Drury professor named Springfield Regional Opera music director

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 25, 2015 — Dr. Christopher Koch has been appointed Music Director of the Springfield Regional Opera.

Koch is an associate professor of music and director of the Orchestra and Wind Symphony at Drury. As music director of the Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra, Koch is a longtime champion of orchestral music and the arts throughout southwest Missouri. The nationally recognized SDCO has been the area’s regional community orchestra for more than a decade.

Koch mug

“We’re delighted Dr. Koch is joining our organization, and this is just the first step in an exciting restructure and revitalization of the SRO,” says Cindy Curtis, president of the organization’s board of directors.

Koch will continue his work at Drury and with the SDCO as he assumes new duties with the Opera.

The Springfield Regional Opera will collaborate with Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra in a gala Evening at the Opera to be held at Drury’s Clara Thompson Hall at on Saturday, October 3. The event will celebrate the SRO’s 35th season and will feature many of the company’s past and present stars, both local and international.


Media Contact: Dr. Christopher Koch, Associate Professor of Music: (417) 873-7298 or

Drury appoints faculty members to new academic leadership roles

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 23, 2015 — Drury University has appointed six faculty members to new leadership roles on campus.

“These talented faculty members understand Drury’s culture and are exceptional teachers and scholars,” said Peter Meidlinger, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. “They are well suited to lead our campus community as we continue to sharpen the distinctiveness of our academic programs.”

Charles DeBerry

Charles DeBerry

Dr. Charles DeBerry has been named director of the Drury University Debate Union and Dr. Craig Titus has been named assistant director. DeBerry is professor of communication; Titus is an assistant professor of philosophy and English. The Debate Union returns to Drury after a long hiatus. The university envisions a strong on-campus and competitive program, high school tournaments and summer camps, as well as academic connections that emphasize public speaking, argumentation and collaborative work.

William Garvin

William Garvin

William W. Garvin has been named the director of the Olin Library. Garvin has been the University Archivist since 1992. During that time, Garvin has established himself as an expert on the history of Drury College/Drury University. An exceptional storyteller, Garvin has written several essays and given many public talks on the personalities, conflicts, and visions that have animated life on campus from its inception. Garvin has led the library on an interim basis for the past year, and will continue to guide Olin as an invaluable resource for students and faculty.

Erin Kenny

Erin Kenny

Dr. Erin Kenny has been named the inaugural director of the Teaching and Learning Center, where she will lead a campus-wide effort to make excellence in teaching a distinctive feature of a Drury education. An associate professor of anthropology, Kenny has earned a reputation as a successful and innovative teacher committed to global and engaged learning. A two-time Fulbright Scholar, she has had a wide range of valuable experiences working with students and faculty in campus-wide programs, including her leadership in Women & Gender Studies and Middle Eastern Studies.

Raymond Patton

Raymond Patton

Dr. Raymond Patton has been named director of the Core Curriculum, Drury’s general education program focused on global learning and student engagement. An assistant professor of history since 2011, Patton has been actively involved in designing, implementing, and assessing the Core Curriculum in addition to teaching Core classes with a focus on immersive learning experiences. In his role as director, Patton will work to make the Core a distinctive element of a liberal arts education at Drury.

Richard Schur

Richard Schur

Dr. Richard Schur, Professor of English, has been named director of the Drury Honors Program. The Honors Program offers students an intense academic experience through hands-on and student-directed approach to learning. As director, Schur brings a wide range of scholarly and teaching interests to this work. He has published widely on African-American literature and culture, and has served in leadership roles in the Interdisciplinary Studies Center and the Law & Society program. His work will make the honors program even more attractive to students who not only excel in academics but who are curious, ambitious and independent.


Gaither Vocal Band coming to O’Reilly Family Event Center Sept. 11

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 18, 2015 — The Gaither Vocal Band will perform live in concert at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on Friday, September 11, 2015. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 7 p.m. The show will include a special patriotic 9/11 tribute.

Tickets start at $23 and go on sale starting at 10 a.m., Monday, June 22 at or by calling (417) 873-6389. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the OFEC box office, which is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Gaither Vocal Band web

For more than a quarter century, the Gaither Vocal Band has created a legacy of award-winning excellence in the gospel genre. The list of men who have comprised the Gaither Vocal Band over the years reads like a “Who’s Who” among the industry’s best-loved voices. The current lineup includes Wes Hampton, David Phelps and Adam Crabb as well as Gaither himself, who has led the group out of his personal passion for great harmony and a genuine desire to bring meaningful music to a hurting world. Special guests will include Todd Suttles, Jeff and Sheri Easter, Karen Peck and New River, Reggie and Ladye Love Smith, Charlotte Ritchie and Gene McDonald.

