Devin Morrissey ’16 of ‘Love on the Spectrum’ found his voice at Whittier

June 5, 2024

Devin Morrissey ’16 | Courtesy Devin MorrisseyDevin Morrissey ’16 has known he is on the autism spectrum since he was 3. He discovered his love of singing at age 6, and thanks to Whittier College, he is singing a happy tune.

“Coming to Whittier, it was my second chance at life and making a name for myself,” Morrissey said. “I was able to actually be authentically who I was.”

Growing up in Danville in the San Francisco Bay Area, Morrissey was told he would never be able to go to college, work a full-time job, or live independently because of his disability.

Now, in addition to hosting the podcast Autistically Unapologetic and performing with the LA branch of Epic Players, a neuro-inclusive theater company in Hollywood, Morrissey appears in the multiple seasons of the Netflix series Love on the Spectrum. 

Looking back, he believes everything changed when a campus tour introduced him to Whittier. 

“It was the positive vibe and the beautiful atmosphere that really sealed the deal for me,” said Morrissey, who was already drawn to Southern California for sites like Disneyland, Santa Monica and Hollywood. “I loved how everything was very inclusive.”

Morrissey, who majored in music and minored in theater, could often be found lounging at The Spot if he wasn’t practicing or performing at Arnold Hall and The Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts. He also stayed busy as a member of the Sachsens and cheer team.

The baritone represented the school at performances in Hawaii and Texas, and had the honor of sharing the stage with Disney legend Susan Egan —  Belle in the Broadway musical adaptation of Beauty and the Beast as well as the voice of Megara in Hercules — to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Shannon Center.

The emphasis on inclusivity carried on into Morrissey’s professional life. After a stint teaching music, he now works as a recruitment coordinator for a neurodiversity and disability recruiting and career consulting firm. 

Fans of Netflix’s romantic docuseries Love on the Spectrum will also know him from his supporting role as a friend of Dani Bowman. The second season of the critically acclaimed show came out earlier this year and — though he is only in a few scenes — Morrissey still gets recognized on the street.

“It was such an amazing way to connect back to my autistic roots and sort of see how far I've come,” he said. “​​Now, I feel that it's more important than ever for me to help the next generation of people, especially given my time at Whittier and also my time on Love on the Spectrum.”

Professors Teresa LeVelle and Danilo Lozano taught Morrissey to strive for success, and he echoes similar motivational sentiments to today’s students, encouraging Poets to join a club or sport to meet new people.

“Don't look back on your college years wishing you had done more,” Morrissey said. “Those four years go by incredibly fast. Every time I look back at memories from my time at Whittier, I’m very appreciative because I took and ran with those opportunities.”

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