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Fourth annual “531 Challenge” boosts participation rate, amount raised


SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 7, 2017 — Drury University’s fourth annual “531 Challenge” fundraising campaign exceeded its participation goal with 663 total donors, an increase over last year.

The 531 Challenge kicked off on May 1 with the goal of 531 donors giving at any level before the last day of May – 5/31 on the calendar. Drury alumni, Walter ’79 and Susan George ’80, and the George Family Foundation, committed to a challenge gift of $50,000 if the participation goal was met. George said, “Susan and I feel like this challenge is a great way for all Drury Alumni to participate in the future of the University. It becomes the signature event to end the fiscal year and affords an opportunity for us to lead by example in making Drury better.”

In all, the challenge has raised more than $539,000. All gifts to Drury during this time were counted for the 531 Challenge, including support for the Annual Drury Experience Fund, which provides money for student scholarships and financial aid.

“We continue to see enthusiasm and excitement around our annual 531 challenge. We are proud to again have exceeded our goal and are humbled and thankful for the continued support of our alumni and friends,” said Andrea Battaglia, Director of Annual Giving. “The 531 event encouraged participation rather than a specific dollar amount, and we know that our Drury Family has embraced this Drury tradition which supports student scholarships and financial aid.”

Media Contact:

Andrea Battaglia
Director of Annual Giving
Office: (417) 873-7353
Email: abattaglia@drury.edu

Getting to Know Drury’s 18th President: Part 4 – Innovation & Growth at Hendrix

dr-cloyd-ffdIn an effort to better get to know Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd, we are publishing a Q&A series with Drury’s 18th President. Previous editions focused on the selection process, Dr. Cloyd’s early life, and his passion for teaching and learning. This installment focuses on some of the more notable accomplishments of his 13-year run as president of Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. In particular, his experience with creating and implementing strategic institutional positioning. 

A major point of pride for Hendrix is The Odyssey program, which you helped create. It helped elevate the school’s national profile and became a defining part of the student experience there. Tell us how it came about.

The answer emerged from the question, “How do you measure the distinctiveness, impact, and attractiveness of an institution of higher learning?” I mean in terms of the whole university and the experience students have inside and outside of the classroom at that particular university as opposed to others. In Hendrix’s case, a liberal arts college, and in Drury’s case, a liberal arts university for the 21st century.

Odyssey was about establishing distinctiveness and a clear value added of the experience every student would have, that would be made real in tangible, visible ways, and in which every faculty member and student would participate. It was about how to create a compelling institutional differentiation when students face so many choices.

By definition this meant that the kind of experience we offered every student was real, clearly signaled to students and the world, defining of the experience across the institution, and required for academic credit, guaranteeing every student a unique credential. It came with funding both in the form of distinction awards (a unique form of financial aid) for every student and in the form of funding for Odyssey qualified experiences for students and for faculty working with those students.

When we created Odyssey, we faced declining enrollments and revenue and a budget shortfall that was only projected to grow. The state of Arkansas eliminated the Governor’s scholarship that affected 240 full-pay students in one year. In addition, unparalleled private funding at the University of Arkansas provided “free rides” to students in our traditional markets.

We had to be decisive, bold, and take action. This was not a question of having better marketing or of working harder on recruitment. We knew we could not compete with state schools on price (how do you compete with free?), we knew we could not compete with larger institutions with greater resources on the basis of the breadth and the commodification of our offerings, majors, and programs nor could we cut ourselves into prosperity. We could never stand up enough offerings, majors, programs, etc., at their price points to be competitive.

We had already dramatically cut costs, implemented lean process designs, and reduced expenses, and cut positions. In time, however, we recognized this would only gut our departments and programs, would do lasting damage to our quality, and undermine the institutional sense of community that were our hallmarks. In addition, we recognized that the message this would send into the market would harm our brand. When a higher education institution implements austerity it cannot control its message and competitors for students and donors use it against you.

The answer was to impact the top line by drawing on our collective ingenuity, ability to innovate, and willingness to change. “Your Hendrix Odyssey: Engaging in Active Learning” was the program’s official name.

Faculty fleshed out the program and made it real so that it was not just a high-level marketing concept. The result was a well researched, well thought out positioning platform that became a well executed strategic deliverable. It became what we as an institution were known for – it became our value differentiation. It was critical to our success because we had to compete on the value of the experience we offered not the price or the specific offerings. We knew we had no price or discount elasticity. This meant that if we wanted to increase student head count we had to increase our discount driving marginal net revenue per student down. We could not discount enough to increase revenue on volume.