For more information about the group, visit:


Summer camps for gifted students now underway at Drury University

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 17, 2015 — Gifted young students from across the area are keeping their minds in shape over the summer break during camps organized by Drury University’s Center for Gifted Education, in partnership with Springfield Public Schools.

Drury provides a summer experience for gifted students of all ages, from pre-K through the 11th grade. The younger age groups are in camps right now, and the older students’ camps will take place in July. Each summer, more than 700 total students attend these camps.

The current camps (called Summer Pals for ages pre-K through grade 1, and Summer Quest for grades 2 through 5) are taking place from each weekday 8:15 to 11:30 a.m. at Phelps Center for the Gifted, 934 S. Kimbrough Ave. now through Friday, June 26. The hands-on, activity-oriented courses feature an array of interesting experiences geared specifically toward gifted students. Summer Quest and Summer Pals give students a chance to interact with peers of similar academic abilities and interests, while encouraging them to use their intellectual and creative sides.

     VIDEO: Gifted Education Students Convene for Summer Camps

“It gives them a sense of self and a sense of community,” says Mary Potthoff, Director of the Center for Gifted Education at Drury. “And it builds on what they’ve learned in the classroom during the school year, keeping their minds engaged during the summer break.”

Drury has been a national leader in providing education and enrichment programs for academically gifted students more than 30 years. The Drury Center for Gifted Education is the most complete center for gifted education in the state of Missouri, and is one of less than 20 complete gifted education centers in the United States. Visit Drury Gifted Education for more information.

Media are invited to cover the Summer Quest and Summer Pals camps. Opportunities for coverage are available each day of the camps, including classes on robotics, dinosaurs, veterinarians, astronauts and much more. 


Drury student receives Stemler Study Abroad Scholarship

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 16, 2015 — Drury student Masha Podokshik has received a $1,000 James G. Stemler Study Abroad Scholarship from the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society. Podokshik, a junior communication major from St. Louis, is Drury’s first Alpha Lambda Delta scholarship recipient. She will be studying in Spain during the spring 2016 semester.

Alpha Lambda Delta is a national honor society that recognizes and encourages academic excellence among first-year students. Founded in 1924, the society has inducted more than 1 million members in its 90-year history.


Drury University is committed to global learning and engagement. One in ten Drury undergraduates hails from outside the United States, and nearly 50 percent of undergraduate and graduate students study abroad. This summer, students are studying in China, Mexico, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the Drury Center in Aigina, Greece.

“The complementary nature of having so many American students returning from study abroad opportunities and being part of a truly international campus creates a multicultural learning environment,” says Drury President Dr. David Manuel.


Drury to host Flag Day ceremony Thursday

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 10, 2015 — Drury University will host a Flag Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Armed Forces Plaza outside of the O’Reilly Family Event Center. The event is free and open to the public.

The local chapters of the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution will join Drury for this celebration of our nation’s colors. Sons of the American Revolution member J. Howard Fisk will present a special recognition from that group, and members of the Daughters of the American Revolution will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem. Aaron Jones, Dean of the College of Continuing Professional Studies, will also give remarks. Cake and refreshments will be available following the ceremony.

Officially celebrated on June 14, National Flag Day was established by Congress in 1949 to commemorate the day the flag of the United States was adopted by the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

Drury’s tradition of serving those who have served our country dates to the days following World War II, when buses brought soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood to classes held on the Springfield campus. Today, one of Drury’s 11 branch locations is at Fort Leonard Wood.

The commitment continues today, as Drury has been named a “Military Friendly School” by Victory Media and was ranked No. 3 in the Midwest on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges for Veterans” list. Drury is also a supporter school of the Order of the Purple Heart. Drury supports federal initiatives that help veterans and active-duty service members apply for, pay for and complete their degrees and has designated staff to help coordinate these services.


Successful “531 Challenge” caps off annual giving of more than $940,000

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 9, 2015 — Drury University’s second annual “531 Challenge” fundraising campaign exceeded its participation goal with 615 total donors, a 5 percent increase over last year.

The 531 Challenge began in April with the goal of 531 donors giving at any level before the last day of May – 5/31 on the calendar. Drury alumnus and Trustee Bill Vaughan and his wife Kathy committed to a challenge gift of $20,000 if the participation goal was met. In all, the challenge raised more than $180,700.

The challenge wrapped up a successful year at Drury, with over $940,000 raised for the Drury Fund supporting all areas of the student experience, including academic needs and scholarships.

