On the face of it, the story of Peirce College alumnus Joseph Paprzycki ‘77 is similar to that of many people who attended Peirce in the 1970s: South Jersey boy heads to Peirce on the advice of a high school teacher, goes to class with new friends, earns a degree, and goes on to a career in business. But beneath the surface, another narrative was brewing.
As Joe describes in the video interview below, the realization of what he really wanted to do with his life came seemingly out of nowhere. But when it did, he knew he’d never been surer of anything. It was 1994, he was 36 years old, and his epiphany changed who he was and what he did forever.
Over the last 16 years, Joe Paprzycki has become one of the leading lights in the theater community in the Philadelphia area. He has written 50 plays and screenplays, had his work produced on stages throughout the region, and founded the South Camden Theatre Company.
Joe recently received national attention for his play, “Last Rites,” and for opening his own theatre, which has established itself as an anchor in the rebirth of a neighborhood in Joe’s beloved Camden, N.J. The new Waterfront South Theatre is located at the site where Joe’s grandfather’s corner saloon once stood, from the onset of Prohibition until 1967, a place that inspired the “Last Rites” story.
At its core, Joe’s story is a Peirce story, shared by so many of our graduates from all walks of life. It involves embracing a lifelong love of learning; recognizing and pursuing opportunity, no matter your age; and heeding the call to take a chance, follow a dream, and in the end, transform your life.