There was positive impact on a number of key drivers: the number of students that applied; the number of students who enrolled; our ability to draw different students from a broader geographic region; our ability to raise our price to more accurately reflect our value and achieve our enrollment goals by more aggressive aid awards and financial support; and our ability to maintain or increase enrollment from our current markets.

Communicating this approach required significant investments in marketing so that students would understand two things – our real value proposition and our increased financial aid and scholarship program – and it had the effect of driving up applications in Arkansas, but more importantly from out-of-state urban target markets. It also required start-up and implementation investments by the board and donors. Finally, it required us to “hard-launch” the new position all at once instead of incrementally implementing the value difference.

At the highest level we did a number of things: at the core we positioned ourselves as a demanding, rigorous, but supportive academic environment, in which every student engaged in experiential, hands-on learning grounded in the liberal arts and sciences for academic credit. We guaranteed that every student would receive transcript recognition and credentials for following their passion and completing hands-on projects. Implicit in this guarantee was the idea that students would develop marketable competencies conferred by the institution and recognized by the market. We also did a number of other things such as making sciences and technology more connected to and grounded in the liberal arts.

So how did the program actually work?

In order to graduate, every student was required to complete three hands-on learning projects from six different categories: undergraduate research; service to the world; global/cross cultural awareness and understanding; professional and internship experiences; artistic or creative projects; or a special customized project. Each of these and the requirements for completion was defined in very specific, academically rigorous ways.

We gave each student academic credit for the three projects they selected and added an annotated description of the projects to their transcript. We required students to have a faculty or staff mentor for the project, to present a proposal for approval for each of the projects complete with expected learning outcomes, and to present the project outcomes in a public forum. Every student was also given, at a minimum, a $1,000 one-time grant for one of the projects.

The reality was that 75 percent of our students were already doing at least two of these types of projects and that a number of courses, because of the hands-on nature of the teaching and learning in that class, qualified automatically for Odyssey credit. So in many ways we were codifying something organic that we already had been doing and that was in our culture.

Several things were, however, radical and unique. The first, of course, was that every student was required to complete these three projects to graduate. This meant that the Odyssey ethos was defining and universal for every student, giving the academic experience coherence. All students received transcript recognition and a credential for completing each project. This helped to make students more attractive in the job market, in competition for national fellowships and scholarships, and in application for graduate and professional school.

One other very important note is that we built in financial support and incentives for students and faculty to create exciting and innovative hands-on experiences. Eventually, we raised an endowment of about $15 million for the Odyssey Grants Program. Students could apply on their own or in groups, or faculty members working with a group of students could apply for grant funding to support projects. We created 12 Odyssey Professorships that, unlike endowed chairs, rotated every three years. This funded hands-on experiences, travel, salary stipends, etc. All of this created an entrepreneurial spirit on campus as students learned how to develop grant proposals, business plans and such.

Finally, we created a new form of financial aid – The Odyssey Distinction Award – which was a four-year award not based on merit or need, but based on a student’s gifts, talents, and passions.

The ultimate results? In the second year, our freshman class increased by 43 percent and over three years our net revenue grew by 52 percent. We grew from 950 students to 1,500 students over four years.

Why did Odyssey resonate with faculty, students, and prospective students?

It was distinctive, differentiating, and offered a clear value. It allowed students to pursue their passions in a hands-on fashion, to earn a credential such as a certificate, and receive in academic transcript recognition for their projects. It allowed them to be creative and to learn in new ways. The faculty made the positioning real and it gave them an opportunity to rejuvenate through new modes of teaching and to experiment with new ways of learning. Technology was also a key to the success of Odyssey, as students learned and put to use digital knowledge they had on projects and created digital portfolios. Faculty also learned to use and put new technologies to work in teaching. It was a positioning defined by what John Dewey called the “pragmatic liberal arts” taking thought in the classroom into the world and bringing it back again.

I think it helped to make those core virtues of the liberal arts and sciences real – learning to learn; critical and analytical thinking; learning to solve puzzles; looking at problems and issues through a variety of lenses and realizing that more than one solution may be right; learning to communicate in all forms written, verbal etc.; learning that solutions and the world are more often gray than black and white. It combined these virtues with virtuosity – technical and other competencies.

Do you think that Odyssey might have some relevance to or relate to strategies for Drury University?

