Business Leader Pursues His Passion

You can take an actor off the stage, but the curtain never really goes down on his love for theater. This is especially true for Robert S. Gregory, whose passion for the arts began as a college student and is now expressed through his support of Montclair State University’s College of the Arts.  

"I’ll always have an appreciation for theater and the arts in general," says Gregory, who was a professional actor for several years after graduating from Williams College. He eventually left the stage to pursue a law career, but his actors' equity card never leaves his pocket. For Gregory and his wife Holly, supporting the College of the Arts at Montclair State "is about helping students realize their dreams. It’s a privilege to have an opportunity to nurture those dreams and help make them a reality."

For six years, Gregory pursued an acting career with roles that took him from New York to Texas to Washington, D.C. In 1984 he decided to try a new role—that of law school student. He graduated New York Law School and is now chief business officer and senior vice president of corporate strategy at Atlas Development Corporation.

After living in Montclair for 10 years, Gregory was introduced by a friend to the nationally recognized programming that takes place at Montclair State. Soon after, he became a member of the College of the Arts Advisory Board, to which he was recently appointed chair. 

"It’s a jewel," he says of the university's cultural offerings. "People need to see that what’s happening down the road is as exciting as what’s happening at Lincoln Center."

Gregory says he is impressed by the caliber of professionalism and commitment shown by every student. "Our students are not only well prepared in terms of skills—they come forward with a great attitude, and that’s what will give them an edge. In this business, you have to be someone others want to work with."

As for treading the boards himself, Gregory says there’s always the possibility. “You never really quit acting. That’s why I carry my card in my back pocket. I just may threaten to get up there again some day.”