The Magazine of The University of Montana
Life of Kriley
“I’ll never forget the time [James Kriley] stopped me on campus and asked who I’d been cast as that semester. I told him I had not been cast in any show. In true Dr. Kriley fashion, he placed his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘That’s bulls--t. You had one of the best auditions I saw.’” Carly Booth oppie ’03
Thank you for your beautiful story on Casey Kriley in the fall 2011 Montanan. "Her Father's Daughter" is right. James Kriley was by far my favorite and most inspirational professor while I studied drama at UM. He spoke of his family in class all the time, and I could see and hear his love for them in his voice. His untimely death was very hard on me and many colleagues and friends. There wasn't a dry eye in the Montana Theatre during his memorial.
I'll never forget the time he stopped me on campus and asked who I'd been cast as that semester. I told him I had not been cast in any show. In true Dr. Kriley fashion, he placed his hand on my shoulder and said, "That's bulls--t. You had one of the best auditions I saw."
He told me how talented I was and to try out for whatever else I could that semester. I did, and I still do whatever theater I can wherever I am. Currently, that's Boise, Idaho. My most recent show opened in October.
I think of him every time I doubt myself, and I miss him whenever I've accomplished something great in the arts.
God bless you, Dr. Kriley. If you could only see Casey and all of your students now ... but I'm sure you can.
Carly Booth Oppie '03
Words scarcely suffice to say how proud I felt of my home state and its universities when I read the fall 2011 Montanan. I use the plural because I have had trouble deciding on whose side to sit at the Griz-Cat game, having gone to both Bozeman and Missoula.
This issue may have ended that ambivalence.
I was particularly struck by the placement and content of the article titled "Aspiring Minds" about an education summit sponsored by the Washington family, which was a few pages ahead of an article on Tom Brokaw's inspiring Commencement address in the football stadium named for the same family.
Aspiring and inspiring seem like the same thing, though Webster's may not agree. It's surely hard to aspire if you're not inspired.
I may be reading too much into that article's placement, and its content, but I saw something similar last spring in Absarokee High School's graduation ceremony. Athletics once dominated the school from which I graduated in 1966. If a prospective teacher could not coach better than he or she taught, he or she wasn't hired, it seemed. Last spring, I saw a renewed interest in good grades, which seem not nearly so nerdy as they once were. Athletics have their place, certainly, but that place is not ahead of academics.
I congratulate and admire the Washingtons for their continuing dedication to our school, both in athletics and academics, and Mr. Brokaw for his outstanding service to our country. No better role models could be imagined, from Helena to Helsinki, and from Drummond to Dhahran. I've had the opportunity to see all four places, thanks to my UM education. Thank you for an outstanding and inspiring magazine and University. It certainly satisfied all my aspirations, and more.
Chuck Hammond, J.D. '80