Chris Tuckness joins Drury as Director of Alumni & Development

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 25, 2012 — Drury University announces the hiring of Chris Tuckness as Director of Alumni and Development.

Tuckness’s responsibilities include working with alumni and donor relations in Breech School of Business and the Hammons School of Architecture.

Chris Tuckness

Tuckness’s work experience includes: director of volunteer services at CoxHealth, vice president of community development and special events at the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, and executive director of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Tuckness’s Drury roots run deep. He graduated from Drury with a triple major in communication, public relations and business in 1994, and he went on to earn a master’s in communication from Drury in 2000. Tuckness also has a certificate in nonprofit organization management from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“I spent so much of my life here, it feels like I’m coming home. I’m just excited to be a part of this institution and help to connect my fellow alumni back to their alma mater,” Tuckness said.

Media Contact: Dr. Krystal McCulloch, Vice President of Alumni and Development, Office: (417) 873-7303, Email:


Ellen Hammock joins Drury as Director of Alumni & Development

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 25, 2012 — Drury University announces the hiring of Ellen Hammock as Director of Alumni and Development. Hammock’s responsibilities include working with alumni and donor relations in the northeast part of the United States. She will also focus on working with alumni within the health, environmental sciences and the theatre departments at Drury University.

For seven years, Hammock worked as the executive director of the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks. Recently, Hammock worked as an administrator for Family Medicine Residency at Cox North.

Ellen Hammock

Hammock has an undergraduate degree in political science from Truman State and a master’s in public administration from Missouri State.

“I have always wanted to work for Drury,” said Hammock. “It is a great institution and I am excited to find out what accomplishments alumni have achieved and connect them back to the university.”

Media Contact: Dr. Krystal McCulloch, Vice President of Alumni and Development, Office: (417) 873-7303, Email:


Drury student plans to make a difference in her community

Springfield, Mo., July 23, 2012 — A native of Licking, Mo., Anna Kaley recalls a time in 2008 when she knew she was ready for a change. She wanted to go back to school and earn a degree that would enable her to make a difference in her community. Kaley readily admits that she was a little overwhelmed at the thought of returning to school. “I hadn’t been in school since 1987, and believe me, the classroom has changed,” said Kaley. “The campus director and the instructors were very helpful as I acclimated to the new learning environment.”

Anna Kaley by Sesha Shannon

Now in her fourth year, Kaley has come a long way. She regularly interfaces with Blackboard, an online learning management system used by Drury faculty, and she actually prefers Drury’s online courses. “Because I currently work two jobs, the online classes work really well with my schedule,” said Kaley.

Kaley already has an associate’s degree in business administration and is pursuing one in criminal justice. She’s looking ahead to graduating with a bachelor’s in business administration in 2013. Kaley is interested in pursuing a career in the field of economic development. While writing a paper for one of her classes, Kaley met Ron Reed, the economic developer for the city of Houston, Mo. This year, Kaley interviewed with Reed and secured an internship. “It is through my internship that I have realized what career I want to pursue after I graduate,” said Kaley. “I love what I do, and I can give back to the community.” Currently, Kaley is conducting surveys with local businesses, collecting insights on how they have sustained through the last several years of economic challenge. Kaley said the experience has been invaluable.

“I always tell people that you’ll never go wrong with furthering your education. Drury has been one of the most positive aspects of my life,” said Kaley. “It has opened doors and given me opportunities that I would not have otherwise had.”


Story by Jann Holland, executive director of marketing and communications at Drury University.

Drury’s Scholars program has come a long way in five years

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 23, 2012 — The fifth class of Drury’s Scholars, an enrichment program for Springfield African-American youth, will return to campus on Monday, July 30. Founded in 2008 by Drury professors, Summer Scholars brought 15 middle school, African-American males to campus for a week of activities. Since that time, the program has expanded to include females, offer year-round programming and dropped the “Summer” in the name to reflect the ongoing nature of educational opportunities the Scholars program provides.

This year, the Scholars program has received a great deal of good news, including:

  • In July, Drury hired Francine Pratt, the former President of the Springfield Chapter of the NAACP, to lead the Scholars as program coordinator.
  • In June, Springfield-based accounting firm BKD awarded the Scholars program with a $9,000 grant from the BKD Foundation to buy Netbook computers for the Scholars to use throughout the year.
  • In April, the Missouri Department of Higher Education awarded the Scholars program with a College Access Challenge Grant for $84,511. The grant will pay for food, Pratt’s salary, salaries for Drury student workers who serve as mentors to the Scholars, stipends for guest speakers, fees for cultural trips, and educational supplies including books.

