Nurturing the Arts and Embracing Opportunity 

11/15/2023 Alumni Spotlight

Madi Melbourne is blending her passion for the arts and her commitment to personal and professional growth. Her experiences and career since graduating reflect her love for creativity and the invaluable skills she acquired during her time at McMurry.  

If you recognize the name “Melbourne,” that’s because Madi’s McMurry experience was synonymous with deep involvement in the university’s theatre department. For three years, she dedicated herself to McMurry Theatre, as a performer, box office manager, and later as the theatre administrative assistant. Her roles were diverse and encompassed working at the front of the house, contributing to set construction, and delivering captivating performances on stage. Melbourne even directed a few plays during her tenure.  

Reflecting on her McMurry experience, Melbourne emphasized how it instilled a creative approach to problem-solving and a profound appreciation for collaborative teamwork. The theatre department was not only a stage for artistic expression for Melbourne but also an abundant ground for personal and professional growth. Melbourne proudly attests that her time at McMurry made her more adept at working with challenging personalities and has transformed her into a stronger collaborator.  

Immediately after graduating in May 2023, Melbourne landed her first post-graduate role at the Abilene Convention Center as box office manager. In this position, she honed her skills in ticket sales, customer interactions, and front-of-house management. 

In an unforeseen twist, Melbourne was offered a position at the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council where she now serves as the development assistant and holds the title of Director of the Children’s Art + Literacy Festival (CALF). In this role, she wears many hats, overseeing day-to-day receptionist duties, monitoring grants, managing the donor website, and creating registration links for donor events. A significant part of her responsibilities includes orchestrating various aspects of Abilene’s annual CALF.  

Melbourne is quick to point out how her combined experiences as box office manager at McMurry and the Abilene Convention Center were instrumental in readying her for her current position.  

Melbourne is now immersed in the world of arts daily. She is grateful to be part of a passionate team that actively strives to make the arts accessible to everyone in Abilene, regardless of their background. Her colleagues’ commitment to establishing Abilene as a cultural hub in Texas fuels her motivation. 

Transitioning from a student to a working professional, though at times strange, has been a fulfilling journey for Melbourne. McMurry’s emphasis on independent learning equipped her with the skills she needed to balance her schedule effectively, making for a smooth transition into the professional world.  

Melbourne’s advice for those on the cusp of graduation is rooted in her own experiences. 

“Don’t sweat the small things!” she said. “There is a good chance that you will not get your dream job right out of school. Be patient and keep your heart open. Sometimes, the doors open where you least expect them, and they offer opportunities so much better than you could have ever dreamed of.” 

In the long term, Melbourne aspires to open her own children’s theatre company or fine arts school. Her passion for the nonprofit sector and her deep commitment to bringing the performing arts to children prompt her ambitions. The arts played a pivotal role in her development, and she is dedicated to sharing that transformative power with others. 

Melbourne’s journey is a testament to the limitless potential that education, passion, and perseverance offer. Her story is an inspiring example for those about to embark on their careers, reminding them to embrace opportunities, nurture their passions, and keep their hearts open to unexpected paths.  


Do you or an alum you know have a great post-McMurry story? We’d love to feature YOU! Contact the Alumni Office at to schedule an interview.