In so far as offering some readymade template, I think the answer is no. But in thinking about where Drury is and the process of going about positioning Drury I think the answer is yes.

We need to understand that we must compete on the basis of differentiation, value, and the distinctiveness of the student experience and how we offer and teach what we do. We cannot win by competing on the basis of price and the breadth of our offerings alone. We have to compete on value. And that has to be made real in some way.

I think it is critically important that we look to what is universally defining as well as value enhancing to the experience for every Drury student.

In my reading of Drury’s history and in my admittedly short time here I have picked up on a number of themes and past trends that may hold promise for this kind of value differentiation and market positioning platform. In 1940, for example, President Findlay eliminated many of the required courses and put in place a program that offered each student a personalized, customized educational plan. Both faculty and staff offered intensive advising and mentoring to help students design these plans. In the mid-1990s President Moore, Dr. Stephen Good, and the faculty introduced GP-21. This series of core courses allowed every student to earn a minor in Global Studies and this was placed on their transcripts and their diplomas. These are both examples of the type of differentiation and distinctiveness I am talking about. They were universal and defining of the student experience at Drury.

There is a tremendous institutional heritage and particular areas of excellence that could hold Drury University together in a positive, defining way. It seems to me that our message and our identity should not become diffuse or disaggregated – with various programs and schools going their own way – because we would fail to leverage our institutional core identity and our particular strengths. Instead, we must again rise to the occasion, align institutional incentives, and leverage the institution’s ability to advance a positioning with the coherence and relevance to attract the students we all need in the day school, graduate college and CCPS.

In conversations with Drury students and faculty I have heard a number of resonant themes, characteristics, and values that have piqued my interest as I think about the issue of differentiation and distinctiveness for Drury, the overall positioning platform for the university – its offerings, and the potential for particular peaks of excellence.

I have been on the job for only about two weeks, so I imagine that there are many more concepts that are already organic to Drury, but there are at least a few that jump out at me already. Things like the fact that so many Drury students have two and three majors, which creates a degree combination unique to their passions. I’ve been struck by the fact that there’s such a strong desire among our students and faculty to address real-world problems locally, nationally and globally. The potential to strengthen the quality and nature of our advising and mentoring is another such area. Finally, there are possibilities in rethinking the approach we take across the university to the way we approach teaching and learning.

Those are just a few examples. All of these could hold promise in moving Drury University forward. Whatever we may do it will need to be collaborative and connect to the themes I outlined in my first speech to the community – Empowerment, Unity, and Liberty. We plan to move rapidly, engaging the right resources, testing the results and channeling our energy toward these points of differentiation and value.

You helped bring an international flavor to Hendrix. Can you tell us about some of those programs?

The most important thing I did was to make multi-cultural awareness, diversity, inclusion, and the free expression of ideas a top priority. Then I provided the resources for people to develop these and other new opportunities for students. I would be happy to discuss how I helped to create this range of new international programs, but it also had to do with me personally modeling the commitment to internationalism by travelling to establish many of these bi-lateral and multi-lateral programs. I also served on the International Student Exchange Program Board and the board of an NGO called Bridge to Rwanda.

What is the Village at Hendrix? How did that change the nature and feel of the campus?

We found part of our difficulty in recruiting students was that our campus did not have the feel of a place with an active vibrant social life. This was because many students went home for the weekend and because the downtown was too far away from campus for students to readily take advantage of restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, etc. Students in this generation want a bit of an “xurban” feel to campus. We did not have a Cambridge Square and many of our faculty had moved to Little Rock or out into the Conway suburbs.

We bought land around us and we were fortunate that we had about 180 acres across from the main campus. So we hired Andres Duany and DPZ, who are world-class town and campus planners. The board decided to invest in developing a Village across the street from the campus and we were able to get federal, state, and city funds to redesign the road between the development and campus.

It is a long story and I learned more about how to be a real-estate developer than I ever imagined. I encourage you to go online and look at what we created. In addition, to the new urban style housing (625 homes and dwellings when all phases are complete) we built three large buildings around a village green, developed plans for a hotel, built live-work units (where people live upstairs from a business) and apartments as liner buildings around parking lots. We also developed a storm drainage flood system into something called the Hendrix Creek Preserve. The Hendrix Creek Preserve became an outdoor classroom to test ground water run-off for organic and heavy metal toxins and a sustainability model.