In August, Drury will enroll its first Scholars’ alumnae. LaShonda Johnson and Bailey McCormick each attended Scholars for one summer and will begin their college careers at Drury in the fall.

Five of the young men from that first class of 15 males in 2008 are returning for the fifth year. Several have either graduated from high school or moved away. Many are enrolled in college for fall 2012 or plan to attend college once they graduate, which was one of the goals when the Scholars program was founded. “When we started the Scholars, our inspiration was the achievement gap in Springfield Public Schools between African-American and Caucasian students, especially among male students,” said Dr. Peter Meidlinger, English professor and one of the Scholars founders. “We wanted the students to realize that college was a possibility for them, and, now, we have several heading to college, including Drury. We couldn’t be happier with that outcome.”

The only cost to the Scholars is a $25 fee, which is waived for students who complete meaningful work projects designated by the director of the program.

Increasing diversity on-campus and in the community.

John Beuerlein

Over the last several years, Drury University has made a concerted effort to increase the diversity of its student population. Those efforts have been successful in large part due to the Edward Jones Minority Scholarships. Drury graduate, and the former chairman of Drury’s Board of Trustees, John Beuerlein and his wife Crystal established the scholarships in 2007 for the entering class in the fall of 2008. The Edward Jones Minority Scholarships are competitive scholarships for ten self-identified minorities in each freshman class.

In 2011-2012, 18.5 percent of Drury’s freshman class was made up of international students and domestic minorities. That’s the most diversity in a freshman class at Drury ever. The percentage of diverse students was even higher than the first day of classes at Drury on September 25, 1873, when seven of Drury’s first 39 students (or 18 percent) were Native Americans.

“I was concerned when I learned that Springfield was the second least diverse city in the United States,” said Drury President Todd Parnell. “We suffer as a community from that distinction when it comes to attracting businesses and talent to our region. Drury’s increasing diversity can serve as a mini-oasis in the community profile. The more we learn about that role, the more effective we can be as an institution in providing leadership on campus and in the community. The Scholars program and its continued growth is one of the ways in which Drury is offering that leadership.”

Media Contact: Francine Pratt, Drury Scholars Program Coordinator, Mobile: (916) 541-1675, E-mail:


Drury’s Scholars program receives funding to buy computers

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 18, 2012 — Drury University’s Scholars program, an enrichment program for Springfield African-American youth, has received a $9,000 grant from the BKD Foundation to buy Netbook computers for the Scholars to use throughout the school year.

“The Scholars program is designed to close the achievement gap between African-American students and Caucasian students. What really impressed me about the program was that the professors are looking beyond school and asking the students, ‘Is success going to college or getting out of high school and getting a job?’” said Zach Swartz, a BKD employee who will volunteer with the Scholars this summer. “I think this program can make a real change by taking some at-risk kids, putting some enrichment in place, and helping them achieve success.”

BKD, a national accounting firm based in Springfield, has been involved with the Scholars program since 2010. BKD employees have talked to the Scholars about business, leadership, ethics and marketing.

“From the foundation’s perspective, we look at projects BKD partners and employees are involved with, and projects that have a community impact. This program exemplifies both of those qualities,” said Rachel Dwiggins, a member of the BKD Foundation advisory committee.

“We are extremely thankful for BKD’s involvement with the Scholars program. This gift will help the students have a more robust classroom experience and will assist with programming throughout the school year,” said Dr. Mark Wood, chemistry professor and one of the Scholars founders.

Drury faculty founded Summer Scholars in 2008 as a way to connect with young African-Americans in the neighborhood near the Drury campus through academic and cultural classes and outings. The program directors, Wood, Bruce Callen, Peter Meidlinger, and Charlyn Ingwerson, all live in the midtown community and teach at the university. Since its founding, the Scholars program has expanded to include young females, offering year-round activities and it has tripled in size to serve about fifty students annually. Drury recently hired Francine Pratt, former president of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP, as the Scholars program director.

This summer, the Scholars will be on the Drury campus for a week beginning July 30.

Media Contact: Dr. Mark Wood, Professor of Chemistry, Office: (417) 873-7474, Mobile: (417) 693-9938, E-mail:


Drury President overcomes apprehension to skydive with daughter

During his time as President of Drury University, Todd Parnell has taken pies in the face and comically tipped his canoe over in a fountain for a fundraising video. “I’ve never been afraid to laugh at myself. It generally results in fun!” Parnell said.

