Valdosta Daily Times

February 11, 2013

Former musician now interim dean of the Honors College at VSU

Caitlin Barker
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA —  “I never anticipated becoming an Educator,” Interim Dean, Mike Savoie said. “But life is more than a routine — it’s continuing to learn.”

 In 1990, professional musician Mike Savoie decided to set down his Spector Bass guitar, leave his metal band, known today as “Crowbar,” and head to film school in New Orleans.

 Even though music was a passion of his, he decided it just wasn’t the direction his life was going in.

 “I wanted to go to Loyola University but the University of New Orleans had a film program,” Savoie said.

 He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Film from the University of New Orleans. Deciding to continue his education, he then obtained his Master’s Degree in Film and Video in 1994.

 After college, Savoie landed a directing job for various music videos, even landing one of his first works on MTV in his early twenties. He also worked with a heavy metal band, who came out of the New Orleans music scene in the 90’s, called “Down.”

 “I enjoyed it but working professionally after a while, I grew weary, it was very high paced,” Savoie said.

 Taking a break, he chose to spend a great deal of time studying abroad, visiting continents such as Europe and Asia.

 “I worked for BMG (Broadcast Music Group) and fell in love with traveling abroad,” Savoie said.

 As the years passed and choosing to lay directing to rest, Savoie decided to take a shot at being an educator. In his late twenties, he moved to Valdosta and began student teaching in the evenings at VSU.

 “I liked teaching better than the professional life I was leading,” Savoie said. “A lot more laid back and fun.”

  He was hired in 1998 as an Assistant Professor in Mass Media, involved in teaching, creative projects, research in broadcasting and web-based media.

 “I taught for one year, liked the environment, liked my co-workers. It was a lot more production based then,” Savoie said.

 Savoie has grown close to his fellow mass media mentors over the years and they have become like a close-knit family.

“I have known Mike for three and a half years,” VSU Mass Media Professor Dennis Conway said. “He works hard, he is knowledgeable and entertaining. Everyone likes Mike.”

 Thinking he was only going to be a temporary professor, Savoie continued his teaching career, made a lot of connections and worked his way up to a higher education administration position.

  “I loved running Mass Media, but found I excelled at the administrative capability,” Savoie said.

  Fifteen years later, he became the Interim Dean for the Honors College at Valdosta State University. He got his administration insight back when he ran the London Study Program with VSU’s European Council.

 “I got the administration aspect when I had to work with the budget and faculty,” Savoie said.

 Now that he has had the time to settle into his new position, Savoie is growing more attached to his surroundings but hasn’t forgotten why he is there.

 “The more I’m here, I’ve grown to love the staff, the students. I see this as a service position,” Savoie said. “I still label myself as a professor because it is an honorable title. The quality of a leader is someone who’s inclusive but willing to get their hands dirty.”

  Aside from all of his honorable work in education, at the end of the night, Savoie is a family man. The father of two children, he doesn’t regret leaving his fame and fortune behind in order to receive the greatest gift of all, his family.

 “I wouldn’t trade an evening on the red carpet for one night away from my wife and kids. I would give up the success. My family comes first,” Savoie said. “My family is the most important thing to me.”

 Even though his music career is in the past, Savoie keeps his guitar in his office. He still communicates with his former band mates, who are still performing today, and hopes to record again in the future with some of his fellow mentors.

For now, he is focused on continuing to be a terrific father, an esteemed educator and is determined to finish his Doctorate in Education and Leadership in May.