Robinson on fire: A look at Olivet grad Merrick Robinson


“Merrick Robison is a man with a heart for God, who continues to grow in his abilities and faith. God has wonderful days in store for Merrick, and I feel blessed to know him. I’m sure you will see more of Merrick in the days to come” said Jerry Cohagan, an associate professor and theater director at Olivet about former student Merrick Robison.

Just as professor Cohagan suggested, Merrick Robison is a name to be known. Since graduating from Olivet he has continued to expand his acting career. Most recently, Robison starred in an episode of NBC’s Chicago Fire as Bruno, a victim who was rescued from a house fire.

Robison was sent the Chicago Fire audition information by his agent, Lily’s Talent Agency, the day before the first audition. He had only 24 hours to memorize his lines before the first audition in front of the Chicago Fire casting director. Robison felt the audition went well: all he had left to do was wait.

Luckily, he did not have to wait long. The next day, Robison heard that he was invited back for a second audition with both the director and the producer. He followed through with the audition, preparing for it the same way as he had the first audition, quickly memorizing the lines the night before. Within a week, he was informed that he had landed the role as Bruno.

When asked how his experiences at Olivet shaped his acting career, Robison stated, “Olivet’s theater professor Jerry Cohagan gave me a passion for theater and performance arts, which I’ve followed ever since. I also learned to find true human experiences in my art, making it both personal and communal.”

When Cohagan was asked about his experiences with Robison in his class, he had nothing but positive things to say. He was so fond of Robison that last fall he took his intro to theater class to a professional production that Robison was in. Following the production, Cohagan had Robison come and share with the class. “As a student, Merrick was always very eager and talented,” Cohagan said. Cohagan further described him as having a great work ethic, along with great passion, discipline and commitment.

Cohagan made sure to express that he tells every one of his students that are considering pursuing a career in performing arts to keep one major idea in mind:  “Eventually everyone in the room is talented. That’s when it becomes about discipline, work ethic, and commitment,” Cohagan said.

In Cohagan’s eyes, Robison’s hard-working qualities, along with his “God-given” talent, are what has gotten him so far and landed him the role on Chicago Fire.

While his experiences at Olivet have shaped his career, Merrick reminds students that “Olivet is a great place to learn and grow, but it isn’t everything.”

Robison keeps one piece of advice dear to his heart. As he said he remembers Dr. Bowling stating at his Freshmen Orientation, “Welcome… now please leave.”  Robison did just that.

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