The village center buildings have on the first floors restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, commercial, etc. and on the top three floors apartments and flats that we used for student housing. We built them, however, so that the top floors could be flipped into the open market or could be used as timeshares and sold as condominiums. We did this because in our analysis we realized that 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring each day for the next 19 years! Think about that! Most of these folks from the north want to move south for at least part of the year and the vast majority want to live next to a college or university campus instead of on a golf course. This is the generation that came of age in the 1950s and 1960s and they are looking for a sense of meaning and all of the amenities offered by a campus. They want to be around young people. Many of them are capable of teaching university courses, especially co-curricular courses.

Our strategy was to target certain populations such as scientists, doctors, artists, etc. and invite them to come teach courses on “how to run a medical practice” and such, knowing that our pre-med students would be top flight in the sciences, but may not know the first thing about balance sheets, P&L statements, insurance reimbursement, Medicare or Medicaid, or the Affordable Care Act.

All in all, it has been extremely successful. It had the effect of changing the feel of the entire campus. We regarded it as a 100-year investment in our future – that was key. It was an investment in the quality of the student experience. These ideas drove the investment decisions and in our arrangement with joint-venture investors, not short-term ROI on capital investment, but patient capital.

Hendrix saw unprecedented success in fundraising and development during your tenure – $175 million in all. How did it happen? How do we lay the groundwork for future advancement at Drury?

The $175 million figure refers to two comprehensive campaigns. The first raised $75 million for two new science buildings, and endowment for scholarships and financial aid, academic programs, faculty chairs, housing, and a number of other projects.

The second campaign raised around $103 million for: housing; the Village at Hendrix; a new wellness and athletic center, aquatic center, all new athletic and intramural fields and a tennis center; a student life and technology center; endowment for scholarships and financial aid; funding for endowed chairs and Odyssey Professorships; an endowment for the Odyssey Program to fund Odyssey Projects; an endowment for middle income scholarships and financial aid; some renovations; and a sharply increased annual fund.

The second campaign was an eight-year effort. Drury has not had a comprehensive campaign and I would like to explore with donors, the alumni, the board, and the community whether or not we want to engage in such an effort. Drury has had a series of successful single project campaigns.

The objective for comprehensive campaigns is to connect all of the priority fundraising projects (capital projects, building projects, endowment, and annual fund goals) to the overall differentiation of the institution and to increase the overall campaign momentum through participation and the magnitude of results. You define these specific projects and priorities, cultivate prospects for gifts for these specific projects, and connect to their passions. In reality, there are always particular donors who have other specific passions and interests and of course you welcome those gifts for the express purpose for which they are given, but those, too, are reflected in the aggregate success of the institution’s overall effort.

The goal is to mobilize the entire institution – the family of alumni, donors, friends, board members, and the community – around the strategic priorities. The overarching theme is most impactful if it is directly supportive of the overall market positioning platform of the university, and if it taps into the collective passions and priorities held by those who love and care for the institution.

At Drury, for example, we have a database of 26,000 with about 16,000 alumni. At Hendrix we had a much smaller base with a total of about 14,000 alumni and donors. The strength of our Drury alumni population coupled with the great love of institution and the history of accomplishment are very encouraging.

One of my strongest desires as president is to understand more deeply and clearly the motivating passions of our alumni and donors, and to help shape a plan for our future that honors and increases active engagement. I want to build those bonds. I want us to create a magnetism around Drury that is powerful and undeniable. That feeling must be strong enough to compel the support we need for this institution to carry out its mission successfully, and well into the future.

Hendrix eventually earned national acclaim. The higher education landscape is so crowded. How do institutions stand out?

Be fearless. Be bold. Be proud. Have confidence. Do not be afraid to take calculated risks even while others are not. Know your story. Project and signal your value and differentiation in all you do. Tell the story over and over again about how you are transforming students’ lives by what you are doing and how you are doing it. And finally, do not let the voices of the timid pull you down, but have audacity.

Drury student Bre Legan to intern in India and Italy

bre-leganSPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 26, 2016 — Students at Drury are continuously encouraged to gain a global perspective. To do this, many Drury students study abroad for a short term summer trip or an entire semester.

Drury junior, Bre Legan, from Conway, Mo., and graduate of Conway High School, has been accepted for a competitive internship program to Dharamsala, India with Cross-Cultural Solutions. Legan is a Graphic Design, Fine Arts, and Writing triple major, and she will serve as a Global Communications Intern for six weeks from June 25 to August 6 crafting video, photographs, and written narratives for their social media accounts.

