Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” Joel Andryc, ’75, is a person who has definitely had the courage to do just that. It has been quite a journey for Joel from his involvement in the SFS musicals, to one of the executive producers of 2017 Saban’s Power Rangers feature film.
As a young boy, among other things, Joel enjoyed making home movies on his 8mm camera, going to the movies and watching The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights. As a student at St. Francis, he was a member of the swim team for a couple years, a member of both the newspaper, The Lance, as well as the yearbook, The Accolade and also participated in intramurals. While he enjoyed all of those activities, his favorite ones as a student were being a part of WSFK, the musicals and checking out the latest movies with a group of friends which included Fr. Olszewski and Fr. Healy at the old Showcase Cinemas on Secor Rd. Joel fondly remembers quite a few teachers too. A few that had a profound influence on him as a student and throughout his life were three teachers; Fr. Fisher, Mr. Gene Antoszewski and Mr. Bob Stucker. Joel also gives Bob Stucker credit for helping him to develop his passion for drama and the camera. Joel said, “How fortunate we were to have WSFK at St. Francis; we were the only school in the Toledo area to have anything like it!”
After graduating from SFS, Joel attended Marquette University where he pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Communications and a minor in Business. While a student at Marquette, he continued his passion by promoting concerts on campus and working summer jobs at WTMJ TV in Milwaukee and as a stage manager at Alpine Valley Music Theatre just outside of Chicago. Joel credits both Marquette University and St. Francis for their stellar Liberal Arts educations, the numerous extra-curricular opportunities they made available as well as the moral compass they instilled in him. The philosophy to respect all people as equals is one that he has carried with him throughout his professional life.
In 1979, the day after graduation, Joel called his parents to say he was moving to Hollywood. It was finally time to pursue his lifelong dream. A career in the movies or television was so captivating, that off to California, he went!
When Joel arrived in Hollywood, he admits he had no idea where his career would end up. However, Joel stayed focused on his dream and worked diligently at a variety of incredible jobs. From the Contestant Coordinator for Chuck Barris Productions which produced such shows as The Dating Game and The Gong Show, to securing top Hollywood talents like John Candy, Alicia Silverstone, Pink, and Fergie for various TV shows, to being named the Executive Vice President of Programming for Fox/ABC Family Channel (now called Freeform), Joel has met a myriad of people and has held many exciting positions over his vast 40-year career in the TV business. He currently serves as a Managing Director at Saban Capital Group, which is an investor in Univision, the #1 Spanish language network in America.
Through it all, Joel has never abandoned his roots. He has helped mentor students from both Marquette and St. Francis who are strongly considering the idea of pursuing a career in the Los Angeles entertainment industry. He’s also been extremely generous in his financial support to St. Francis as a way of giving back to a school that gave him so much. This generosity is exemplified by one of his favorite quotes which goes back to his days at St. Francis when he was involved in the production of Hello Dolly: “Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around, encouraging young things to grow.”
Joel currently lives in Playa Vista with his wife, Nancy. They have two grown children and recently became grandparents for the first time to a wonderful grandson. Joel is certainly a Knight who has had the courage to pursue his dream and make it his reality!