Paul DeGrocco '06
The title of Long Island's "official greeter" belongs to a Hofstra graduate.
Paul DeGrocco '06 worked as the weekend DJ at WNYG 1440AM and landed an audition with the Long Island Ducks baseball club, becoming the on-field promotions host, a position he has held for the last eight seasons. At the Ducks, Paul hosts promotions to sold-out crowds of more than 6,000 people every night.
After graduating from Hofstra with a B.A. in audio/radio communications, Paul went on to work for TMO Radio, as a DJ on WLIR 107.1 overnight and later on the morning show. During this time, he also held positions in the Ducks organization, including community relations manager and promotions manager. In 2007, while acting in numerous community and regional theaters, Paul was voted Long Island's "official greeter" by Newsday readers for his work with the Ducks. It was during this time that Paul left his full-time responsibilities in baseball to pursue a career in theater marketing at the new John W. Engeman Theater in Northport, Long Island's only year-round professional theater company.
Paul joined the theater in its infancy and has worked to brand, market, and build a public relations structure that has helped the theater become recognized and critically acclaimed by Newsday, The New York Times, The Daily News, News 12, TV 10/55, and other news and entertainment outlets.
In 2009 Paul decided to return his career focus to acting/hosting, his true passion. In November 2009 he became a guest performer in the off-Broadway improv comedy revue LMAO, and continues to perform regularly with the company.
Paul recently received national press coverage after being chosen as a finalist in the TeleBrands search for the next "As Seen on TV" infomercial host. Paul resides in West Babylon, New York.
What is your edge (strength)?
I am outgoing and motivated. My parents and grandparents raised me to believe that ANYTHING is possible if you put your mind to it. I never give up on a dream.
What at Hofstra gave you your edge?
Hofstra helped me expand my horizons, putting me in touch with people and cultures I had very little experience with prior to attending.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
What was your major?
I started as a theater performance major and later changed to an audio/radio communications major, with a religious studies minor and a theater interest.
What was your favorite class?
I really enjoyed the Comedy in Literature and Film class with Professor Pellegrino D’Acierno. I also took several classes with Professor Susan Drucker that always challenged me. Of course, I loved all the philosophy and religion classes I took; they taught me about cultures I never knew about or understood before.
What is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
The campus in spring ... it's almost "Disney-like."
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I guess my main "field of specialty" would be performance. I started DJing at a small radio station in West Babylon while attending Hofstra and later went on to be the on-field promotions host for the Long Island Ducks and to perform in the off-Broadway comedy revue LMAO.
Who in your field do you most admire?
Marc Summers for his incredible ability to keep an audience entertained. Howard Stern for creating an empire by being himself. George Carlin for his intelligent comedic ability. Walt Disney for creating a world of imagination that millions enjoy.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My first full-time job after graduating was as the community relations manager for the Long Island Ducks. I learned that working hard was only the beginning. To succeed, you need to stand out.
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
Use the resources provided to you. Hofstra gives students many different connections and opportunities; don't hesitate to take advantage of them. It's part of your education.
How do you balance work and life?
It's very difficult. Sometimes between the Ducks, the off-Broadway show, auditions, and my work at the theater, I don't have a day off for weeks at a time. I get by because I know I am doing what I love and that I am in charge; I can stop any time if I don't enjoy it.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ultimately, I'd like to see myself on television. As a game show host, a sitcom actor, or even a commercial actor ... that would be a dream come true.
What is the single most rewarding experience in your career thus far?
Every time I sign an autograph for a kid at a Ducks game, I realize how lucky I am.
Do you have a favorite quote or saying that has kept you motivated through the years?
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
You call yourself a sarcasm specialist. Have you always been a sarcastic person, or did you have an experience in your life that changed your sense of humor?
I think if you ask my family they'd say that I've ALWAYS been a sarcastic person. My personal philosophy is this: If you can't laugh at your life once in a while, what's the point? Laughter is my fuel. Think about it … When you have a horrible week, and nothing seems to be going right, if you look back at the worst moment of that week and can laugh at it, all the stress lifts away ... and you have a great story to tell!
Of all the genres you have pursued, which do you find most enjoyable?
Even though it is very challenging, I love improv. Live theater is by far the hardest genre for me, but having a live audience is also the most rewarding. Improvisation allows my sense of humor to flourish. I can be whoever I want to be, do whatever I want to do, and make people laugh at the same time ... it's like being a kid again!
If you’re having a bad day, how do you muster up the strength to be so positive and upbeat?
I remember how lucky I am to be pursuing my dreams.