Bill Vaughan

Bill Vaughan

“The response to this year’s challenge was a new level of commitment from our alumni and friends in support of our students and faculty who create a high quality liberal arts and pre-professional education community,” said Dianne Johnson, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations. “This event asked for participation rather than a specific dollar amount, and we know that our alumni care deeply about supporting the experiences of current and future Drury students.”

“The commitment and support of Drury alumni is essential for the university’s continued success,” said Drury president Dr. David Manuel. “We are grateful for the example set by Bill and Kathy Vaughan, and for the generosity of all of those who contributed to the 531 Challenge this year.”


Media Contact: Andrea Battaglia, Director of Annual Giving. Office: (417) 873-7353, or email:

Drury will host national home school debate tournament in 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 3, 2015 — The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau announced today that Stoa, a speech and debate organization for Christian homeschooling families, selected Springfield for its 2016 National Invitational Tournament of Champions.

The event is expected to bring about 3,000 high school and junior high students, parents, coaches and spectators to the city May 20-28, 2016, said Mark Russell, president elect of Stoa. The championships will take place on the Drury University campus.

The CVB expects the city to be bustling with families staying at hotels, shopping, dining and visiting attractions when they’re not busy at the tournament. The CVB estimates spending of about $125 per person per day.

Russell said Springfield was a natural choice for the annual tournament, which rotates to the east, west and central parts of the country.

“Springfield truly has a strong reputation with homeschoolers with the National Christian Homeschool basketball tournament,” Russell said.

That tournament brings more than 8,000 people to the city and is the largest annual group event in Springfield. The city also hosts the National Christian Homeschool Spring Basketball Nationals, Fall Basketball Nationals, Fall Volleyball Nationals and Fall Tip-Off Basketball Tournament.

“This is a great event for Springfield made possible by the collaboration and cooperation of Drury University – a key in Stoa’s selection process,” said Tracy Kimberlin, president/CEO of the CVB.

“Drury is extremely pleased to play host to the 2016 Stoa national tournament,” said Rob Fridge, Drury’s chief financial officer. “We’re excited to help bring this group of high-achieving students and their families to Springfield, and we expect nearly every room on our campus to be bustling with activity over the course of eight days next spring.”


Kids Fest event connects community with area nonprofit agencies

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 1, 2015 — Kids and families won’t want to miss Springfield Kids Fest from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 13 at Jordan Valley Park. The event is sponsored by Drury University and North Point Church.

The day is designed to help parents and families learn about local nonprofits, community service organizations, faith-based groups and government agencies. The event will include free food and drinks, dozens of kid-friendly games and activities, inflatables, live music, and more. More than 50 local agencies will be represented, including the Springfield-Greene County Library Center mobile unit and the Pregnancy Care Center mobile unit. CoxHealth will provide free vision and health screenings.

“This is a great opportunity for the community to have a free and fun outing, and to learn about all the groups in the area that provide help to those in need,” says Dan Prater, director of Drury’s Center for Nonprofit Communication, which is co-organizing the event. “It’s going to be a great family-friendly day with all the activities we have planned.”

Food and drinks will be available starting at 11 a.m. The first 500 kids will receive a free swimsuit, towel and city pool pass.


Media Contact: Dan Prater – Director, Center for Nonprofit Communication. Office: (417) 873-7443. Email:

Second annual ‘531 Challenge’ fundraiser enters final stretch

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 26, 2015 — Drury University’s second annual “531 Challenge” fundraising campaign is entering its final week. The campaign’s goal is for at least 531 individual donors give to Drury in some capacity during a six-week period that ends on the final day of May, or 5/31.

The campaign is focused on participation rather than a specific dollar amount, which is reflected in this year’s theme, “Every Donor Matters.” If the participation goal is met by May 31, alumnus and Trustee Bill Vaughan ’74, and his wife Kathy, will contribute an additional $20,000 to build academic success, support student engagement, and provide student scholarships.

“During our inaugural 531 Challenge last year, donors contributed more than $623,000 to the Drury Annual Fund,” says Dianne Johnson, vice president for development and alumni relations. “But more important, we exceeded our participation goal. More than half of those who gave were alumni – but the total also included current students, parents, corporate donors, faculty, staff and friends of the university. The challenge demonstrated the power of community here at Drury.”

VIDEO: Drury Needs Your Help in the 531 Challenge!

The Drury Annual Fund is made possible through thousands of valuable gifts – of all sizes – from that community. It is a vital source of funding that provides flexibility to cover the most needed expenses to support the entire institution and improve the student experience today and in the future.

For more information on giving, visit