“I think that there’s a lot of hesitancy for going abroad in general,” says Legan. “That’s why it is so important to correct false impressions we might have and show the world that we have more similarities than differences.”

After returning from India, Legan turns around to spend her junior year in Florence, Italy. She will leave August 24th to take classes at Santa Reparata International School of Art. After studying abroad for the year, she plans to backpack across Europe. While in Florence, she will complete a second internship for school credit.

“I hope to meet a variety of people from radically different backgrounds than mine, and learn not just about them but from them,” says Legan.

Legan will return to Drury her senior year to share her global experiences with the community.


International Food Festival celebrates cultures, friendships on campus

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 31, 2016 — International students at Drury University will share their cultures with friends and guests through food and performance during the 29th annual International Food Festival at 6 p.m., Saturday, April 2 at the Commons in Findlay Student Center.

This year’s theme is the 2016 Olympics and will include a flag parade, singing, dancing, and other performances. Media are welcome to cover the event.

This popular dinner is truly a university-wide celebration, with numerous faculty, staff and American students joining their international friends each year. With approximately 12 percent of the undergraduate student population hailing from abroad, international culture is an important aspect of everyday life at Drury. These students bring a rich diversity of backgrounds and perspectives to campus, further enhancing a focus on global learning at a university where about half all undergraduates study abroad during their academic career.

Food is an important medium for sharing cultures because, “every culture uses food as a part of their celebrations,” says Heejung Cromley, director of international support services. The festival will feature foods from Kenya, Korea, Italy, India, Brazil, and other countries.

The guests enjoying the food are not the only ones who get a meaningful experience. Students put in a lot of effort to prepare the food and it is often a daylong process. “They work so hard as a team and build friendships through this event,” says Cromley. This event is a way for international students to enjoy spending time with one another and share their culture with the community.

“It is such a wonderful opportunity for our international students to share who they are by introducing their culture through food and sharing,” says Cromley.


Dr. David Manuel will retire as Drury University president in May 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 29, 2015 — Dr. David Manuel has announced that he will retire as President of Drury University in May at the end of his contractual commitment.

In letters to faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni sent today, Manuel thanked the entire Drury community for the opportunity to lead the institution. The decision comes after reflecting on a long career in higher education as a faculty member, administrator and chancellor/president.

“For several months, I have been considering my future personal and professional plans in light of completing nearly 41 years in higher education. During its regular fall meeting this morning, I informed the Board of Trustees that I will retire as president of Drury University on May 31, 2016,” Manuel said. “I have enjoyed working with all of Drury’s constituent groups and have come to deeply admire this great American university, as well as the entire Springfield community. We have an outstanding leadership team, and I am confident they will be able to move the university forward. Between now and May 31, I will work diligently to assist Drury as it achieves new successes and will partner with you, the Board and the administration in the upcoming transition.”

“We appreciate Dr. David and Betty Coe Manuel’s service to Drury and the community,” said Lyle Reed, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “We look forward to working together toward a smooth transition.”


Six pre-med students gain peace of mind through early acceptance

A group of six Drury pre-med students received some good news this fall about their future. They already know they’re accepted into the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, thanks to a longstanding program that fast-tracks outstanding students who know they want to be physicians.


Drury’s Pre-Medical Scholars Program is a set of partnerships with five universities throughout Missouri that offers undergraduate students a chance to be pre-accepted into medical school, typically at the beginning of their junior year.

Besides Saint Louis University, the other four medical schools are Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the University of Missouri School of Medicine. Altogether there are about a dozen Drury students currently pre-accepted to one of these schools with additional students awaiting decisions for this year’s pre-acceptance interviews.

The newest group headed to SLU is something of a bumper crop.

“This is the first time in the last 10 years that we’ve had so many students accepted into one pre-acceptance program in one year,” said Dr. Mark Wood[cq], a chemistry professor and head of Drury’s pre-health sciences program.

The six students – Kayla Whorton, Trey Hufham, Joshua Kimrey, Alex Flanagan, Kerri Raleigh and Breanna Stirewalt – are all undergraduates double majoring in some combination of biochemistry, biology or chemistry.

Each was required to have an ACT score of at least 30, maintain a 3.5 GPA throughout their undergraduate career, complete at least 135 hours of professional shadowing and ace an interview. In return, they will have no minimum MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) score requirement and don’t have to go through a series of grueling interviews at multiple medical schools.

