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Columbus says goodbye to Cameron Bean

I hate farewell parties. I really do.

But I went to Cameron Bean's tonight at the Loft.

It's difficult to believe, but we have known each other for 10 years.

My first time meeting him was when he was 17 or 18 and a Columbus State University freshman theater student.

That was the first year the department decided to start a stage for students to direct each other in plays.

I think Cameron was the first. He chose to do "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Unbridged)" with two fellow students, Adam Archer and Michael Stiggers. I'm sure they didn't know it then, but they became best friends.

Cameron called me and wanted me to write about them doing the play.

For a freshman to make a cold call to me takes a lot of guts. I mean I'm not rude to anyone or anything like that. But for a teenager to even call the newspaper?

Over the years, I'd run into Cameron all over town. I had to work one Saturday and one of my assignments was to cover the first students to move into the downtown dorms. Guess who one of the first to greet me?

Cam, of course. He was one of the RAs (resident assistants) and he was all over the place, showing other students where to register, pick up keys and where to go.

Then he was in many theater productions at CSU as well as the Springer Opera House.

After graduating, he decided to stay in Columbus and get his master's degree.

In the meantime, I heard that he was a candidate to become the executive director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. I think ultimately, his lack of experience and his age made that job not the right fit.

As soon as that door closed, Paul Pierce, the Springer's artistic director decided to take the chance on him and hired him to be the director of development.

In the two years in that position, Cameron has done an outstanding job. That is one of those jobs in Columbus where people just don't last. I guess making cold calls day in and day out, asking people for money wears on you.

But Cam excelled at the job.

I don't know how he found out about the job with the San Jose Repertory Theater, but it hired him to be director of development. Maybe that theater sought him out.

He's going to do a great job, but what a loss for us in Columbus.

Not only does the Springer lose a valued staffer and performer, we lose a friend.

But Scooter MacMillan of the Springer said to look on the bright side. We have a place to stay in California now.

Cam better get a two-bedroom place because I think he'll have a lot of visitors.

Good luck, sweetie.