Chloe Radcliffe ’12: Born to Perform

Posted on August 7th, 2011 by

Chloe Radcliffe '12

Last spring, if you asked Gustavus student Chloe Radcliffe how she had enough time to be a full-time member of the College’s nationally ranked forensics team, play the lead female role in the Theatre and Dance’s Department’s production of Hamlet, grade for the Math Department, participate in the Crossroads Program, and complete all of her coursework, her answer was short and sweet: “I don’t…but I’ll find a way.”

Radcliffe has been finding ways to excel in just about everything she puts her mind to during her first three years at Gustavus.

Last April she became the first Gustavus student to earn an individual national championship at the American Forensic Association’s National Individual Events Tournament when she beat out 165 competitors in the Prose Interpretation category.

Her speech talents are one of the reasons why the Gustavus forensics team has asserted itself as a top 10 program in the nation.

“I actually made my decision to come to Gustavus largely based on the speech team,” she said. “I was looking at schools on the East Coast and in Chicago and none of them had competitive speech teams and I decided that I wasn’t ready to be done with it after my senior year in high school.”

After graduating from Prior Lake High School, Radcliffe had the academic credentials to attend several prestigious Ivy League schools, but says she was persuaded by two people to consider Gustavus.

“I went to high school speech camp at Concordia-Moorhead and (Gustavus Director of Forensics) Kris Kracht was working the camp and he kept saying ‘when is your application for Gustavus going to be in?’ I still wasn’t really seriously considering Gustavus, but my mom kept saying ‘maybe you should look at Gustavus.’ So I appeased my mother by applying here and over the course of my senior year in high school I decided to come here and I’ve loved it ever since.”

Radcliffe has been a tremendous asset to the forensics team, which has catapulted itself into the national spotlight over the past five years.

“My freshman year people knew who Gustavus was because we had placed 20th at nationals,” she said. “The leaps we have made in the last five or six years have been so radical. The biggest shift came two years ago when we went from 18th to 10th place. That name recognition is really gratifying. We have a target on our backs now because we’ve made a name for ourselves.”

The team has achieved that level of success thanks to a high level of dedication from team members during a season that lasts almost the entire academic year.

“We spend such an enormous amount of time together. Our season starts at the end of August and nationals doesn’t finish until the end of April,” Radcliffe said. “We’re traveling together almost every weekend, and traveling for us doesn’t mean driving to Augsburg and back for a game, it means leaving Friday and driving eight hours to Illinois or Kansas. We get to know each other very well and we end up relying on each other.”

If you look at Radcliffe’s list of extra-curricular activities at Gustavus – LineUs Improv Comedy Troupe, the Vagina Monologues, the forensics team, and theatre – you will recognize right away that she loves being on stage and she loves to perform.

But then, if you ask her what her major is at Gustavus, you might be surprised by the answer.

“I’m a math major,” Radcliffe said. “Theatre is kind of my heart’s passion and math is my intellectual passion.”

While some may view math and theatre as an odd combination, Radcliffe has found a way to make the two meld together.

“There are times when that creativity helps me to problem solve when I’m studying math and there are also times when the logic used in math helps me to perform in theatre and on the speech team.”

There’s no doubt that Radcliffe has made the most of the liberal arts experience that is available at Gustavus.

She has been able to remain involved in several different activities which she has a passion for and along the way has developed life-long relationships with her peers.

“If I had gone to a bigger school I probably would have been on the speech team and that’s it and I probably would have been friends with only people on the speech team,” Radcliffe said. “Here at Gustavus I’ve been able to become friends with anyone and everyone, in and out of all of the activities I’ve chosen to be a part of. That’s what is really special about a school the size of Gustavus.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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