“It’s a huge stress relief. Instead of spending $2,000-$3,000 on an MCAT prep program we get to save all that money,” says Kimrey, a junior who is actually triple majoring in biology, chemistry and philosophy. “And instead of spending 40 hours a week studying for that test, we can focus on our classes. It means the world.”

While each medical school has its own set of requirements for early acceptance, all are geared toward students who have demonstrated an early interest in going to medical school.

Senior Alex Flanagan said having “a lot of volunteer work in a variety of settings,” was a great help in the application and interview process.

“Getting into these medical school programs now requires more than just a GPA,” Wood said. “That is still a part of it, but it’s becoming a smaller one. What they’re looking for now is, ‘Have you done extensive shadowing? Have you done volunteer work that demonstrates that you care for other human beings?’ Yeah, they can do the academics, but what medical schools are really concerned with is if students truly want to do these jobs.”

To that end, Drury has a popular program that allows pre-health sciences students to volunteer and shadow doctors and other medical professionals at Jordan Valley Community Health Center.

The extra piece of mind and free time these students now have will allow them more opportunities to focus on the present during a pivotal time in their lives.

“You get to focus a lot more on enjoying learning rather than making yourself look good on paper,” said Hufham. 

Story by Chaniqua Crook, student writer in Drury’s marketing and communication department.

Drury Winter Commencement cancelled due to winter weather alert

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 13, 2013 – Due to a severe winter weather alert, the 2014 Drury University Winter Commencement at the O’Reilly Family Event Center, scheduled for 10:00 AM on Saturday, December 14, 2013 has been rescheduled for a later date.  All graduates and their families will be notified of alternate arrangements and timing as soon as they are finalized.  We apologize for any inconveniences this may have created and we wish everyone a safe and happy Holiday Season.


Happy Holidays from Drury University

Drury University names new Media Relations Director

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 10, 2013 – Mike Brothers has accepted the position of Media Relations Director for Drury University. Brothers will replace Mark Miller who left in October.

Brothers served as the public health information officer for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department for two years. Prior to that, he worked for the City of Springfield as well as the Springfield News-Leader. Brothers is a native of Hannibal, Mo. and a graduate of Missouri State University.

“Mike has worked extensively with Springfield leadership,” says David Manuel, Drury president. “His commitment to professionalism, coupled with his background in strategic communications will make him a highly valued asset at Drury.”

Brothers will begin serving as Drury’s Media Relations Director on Mon., Dec. 16.


Supreme Court of Missouri Chief Justice to speak at Drury’s December commencement ceremony

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 5, 2013 – Supreme Court of Missouri Chief Justice Mary R. Russell will serve as the keynote speaker for Drury University’s December commencement to be held Saturday, December 14 at 10 a.m. in the O’Reilly Family Event Center. During the commencement, 336 students will receive undergraduate degrees and 71 will receive master’s degrees.

Serving as chief justice since July, Russell was appointed to the Supreme Court of Missouri in 2004. She previously served on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, and served as its chief judge from July 1999 through June2000. Prior to that, she was engaged in the private practice of law in Hannibal, Missouri. She is a member of The Missouri Bar, the American Bar Association, and numerous local and county bar organizations throughout thestate. Russell is a past recipient of the Women’s Justice Award from the St. Louis Daily Record, was named Citizen of the Year in Kirksville, Missouri, in 2002 and was named Woman of the Year by the Women Lawyers Association of St. Louis in 2003.

“Drury University is very pleased to host Chief Justice Russell at the 2013 WinterCommencement,” says Dr. David Manuel, Drury president. “Our graduates will have a wonderful opportunity to hear from one of the great leaders of Missouri.  She epitomizes the qualities that we hope all Drury graduates will emulate – outstanding professional contributions, abiding commitment to her family and faith, and a singular dedication to her community.”

A seventh-generation Missourian, Russell was one of five children raised on a dairy farm in Ralls County, Missouri. The valedictorian of her high school graduating class in Hannibal, Russell earned bachelor’s degrees, summa cum laude, in communications and print media in 1980 fromTruman State University. She earned her law degree in 1983 from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she was on the dean’s list.

Media: Members of the news media are invited to photograph or videotape the graduation. In addition, Chief Justice Russell will be available for interviews following the commencement ceremony given advance notice.


Day School: John Taylor, (417) 873-6356, jtaylor3@drury.edu

CCPS: Salia Manis, (417) 873-7543, smanis@drury.edu