GREAT GRADUATES 2020: Anderson Reeves

April 21, 2020

Anderson Reeves, Bellarmine Great Graduate 2020

Bellarmine University will confer more than 900 degrees this May from bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs. Collectively, our students' accomplishments are immeasurable. They’ve achieved lofty successes and overcome daunting challenges, even before COVID-19 changed the world and pushed campus life totally online. We're celebrating our graduates with stories that highlight their ingenuity and resilience.

Anderson Reeves, Arts Administration (Music Emphasis) 

Those who’ve attended Mass in Bellarmine’s Our Lady of the Woods Chapel in the last few years have enjoyed the fruits of Anderson Reeves’ labor.  

There, he sang, played clarinet and served as student director of the Chapel Musicians, selecting music for Masses and special occasions and even composing original music to share.

It was one of numerous activities and work experiences he’s undertaken at Bellarmine that allowed him to flourish as a musician while developing skills needed for a career in arts administration.

“At Bellarmine, we have such a tight-knit community, it’s so inviting for people to express themselves in whatever way they feel comfortable,” Anderson said. “It allows students to show off just how talented they are. It’s been a great way for me to learn and discover the talents of others and how I can be a better artistic companion.” 

Anderson, who mostly grew up in Louisville, found his way to Bellarmine initially through his mom, Dr. Julia Senn-Reeves, an assistant professor in the Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences.  

“I was exposed to the community a lot as I was college-shopping,” he said. “I just fell in love with Bellarmine.” 

Initially, he was a music education major. But after working for two years at the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, he changed his major to arts administration. At GSA, he was a resident advisor one summer in charge of 10 rising artists from all disciplines. He then became an administrative intern and later a contractor tasked with supporting GSA's  college and career fair for alumni.    

“I realized that kind of work is what I’m meant to do,” he said. “I knew I wanted to work with young people and the arts, but I had no idea the amount of opportunity that existed outside of the K-12 classroom.”   

Anderson is now applying to Bellarmine’s master’s in higher education leadership program and plans to focus his studies on integrating the arts into student experience and services. He eventually hopes to become an academic advisor for students majoring in the arts.  

“I’d love to be that advocate for arts students in higher education,” he said. “Providing the academic structure while understanding the pressures and needs associated with their art form is something that could be very meaningful to a student, especially a first-year student trying to figure things out.”  

Like so many of his fellow graduates, he’s missing campus life after precautions necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 required him to move out of the residence halls where he worked as a resident assistant (RA) for the past three years. He said being an RA was more than a job or even just a place to live: It was his community.    

“I definitely would not be the same person had I not been a RA,” he said. “Residence Life fostered my leadership. It taught me that I can make a difference in someone else’s life. It really instilled in me the passion to be an advocate for others and how important compassion is. It’s been insanely fulfilling.”  

Still, he’s excited for the future and feels prepared for it. 

“Bellarmine has done so much more than just teach me academic content and check off learning outcomes,” he said. “It has taught me how to inspire curiosity, teach others and learn and be curious myself and find answers when I have questions. I honestly think that’s one of the most valuable soft skills I’ve learned.”   

Another invaluable lesson Bellarmine has imparted, he said, is being intentional about inclusivity in both work and life. 

“I wonder now, Is what I’m doing going to be equitable? Is it going to have an equal impact on everyone, or am I going to disadvantage someone?” he said. “I now consider those things, and it’s important no matter what field you’re going into ... Compassion, care for others and hospitality, those will get you so far in this world.”  


Hometown: Louisville, Ky. 

Major(s): Arts Administration (Music Emphasis) 

Activities: President of the Knights Chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary, Resident Assistant, Assistant Director of Our Lady of the Woods Chapel Musicians  

Internships or work experience: Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA), arts and spirituality intern for Bellarmine Campus Ministry, completed nearly 100 volunteer hours. 

Post-grad plans: Hopes to begin graduate study at Bellarmine in the Master’s of Higher Education Leadership and Social Justice program. 

Why Bellarmine? I chose Bellarmine because it felt like home from the moment I got there. The people I met on my first visit, on my first day of school, always made me feel like a member of this amazing family. It was also very clear to me that this family cared a great deal for each other and was always ready to lend a hand. 

How would you describe your college experience? I would describe my college experience as one of the most eye-opening experiences of my lifetime. It helped me to better see the needs that our world has and figure out how I can help meet those needs. I learned how to define my style of leadership and implement it in ways that improve the lives of others. My college experience also helped me to realize that one does not have to bear the weight of life’s problems on their own. There are so many people in this world that are willing to help carry it. 

Who has made the difference along the way? More people than I can count (thanks to Bellarmine!). Some of the biggest difference-makers in my life were definitely my mom, Dr. Julia Senn-Reeves, assistant professor of Nursing; Laura Kline, director of Campus Ministry; Lindsey Gilmore, assistant director of Housing and Residence Life; Dr. Mark Kano, professor of music and director of chapel music; and all my academic and residence life peers. These people challenged me to be all that I could be and have always been there to lend a hand whenever I need one! 

What advice would you give to incoming first-year students? While you journey along this road, remember that you are never on the road alone and travel companions are strongly encouraged and are never out of reach at Bellarmine. 


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