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Regent Mourns Beloved MFA Acting Graduate

By Amanda Morad | June 10, 2014

Adam James Hamilton
June 24, 1987 - June 7, 2014

Just a month after celebrating his graduation, Regent University mourns the loss of Adam James Hamilton, MFA in Acting '14. Hamilton was tragically killed in a car accident on his way home to Fort Wayne, Ind., on Saturday, June 7.

"I am devastated to learn of Adam's death," said Dr. Mitch Land, dean of the School of Communication & the Arts (SCA). "Adam was a wonderful actor and stand-up comedian who brought joy and laughter both on and off the stage."

During his three-year stint at Regent, Hamilton appeared in main stage productions including The Comedy of Errors, Fiddler on the Roof, Blithe Spirit, The Adding Machine and The Three Musketeers. His most recent performances at Regent were in the lab show Almost, Maine.

A Celebration of Life service will be held on the Regent campus Sunday, June 15, at 4:00p.m. in the Studio Theatre. All are welcome.

A memorial fund has been set up for the Hamilton family and can be accessed on the Adam James Hamilton Memorial Donations Facebook page, where friends and family can share favorite memories of Adam.

From his unique way of saying "I like you" by calling "Dibs!" on a person, to his beloved bear hugs, those closest to him recalled Hamilton's generous heart and caring nature.

With his involvement in Generic Theater in Norfolk, Va., his work at Regent's Performing Arts Center Box Office, his organization of intramural basketball, and his leadership in Regent's summer theatre camps, Hamilton's impact was extensive.

"I worked with him each summer teaching young kids, and they just looked up to him so much," recalled friend and fellow cohort member, Chad Stem '14. "He not only taught them about theatre, he taught them how to live life."

At 6 feet 6 inches tall, Stem was surprised to be upstaged by Hamilton's 6-foot-8-inch frame when they met.

"Adam was a gentle giant. Though an imposing physical presence, he possessed a compassionate disposition and was a personality of great empathy," said Dr. Michael Kirkland, chair of the MFA Acting program at SCA. "He was known for his willingness to serve others."

Hamilton took a keen interest in the undergraduate theatre students; he not only helped them hone their craft, but sought out opportunities for them.

"None of us in the Regent family will ever forget him," said Eric Harrell, associate professor in SCA. "Adam had a heart as big as his stature, a gentle kindness that made him a friend to all and a passion for the theatre that was contagious."

That passion drove Hamilton's work to continual improvement.

"Some of his best work was in the MFA showcase that his cohort brought to Chicago in May," said Mark Paladini, professional-in-residence at SCA. "I had the good fortune to perform with Adam, who was also a talented improvisational performer with the Varsity Improv Players. He was a buddy of mine, and I will miss him."

Hamilton's thesis role was as Antipholus of Syracuse in Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors.

"This role was the perfect culminating experience for an actor who had spent much of his creative energies on the undergraduate and graduate levels engaging the works of Shakespeare," Kirkland recalled. Hamilton studied and performed Shakespeare academically and professionally, playing iconic roles including Hamlet, Mercutio and MacBeth.

Though theatre was his first love, Hamilton also worked in film and television.

"I worked with Adam June 6 on the set of A Haunting at New Dominion Pictures," said cinematographer Lee Clements '14, MFA in Directing. "He had one scene, and no lines written in the script, but absolutely dominated the set. After every take, everyone on set was quietly awed by his presence and work."

The 2014 cohort was deeply affected by both Hamilton's life and his death.

"A cohort is a family, in all senses of the term; when you live and work and breathe the same air every day, it can be good, and it can be tough," fellow cohort member Beth Litwak '14, explained. "Since we were all going our own way after graduation, quite a few of us were able to connect with Adam and say 'see ya later' in a meaningful way. It's God's grace, but we had those dénouement moments where everything tied together at the end of the story."

Before coming to Regent, Hamilton earned his Bachelor of Arts in theatre from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in 2011, where he was very active in the theatre community.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, June 12, at Feller & Clark Funeral Home at 1860 Center St., Auburn, Ind., 46706. See further details and obituary information.

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888

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