It has been said that “a job worth doing is worth doing together.” Nothing could be truer for two sets of twins who together set their hearts and minds to the task of completing college degrees at Southeast Missouri State University.
Rebecca and Grace Taylor of Bloomfield, Missouri, and Ben and Emilie Mulholland of St. Louis, Missouri, will each receive their diplomas May 14 while cheering on the person they’ve each known the longest– their twin.
Rebecca and Grace say they have always been close and have maintained that since they came to college. They grew up on a farm an hour south of Cape Girardeau and have been involved at the River Campus since they were 14. During high school, they participated in Summer Theatre and Dance academy classes, and they both sang in the Southeast Choral Union. The University’s strong theatre and dance program, distance from home and scholarship opportunities, they said, helped them decide to choose Southeast.
They’ve walked the path together, each pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre. They took every single class together, while living together as roommates all four years. The Taylors say they love being best friends, roommates, colleagues and sisters.
“It makes sense to take the same class schedule every semester and have a constant study buddy and that support,” Rebecca said.
Both of them have been active in numerous theatre and dance productions at Southeast. The two have organized and produced two duet cabarets to fulfill their honors contracts.
Additionally, Rebecca has performed as Lucy Schmeeler in “On the Town,” Mrs. Winsley in “Stop Kiss,” one of the lost boys in “Peter Pan,” royal dancer/wife/angel/George/chorus in “The King & I,” Duffy in “Annie” and in the ensemble for “Hairspray” and “Grease.” She has also worked as props master for “Hairspray,” props supervisor for “The King & I” and light board operator for several other shows.
Grace has performed in a musical every semester including Kate/Chutney in “Legally Blonde,” July in “Annie,” Alice/chorus in “The Addams Family,” dance captain in “On the Town,” one of the lost boys in “Peter Pan,” wife/ensemble in “The King & I” and in the ensemble for “Hairspray” and “Grease.” She also was the assistant stage manager for “Almost, Maine” and “Spring into Dance 2014” and stage manager for “Durang, Durang” and “Daisy Pulls It Off.”
The Taylors are both founding members of Alpha Psi Omega, a national theatre honor society. They also are members of Southeast’s oldest student organization, Black Mask Honorary Dramatic Society, where Grace serves as the president and Rebecca as the treasurer and secretary.
“These two young ladies are outstanding students. Rebecca and Grace have taken advantage of every opportunity possible at this University,” said Rhonda Weller-Stilson, associate dean and director of the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts. “They have become excellent leaders and are role models for other students. Both women are talented, hardworking, and have wonderful communication skills. Because of their talent and ability to talk to people, I have no doubt they will do well in this industry. “
Although the two are involved in the same organizations, same major and are roommates, they say they have their differences.
“We spend a lot of time together, being roommates and best friends, though we have been in different shows and involved in different activities that keep us apart,” Grace said. “Last summer, we had different jobs that put 1,500 miles between us. We are very independent of each other and have never felt ‘homesickness’ for the other.”
After graduation. Rebecca plans to work at Dorset Theatre Festival in Vermont over the summer as a props apprentice. Grace plans to return to Ozark Actors Theatre in Rolla, Missouri, for the third year to perform in “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Damn Yankees” and teach their summer theatre and dance academy. In September, both Grace and Rebecca plan to move to Little Rock, Arkansas, to work as actresses with Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre.
“Grace and Rebecca are absolutely delightful students. Both of them are so smart and talented. They’re also two of the most conscientious people I’ve ever met. They would simply do anything for anyone,” said Dr. Kenn Stilson, professor of acting, directing and musical theatre and chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “We have loved having them in the department, as they represent the very best of our students in Theatre & Dance. We will miss them dearly, but they are ready to ‘leave the nest.’ I know they’ll be very successful in their careers.”
Unlike the Taylors, Ben and Emilie Mulholland began their college careers on different paths. Emilie, a marketing management major, attended a private university before transferring to Southeast. Ben and Emilie’s older brother Trevor also attended Southeast and graduated in 2014.
“When I first toured SEMO, I absolutely loved it,” Emilie said. “However, I was adamant that I didn’t want to go to school with my brothers, so I chose the other school. After one year at the other university, I decided to transfer to SEMO because I did miss my brothers, and I wanted to be in the Harrison College of Business.”
Ben, a hospitality management major, says he chose Southeast not only for the business program, but also because he had family and friends here. The two have been involved in some of the same organizations throughout college, including Student Activities Council, where Ben served as the president and special events coordinator and Emilie as the social media coordinator. Emilie also participated in the President’s Leadership Academy. Ben has been the vice president of Colleges Against Cancer, re-founding president of Tau Kappa Epsilon and a Dearmont RHA representative.
“Ben Mulholland has been an asset to the hospitality management program. He always brings his ‘A’ game,” said Dr. Quantella Noto, assistant professor and hospitality management program director. “He’s passionate about food, delivers quality products and service and has never shied away from a challenge. He has an abundance of skills that will take him far in his career. The students learned a great deal from him and benefited from his commitment, as did the faculty that helped him discover his potential. I’m confident that he will prove to be one of our most admired alumni.”
Dr. Judy Wiles, chair of the Department of Management and Marketing and director of the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said “Emilie is very capable and able to apply what she learns in her courses and in her real world experiences. I enjoy her discussions because she shares her marketing communication experiences with the rest of the class.”
In addition to being heavily involved in student organizations, both Mulhollands have held jobs in the office of Campus Life and Event Services. In previous semesters, they saw each other more often because they not only were involved in the same activities, but also shared an apartment.
“We lived together during our junior year, the year Ben become president of Tau Kappa Epsilon and started the process of bringing the organization back on campus, so it was an interesting year to say the least,” Emilie said.
“That was probably the most time I spent with her throughout college,” Ben said. “Nowadays, we will see each other out around campus and say hello.”
Even though they both have been students in the Harrison College of Business, they have not taken any classes together. The two say they have taken some of the same coursework, but not at the same time.
“Having a twin can help you when it comes to classes,” Ben said. “Since my other half happens to be more book smart, she was able to help me with certain subjects that I would usually struggle with.”
Upon graduation, Emilie plans to volunteer and travel for the first month and half before moving to Cleveland, Ohio, to work as an operations manager for a new Gordmans store. Ben plans to work at his family’s restaurants early this summer before spending the second half of the summer traveling Europe with friends.
Wherever their journeys take them, both the Taylors and Mulhollands agree they will always share a special bond with their twin, and they will all be forever Redhawks.