Rhayne Thomas (B.S. ’91)
Q & A:
What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
My absolute fondest memory of Hofstra was the day I saw my name on my degree. That was the day I knew it had all been worth it!
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My first job after graduation was in social work for homeless women and children. Shortly thereafter, I made a switch to geriatrics while also singing with Pete Seeger and the Quintet. The most valuable thing I learned through social work was that good communication and laughter were the keys to staying focused in a position that could sometimes be draining. The most valuable thing I learned while performing with Pete Seeger and the Quintet was the joy from singing with and for others.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
My field of specialty was geared toward social work, and I came to work in the industry as a placement from Hofstra. As a result of social work, I learned to write case notes and that took my love of reading, writing and being specific to a whole new level.
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
The advice I would give to current students is to enjoy every single moment at Hofstra because it really does go by quickly.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
Life Changing (Okay, so that's two!)
How has your degree from Hofstra helped you?
My degree has helped me by opening doors that were closed without a degree. I received promotions and accolades based on the degree itself.
Who in your field do you most admire?
The person I admire the most as an author would be May Sarton. Ms. Sarton had a wonderful way of expressing her thoughts, surroundings and, mostly, herself.
What is the single most rewarding/exciting experience in your career thus far?
The single most exciting and/or rewarding experience in my career thus far is that my singing and my book events have become one. I receive invitations to do book signings but they want me to perform before starting. My career has come full circle!
Rhayne Marcella Thomas (B.S. ’91) is an author, blues vocalist and humorist who travels the world with the goal of healing hearts through laughter because she considers it nature's medicine. All of her books, workshops and speaking engagements are packed full of true, but humorous, stories that help individuals understand that life can be full of turns and twists. If surrounded with the right people, places and thoughts, faith will ALWAYS conquer fear, and even quicker when laughter is involved.
Born and raised in the Bronx, NY to Southern parents, Rhayne began singing the blues as a little girl. After graduating from High School of Music & Art, she went on to graduate from Hofstra University and then started touring with bands across the nation as well as doing commercials and voiceovers.
The blues is her favorite genre of music because, like Rhayne, it tells real stories of love, pain, happiness, sad times and everyday life… many times with a bit of a humorous twist. In 2002, while no longer touring as a vocalist, she started going into schools, libraries and churches to motivate others to pursue their passions and to keep their sense of humor intact while doing so. In 2006 she released her first book, GRACIE-ISMS, which took off in the South. Shortly thereafter, she released I'm 40! I'm Feisty! And there's a gray hair in my WHAT?!? and women all over the world started requesting appearances to meet the woman who wasn't afraid to laugh at herself.
Her latest release, Hey Amy! I'm a Black Lesbian Rabbi!!! and other spiritual insights..., is filled with true stories, but the message, from page one, is to believe that you can do anything your heart desires, keep your focus at all times, know that faith is real; fear is not and when in doubt, laugh.
To date, Rhayne, a cancer survivor, has released four books and she speaks at conferences, hospices, cancer centers, churches, schools, book stores, retreats, private events and anywhere else where a bit of laughter and encouragement is needed. Currently, she also conducts workshops and seminars to help others empower themselves through laughter. She has a fifth book on the way, Healing Your Heart Through Laughter!