance, and department chair.
“He has encouraged me since my freshman year and has become more than a professor. He has become a mentor, father figure and friend.” Kent Dixon, professor of English, also influenced Stroeh.
“I was lucky enough to have a mentor on each end of my theatre/creative writing double major,” he says. “Dix was always available and always supportive,
and he was honest about the quality of my work.
His enthusiasm and support have pushed me to do better. He would challenge me and support me no matter what I did.” The same can be said of Susan Carpenter and Greg Fraser, both former visiting professors of English.
“Susan Carpenter taught me that being a writer meant not being satisfied with something that is mediorce,” Stroeh says. “She made me dig deeper into my feelings, and without her influence, I don’t think desert would be nearly as strong.”
Fraser taught him how to be a writer. “I learned to be aware of the place from which you write.” Such support and advice continue to stay with Stroeh as he writes.
He is already at work on another play while in the midst of performing
it is no desert. He is also thankful for his Wittenberg experience, an experience that he knows will define him forever. “I never thought of going anywhere else.”