On July 8, to celebrate his 65th birthday, Parnell took a risk that had consequences far beyond getting laughed at. “I’d always wanted to go skydiving, but I’m afraid of heights. I’d just never worked up the nerve,” he said. “Then Charles Taylor (vice president of academic affairs) went skydiving with his parents for their 63rd anniversary. It piqued my interest again.”

Pres. Parnell skydiving. Photo by Andrea Gill.

Parnell talked to his daughter Patricia (a 20-year-old junior-to-be at Drury) about what they were going to do for his 65th birthday. He was thinking of an overnight float trip, but when he mentioned skydiving Patricia jumped on it, “Dad, you promised me when I was little that you would take me skydiving,” she said.

Parnell still wasn’t sure, but his daughter encouraged him and, after talking it over with Betty, Todd’s wife and Patricia’s mother, they got the okay.

“Driving to the jump center in Miller, I was pretty leery; but my daughter was sitting right beside me so I knew I was locked,” Parnell said. “Getting into that little plane with four of us crammed in together, I was having second, third and fourth thoughts, but once we took off I knew that there was no backing out.

“I went first. It’s a tandem jump so the instructor was attached to my back. He threw open the side door. We stepped out onto the strut, counted to three and jumped. At that point all fear was gone. We jumped from 10,000 feet and fell a mile in less than a minute at 120 miles per hour. What a sensory overload! When the chute deployed, there was this incredible sense of peace and quiet. Almost like being frozen in time and space. The instructor allowed me to make some turns as we came in for a landing. From the time we stepped out of the plane to landing on the ground, the whole thing only took six or seven minutes.”

Parnell will retire as Drury’s president in May of 2013. He won’t get a golden parachute when he retires, but he may have a new hobby, “It was a remarkable experience. I hope to do it again.”


Former NAACP president to lead Drury’s Scholars

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 11, 2012 — Francine Pratt, the former president of the Springfield Missouri chapter of the NAACP, has joined Drury University as the program coordinator for the Scholars program. Formerly called Summer Scholars, the Scholars program began in 2008 as an enrichment program for young Springfield African-American middle school males. It has since expanded to include young females, offering year-round activities and it has tripled in size.

Francine Pratt

For the past two years, Pratt has served as the executive director of Isabel’s House, the crisis nursery of the Ozarks. Pratt says that the Scholars position combines two of her passions: children and helping young African-Americans realize their potential. “I understand the Springfield Public Schools’ achievement gap between some African-American students and Caucasian students and I want to help close that gap,” Pratt said. “Being able to work one-on-one with students and the ability to give them opportunities that they may not even know exist, that excites me.” As president of the NAACP, Pratt’s executive committee organized mentoring programs and bus tours for African-American high school students to Missouri’s Historically Black Colleges: Lincoln University in Jefferson City and Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

Pratt moved to Springfield in 2007 and worked for the Missouri Department of Social Services and worked in the private industry for contracted social services. Prior to that, she worked in California in a variety of positions with the State of California, including the Department of Social Services and the Department of Managed Health Care.

Drury faculty founded Summer Scholars as a way to connect with young African-Americans in the neighborhood near the Drury campus through academic and cultural classes and outings. The program directors, Mark Wood, Bruce Callen, Peter Meidlinger, and Charlyn Ingwerson, all live in the midtown community and teach at the university. Meidlinger articulates the vision of all involved in the program: “At some distant point in the future, when the history of race relations in Springfield is told, after mentioning the lynchings and the segregated schools, historians will have to say, ‘Somewhere in 2008, four Drury professors and members of the black community held hands in a big circle that encompassed the schools, the neighborhood, families, and kids — a circle that didn’t leave anyone out.’”

This year, the Summer Scholars will be on the Drury campus beginning July 30.

Media Contact: Dr. Bruce Callen, Associate Dean of the College, Office: (417) 873-7546, Mobile: (417) 849-6809, E-mail:


A gift to help make education more affordable

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 10, 2012 — Drury students in the College of Continuing Professional Studies will have more scholarship opportunities thanks to a $50,000 gift from Springfield’s Stanley Ball.

“Stanley wanted to help individuals who are working and struggling to pay for college because he believes education is important for the future of the Ozarks and our nation,” said Dr. Krystal McCulloch, vice president of alumni and development. “We are extremely grateful for his generous gift.”

