University of Central Florida alumnus Desmond Newson’s hard fought and well earned new role will bring the Knight to perform in a national tour of Hamilton, a Tony award-winning Broadway musical.

The first steps to Desmond’s journey started with a passion for theater in his high school’s musical production of Oklahoma!. Captivated by the sense of belonging, Newson would carry a love for the arts into college and through his career at UCF.

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Upon completing an audition process that began in Los Angeles and spanned four months over the past year, Newson was flown to New York for final callbacks with the creative team of Hamilton, UCF Today reported.

UCF faculty members Mark Brotherton and Jim Brown inspired the soon-to-be Broadway performing actor. And, soon enough, the investment in the student would pay off, Brotherton, Brown, and Newson would find.

A post-graduation gift of the role of Simba for Hong Kong Disney’s Festival of the Lion King treated the Knight along with performances in Motown the MusicalFlyIn the HeightsHairspray, and other productions, according to UCF Today.

“Growth is gradual,” Newson said to UCF Today. “If you truly love your craft, then work hard and stay the course. Discover those unique qualities that set you apart.”

Newson traced his love for the performing arts back to his university when reflecting on his career.

“I am proud to be a UCF Knight […] UCF is finally getting the recognition and exposure that it has always deserved.”

Hamilton‘s national tour will begin in San Francisco in March and continue on to more cities, including Orlando, during the 2018-19 season.