Matthew Connolly ’22
"Since coming to Iona, I feel like I’ve really learned how to operate in the world on my own. I think coming to college was really important for my development and transition into adulthood."
Major: Arts Leadership
Hometown: Buffalo, N.Y.
High School: St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute
Why did you choose Iona?
I chose Iona because I liked the proximity to New York City and wanted to take advantage of the abundance of opportunities the city and my major has to offer.
Why did you choose Arts Leadership as your major?
Arts Leadership seemed like a good fit for me because I wanted to focus on my music and take music classes, but at the same time learn about business principles as well.
What have you accomplished so far that you are most proud of?
I am one half of the band Wilmah. My best friend Will O’Connor and I started the band about three years ago. We recently signed to an independent label from Los Angeles and will be releasing our debut single in January. It’s been an amazing experience growing the Wilmah team and fanbase while also going to classes and getting the college experience. I’m most proud of my commitment to doing something that most people see as an unrealistic dream. I have friends and family that wholeheartedly support my endeavors in pursuing music and I’m so grateful for that.
Tell us something you learned about yourself (in or out of the classroom) that surprised or excited you?
Since coming to Iona, I feel like I’ve really learned how to operate in the world on my own. I think coming to college was really important for my development and transition into adulthood. It made me appreciate my life a lot more and I’ve learned how to be grateful for things.
Do you belong to any clubs or teams?
I’m a part of the vocal ensemble at Iona. I’ve worked with two really great vocal coaches and feel like I’ve learned more about technique and my own voice than ever before.
Has any class, professor, mentor or friend had an important impact on you since coming to Iona? How?
I think both Dr. Smith and Dr. Rosado have made my experience at Iona really special. Dr. Rosado has consistently been so helpful with my major and offered any help that I need. Dr. Smith has believed in me since day one and has really been someone to lean on at school. She was actually the one who told me about a songwriting competition in the city where I met the person who is now the drummer in my band. It was my first experience networking in the music industry when I was 18. I even landed a gig in Brooklyn because of it. It’s funny how one opportunity gained from one relationship can totally change your life.
Any advice to prospective students?
My advice to prospective students would be to find out what you love to do and have fun doing it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. College is about learning about yourself and enjoying the people around you more than anything else.