The Swankiest College Experience

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Dan Swank (2017) loves music. He’s a singer, songwriter and guitarist with the look and sound that channels the Beach Boys.

He comes to Westminster College from Kiski High School and his hometown of Apollo, Pa. While he’s comfortable in front of the camera performing, he’s developing his style behind the camera as well as a producer, videographer and storyteller. However, just before the 2014 holiday break, he created a music video for his cover of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

“I recorded the song with my friend Dan Blake. Dan records all of the music that I release publicly. I had the idea to do a Christmas song and have yourself a merry little Christmas stood out to me as one that could turn out really well. After I got the final mix of the song back, I decided I wanted to make a Christmas themed video to go along with it. I brought the idea to my friend Derek Hughes, and we went into the city and shot the whole thing in about couple of hours.”

Dan enjoys the hands-on, practical experience in Westminster’s Broadcast & Digital Communications program.

“I like broadcast communications because there’s so much that goes into it,” said Dan. “I like doing everything from shooting, editing video, or reporting.”

What does Dan consider his most challenging assignment or project in his Westminster career at this stage?

He says completing a news package for his BC 251/Video production class kept him on his toes.

“I had to re-visit my location 3 times in order to get good shots/interviews. It was really nerve racking turning it in because the professors expect top quality projects.”

Check out the story Dan produced for the feature magazine television show at Westminster, WCN 24/7.  He takes us to New Castle’s Confluence Cafe where art, music and hot coffee create a family-friendly community.

Dan graciously fielded other questions for us about his passion for music and some of his experiences as a Westminster student during his first three semesters on campus.

What can you tell us about your songwriting and performing?

“I’ve always had a sincere love for music. The ability to play and write songs has been a blessing- I’m able to connect with people in a special way.”

Tell us how you can can connect your music passion with what you’re learning in classes and assignments.

“Everything that I learn in the program can help me with music. For example, if I master video editing, I’ll never have to hire someone to shoot music videos for me. My passion for broadcasting and digital media has grown massively this year.”

Describe where you’d like to see yourself in five years.

“I can see myself either touring the country playing songs for people, or somewhere out in the field reporting a news story. We’ll just have to see which route seems the most feasible for me after graduation.”

What advice would you give someone in high school looking at college and studying media?

“A lot of people seem to think it’s an ‘easy’ major, but they’re dead wrong. You have to have a willingness to stay up late and master skills and polish your work. You’ll have to be well rounded if you want to succeed in today’s digital media.”

What’s been your favorite class or assignment and why?

“My favorite class thus far has been sports broadcasting. Our teacher, Ryan McNaughton, is a very tough grader and he’s been just about everywhere in the broadcasting industry. He put together a great course for us and I think we all took a lot away from it.”


Three things that makes Broadcast & Digital Comm major Dan Swank smile:

  • Corgis
  • Any victory for the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Red Baron Pizza

Dan says it’s cool to follow him on Twitter or to look him up on Facebook. He also features his musical efforts on YouTube.

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