Stanley Ball (right) with Drury President Todd Parnell

Additionally, Ball donated another $10,000 to Drury’s annual fund that will help fund scholarships for students in the traditional Day School.

“Drury works very hard to make college affordable for traditional and non-traditional students,” said Aaron Jones, interim dean of the College of Continuing Professional Studies. “Donors like Mr. Ball help to provide a college education to all of our students while ensuring the quality and rigor Drury is known for.”

Media Contact: Dr. Krystal McCulloch, Vice President of Alumni and Development, Office: (417) 873-7303, E-mail:


Drury graduate lives the golfing life

Springfield, Mo., July 9, 2012 — When the U.S. Senior Open tees off this week at Indianwood Golf and Country Club in Michigan, one Drury graduate will be watching closely because, in three years, it will be his golf course hosting the best over-50 golfers in the world at Del Paso Country Club in Sacramento, Calif.

Mark McKinney is the superintendent at Del Paso, which means he’s responsible for making sure the nearly 100-year-old course is playable for golfers and looks great for spectators.  It’s a job that suits McKinney’s personality, “I’d go crazy if I had to be inside all day,” McKinney said.

Drury graduate Mark McKinney

Admittedly, McKinney was not a great student. He dropped out of college after graduating from Glendale in 1982 and worked two jobs, but he was encouraged to go back, “My grandfather McKinney told me go back to college and get an education. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t have done that,” McKinney said. “Drury taught me how to learn, to think and to excel. Drury taught me a lot of life skills and I met people who are still important to me today.”

McKinney attended Drury from 1984-1989, captaining the club soccer team and playing golf. Biology professor Dr. Don Deeds was the golf coach then and was McKinney’s advisor. The two have remained close friends. “I know Mark says he was a poor student, but he has always been very smart. Drury helped him focus his intellect and his passions, and he’s found a career that combines his love of golf and for being outdoors,” Deeds said.

For a guy who says he wasn’t a good student, McKinney spent a lot of time in school. After getting his biology degree from Drury in 1989, he sought an agronomy degree from the University of Missouri and graduated in 1991. It wasn’t long before McKinney landed the superintendent job at Las Colinas Country Club near Dallas, home of the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Classic.

Now, working at his eighth golf course, McKinney gets to live a life around golf. He spent a week working at the United States Open in San Francisco in June, but he doesn’t get to tee it up that often, “If you love to play golf, don’t get in the golf business. I only play 6-8 times per year, but, when I do get to play, it’s at some of the best courses in the country.”


The work of disabled artists featured at Drury on C-Street

Springfield, Mo., July 3, 2012— On July 6, 2012 as a part of C-Stroll, The Drury on C-Street Gallery will present an exhibition from VSA entitled Where we can read the wind. This exhibition features visual artists from VSA’s second literary and visual arts anthology of the same name.

Highlighting the talents of 11 professional artists with disabilities from the state ofMissouri, this traveling exhibition will be featured in The Drury on C-Street Gallery for the months of July and August. Where we can read the wind will also travel to Hannibal Arts Council, Capital Arts in Jefferson City and culminate in an exhibition at the Regional Arts Council in St. Louis, MO. VSA Missouri is thrilled to showcase such talent and dedication by these artists throughout the state of Missouri.

Local visual artist, Christa Carpenter, Willard, is featured in the exhibit.  According to Kay Osborne, Arts Administration Major coordinator and local contact for this exhibit, “Christa has developed a really unique method of painting.  Her work is original, colorful and engaging.   With only 11 artists accepted to the show and 3 exhibits, we are fortunate to be hosting this exhibit.”   Miss Carpenter will be honored during the C-Stroll.

Participating artists include:

Christa Carpenter, Willard, Mo.
Dave Carter, Kirksville, Mo.
Robert Cornman, Sunset Hills, Mo.
Shannon Drew, Wentzville, Mo.
Carol Fleming, St. Louis, Mo.
Lynne Green, St. Louis, Mo.
David Kontra, Norwood, Mo.
Hal Moran, St. Charles, Mo.
Patrick Patterson, Cape Girardeau, Mo.
John Robinson, Kansas City, Mo.
Kimberly Welker, Kansas City, Mo.

The Drury on C-Street Gallery is located at 233 E. Commercial Street at the corner of Commercial and Robberson. Gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday 12pm-5pm and 6pm-9pm on C-Stroll First Fridays.

Contact: Kay Osborne, Program Director of Arts Administration, Office: 417-873-6359, Email: