I bet you didn’t know that among the illustrious staff at Gannon, there was a potential Grammy nominee. Sam Hyman, technical director of campus events, in addition to his dedicated work at Gannon, is also a well known and widely respected musician. You may not be able to pick this singer/songwriter out of the university crowd without his guitar and a microphone, but don’t allow him to fool you.
Hyman has released four records internationally and is currently working on his fifth. And due to his humble nature, he probably will not go around telling you that his most recent record was up for a Grammy nomination.
At 54 years old, Hyman is in his ninth year working at Gannon. As the technical director of campus events, he is responsible for events at the Knight Club, Fresh Cafe, and the Recreation and Wellness Center. Hyman also takes care of the technology support and coordination for major campus events, and anything else that comes along, such as guest speaker series, building dedications, etcetera.
Hyman adds that, “in addition to my job title, I also do a bunch of other stuff.” He helps produce a series of events that celebrate international student holidays. Partnered with international student groups, Hyman helps “in the hope that not only will international students be able to celebrate festivals and holidays from their homelands and their families, but that they can also invite the domestic student body, as well, so that domestic students here in America can get a taste of cultures from around the world and make relationships and friendships along the way.”
In addition to all of that, Hyman hosts a freshman jam session at the Knight Club on Monday nights. Hyman comments that Gannon is unique because they allow you “freedom to develop in areas that you have talents or ideas for.”
Hyman has certainly taken advantage of that freedom, and used his talents and ideas to enhance the Gannon experience for all. You may be asking yourself how someone who does so much for Gannon can also have a successful music career. You may also be wondering when or if Hyman sleeps, and the answer is unknown.
What we do know is that Hyman wrote his first song at the age of 13 and has never looked back. He grew up listening to records and watching his brother’s rock bands practice in his basement. Hyman says, “there was always a set of drums and guitars and an organ in my basement.” As a young child observing, he “literally grew up watching bands form and work out songs.” This had a great impact on Hyman as he got older and became an artist of his own.
Hyman has seemingly infinite stories about his experiences in the music business, and one of my personal favorites is when he describes his time with the Erie punk rock band called “The Dogs.” He says, “people used to throw dog biscuits up on stage. We’d be playing in these little clubs in Erie for 3-400 people and the floor would be caving in and people would be throwing dog biscuits at us. I would try to catch them in my mouth and sometimes I did and chew them up, and that made everybody howl.”
Another one of Hyman’s famous stories takes place in New York in 1998. He was working on his record, “Dive,” when one of his songs, “Fly” was discovered by Pras of the Fugees, and recorded by Dante Thomas as the title track of his album. Hyman has always dreamed of having a place in the music business, and he found his home at Gannon.
Sam Hyman compares working with the students and faculty at Gannon to “playing a good gig.” He says that “a good show is when somebody is putting everything they have into what they are doing” and it is all about “making the connection.” Hyman has certainly put everything he has into his dedicated work at Gannon, and he makes connections with students every day using his talents to make the university a better place.
Whether you see him coordinating a campus event, helping with international student affairs or jamming at the Knight Club, Sam Hyman is using his abilities and gifts to enhance the Gannon experience.
He praises Gannon because it “is a place where they encourage you to be the best you can be at whatever it is that you are.” The Gannon family has embraced Hyman and his talents and he says they have allowed him to “come and be who I am and grow as a person.” Hyman says that “the people that I work with, including the students, faculty, staff, everybody, we are all sort of growing together and that’s incredible. Gannon is an incredible place to be.”