These days, he makes a good living as an Emmy-winning comdian who does spot-on impressions of one Barack Obama.
But what Reggie Brown ('02) endured as a teen, years before he ever stepped foot on the UI campus, was no laughing matter.
"You learn a lot about life in college, in and out of the classroom," he says. "When I was 13, my stepdad passed away from a three-year battle with leukemia so for most of my life I was raised by a single mom along with my four siblings.
"The day after I moved into my dorm room on the fourth floor of Hopkins in the Six Pack, I remember waking up and not having to worry about anyone but me.
"It was such an exciting and different time for me. Do I go to my 8 a.m. lecture? Maybe yes, maybe no.
"I had no one to tell me what to do, what to eat or where to go. I had to hold myself accountable for every decision that I made. It was a new level of self-sufficiency that I hadn’t experienced before.
"I quickly learned that in life, there is no one to blame for your successes and failures but yourself.
"As an actor and comedian, I am now one of the few if not only that manages myself as a talent. From the first point of contact, to the script development, promotion, performance, bookkeeping and follow-ups, I do it all.
"I have traveled the world and have reached almost every goal I have set for myself.
"Connect your mind, body and soul and you’ll be surprised what happens. Anything is possible when you know yourself in and out.
"Be self-sufficient in life but not selfish.
"We are all put on this planet supplied with different talents and abilities and we are here to help each other out.
"To this day, some of my best friends and stories have come from my time at U of I," says the one-time Bub's Pizza deliveryman.
"From pledging a fraternity, barn dances, socials, late nights at Bonnie Jean's, drunken fights outside Kam’s, signing up for my first credit card(s) at Quad Day — big mistake; don’t do it — I’ve learned from every experience.
"Who knows? All of it just may make it into a script one day."