By Kaitlyn Short
Not every professor on campus started off with teaching in mind.
Susan Crisafulli, associate professor and chair of English, could have had a successful career as a dancer but instead chose a different path, which led her to becoming a professor at Franklin College.
Crisafulli began dancing when she was five, danced throughout high school, took a break in college and resumed dancing in graduate school.
Crisafulli trained in classical ballet as a child and danced with the Spartanburg Ballet dance company, based in Spartanburg, South Carolina, before switching to modern dance in graduate school.
She aspired to be a professional dancer, but wanted more as well.
“I did and that was why I danced with a ballet company,” Crisafulli said. “They said I had the potential to be a professional dancer, but I didn’t want that to be my whole life. I didn’t want to do dance and nothing else. I wanted to be able to learn things and do things besides dance. And I love dancing, but I needed my life to be richer and more intellectual…I just wanted more.”
At Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, Crisafulli was an English and psychology double major. She then went on to study English further in graduate school. She considered getting her masters in fine arts and dance at one point.
“I like her,” sophomore Erica Christy said. “She was the first professor I had. She really helped me transition from high school into college and I feel like I can talk to her about anything, whether it’s life or whatever. She’s more than just a professor. Crisafulli is one of my favorite professors on campus. I think being a professor suits her well. I feel like she has a passion for it and she’s always there to help us, which is great for a professor.”
Susan Crisafulli’s husband Nick Crisafulli was an aspiring filmmaker before becoming the theatre director at Franklin.
After earning his masters in directing from the University of Memphis, he worked to become a free-lance filmmaker in Nashville, Tennessee for three years.
He worked on a few larger productions in terms of country music videos, but other than that he was mainly trying to make his own movies.
“I did small projects and occasionally would have work that paid, but not occasionally enough to ever have made my living just doing freelance filmmaking,” Nick Crisafulli said. “So, in addition to freelance film work it was temp jobs delivering pizza – those types of things to pay the bills. But the goal was to try to make movies.”