Alumni Magazine

FAL-WIN 2018

The alumni magazine for Franklin Pierce University.

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Page 34 of 47

FALL / WINTER 2018 PIERCE 33 on our conversations that have been so helpful to me throughout the years. at is what made this school so great, you really got to talk to the teachers, vice presidents, nearly everyone." His classmate, Jay McCormack '95, sums it like this: "Everyone knew everyone else at Pierce." Today, McCormack works in production operations at ESPN and teaches online courses in sports management for Pierce's MBA program. But back when he was in school, he and Bleakney lived on the same hall during their freshman and sophomore years. "I met him on day one," said McCormack. "And I can't think of anyone who didn't like him. Scott got along with absolutely everybody." McCormack said Bleakney's outgoing personality was backed by a core of integrity, praising his friend for "living what he believes." At Pierce, in addition to his studies, Bleakney served as the vice president of the student senate during his junior year and worked in the admissions department during the school year and throughout the summer, giving tours and assisting with data entry. He was an avid supporter of Ravens athletics, showing up at games and cheering on his friends and their teams. Perhaps the thing he was best known for, however, was his nickname: Doogie. "During my freshman year, I was given the nickname because everyone thought I looked like Doogie Howser from the TV show starring Neil Patrick Harris," Bleakney said, amused. "It even got to the point where the teachers addressed me as Doogie." But that level of familiarity was comforting, he said. "Franklin Pierce was a safe place to grow up and get an education," he said. "I had the greatest roommates ever, friends I still keep in contact with. e friendships and acquaintances made there really shaped my life. It is pretty neat to run into some of them, whether expectedly or unexpectedly at the park when they come to Disney." McCormack recalls a spring break trip he and Bleakney and a few others took to Florida one year. He rode shotgun and Bleakney drove, and when they rolled into Florida, they spent time at Pleasure Island, an entertainment complex of bars, clubs and restaurants designed for the over-21 crowd located in the area previously known as Downtown Disney. "We went into this country bar, just to see it, and we were the only ones in shorts," he said. "But I remember on that trip, Scott said to me, 'I'm coming here aer graduation.'" McCormack remembers asking Bleakney aer they graduated if he was still heading south. At the time, he pondered joining his friend, but he'd secured a job in Boston and felt he couldn't leave. "So, he le and I stayed," said McCormack. "And the rest is history. Everything really fell into place for him." During his time at Walt Disney World Resort, Bleakney moved from working at the Tower of Terror as a merchandise host, to becoming a performer and trainer. He segued into Disney University, the company's training arm, as a facilitator of their orientation programs, then became a guest services manager in Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland and Frontierland, leading supporting teams of 400 cast members. He took on management positions in the park's restaurants and overseeing multiple food and beverage kiosks, before being promoted to duty park manager in 2016. THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE ON EARTH "I have grown a lot over the years," Bleakney said, reflecting on his post-college life. "If you had told me when I went to Franklin Pierce College that this is what I would be doing, I would have called you crazy. I've learned that life is way too short, so you should be doing what you love or find something that gives you satisfaction. I've learned that it's about the journey and the people that you share it with." Bleakney knows that when it comes to sharing life's journeys, Disney plays an important role for many people and their families. And he loves that he works in a place that has such a long tradition of being a place where people make memories. He loves the annual Super Bowl commercials where athletes are asked, "You just won the Super Bowl. What are you going to do next?" and they answer, "I'm going to Disney World." "Seeing those athletes here later that week joining the parade down Main Street is very special," he said. "e other event I love is Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. ere's snow on Main Street, cookies and hot chocolate, Christmas shows and a special Christmas parade. It is all really neat, and something I do not take for granted." He knows he has a front-row seat to some milestone moments in people's lives. He and his team members have helped coordinate marriage proposals, assist the Make-A- Wish Foundation with coordinating family trips to the park, and creating a host of other moments for guests young and old. One of his other favorite traditions is selecting a veteran every day and recognizing his or her service to the country as part of the daily flag retreat on Main Street, U.S.A at Magic Kingdom. "My fellow cast members and I have such pride in what we do and where we work," he said. "I have the greatest job in the world." DAVID ROARK/WALT DISNEY WORLD (TOY STORY, PANDORA, ANIMAL KINGDOM), WALT DISNEY WORLD (IT'S A SMALL WORLD)

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