At UC Merced, you will find Michael Winder in the role of writing instructor, and on May 4, you can also catch him in the role of Serge in Playhouse Merced’s production of “Art.”
Winder hadn’t acted since high school, but in February, he took part in a one-act show before signing on for the Playhouse’s version of the Tony-award-winning play, which runs through May 13.
Winder, 31, admits he wasn’t always this focused.
“I didn’t finish college until I was 27, but that’s because I retained my delinquency (re: I was an idiot) longer than most people,” he said. “But if I did it over again, I would’ve cleaned up my act sooner. I could’ve been CEO of Starbucks by now.”
He got his act together, so to speak, graduating from Loyola College in Maryland before earning a master’s degree from Georgetown.
He hopes his students learn from his experience.
“College is the place where high achievers are the cool kids - someone’s paying some serious cash for you to be here, so playing the slacker or the hard partier just makes you look silly,” he said. “There are far cheaper ways of wasting time than doing it while enrolled at a UC.”
Winder chose Merced because “It’s the UC - can’t do much better than that,” he said.
It’s also close to his home state of Oregon.
As an actor and science fiction writer, he enjoys integrating drama into his classes. Recently he invited some sidekicks from the Playhouse to run a short acting workshop for students in his Management Communication class to help them maintain poise and composure in stressful situations.
“It’s been a blast, the whole thing,” he said.
When he’s not acting or teaching, Winder has a different role, as the husband of UC Merced professor Katie Winder and father of their 16-month-old daughter, Miranda Hazel Winder.
Working together at the same university is a plus because they share a car and the same friends.
Besides writing and acting, Winder enjoys karaoke and basketball in his free time.