Drury is 8th in the Midwest 2015 U.S. News & World Report rankings

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 9, 2014 —U.S. News & World Report has once again ranked Drury among the Midwest’s top colleges and universities for both quality and value in its “Best Colleges 2015” publication, released today.

Drury is ranked No. 8 in the Midwest in the U.S. News “Best Regional Universities” list. This is the same position Drury held last year, after jumping up from No. 11 the prior year. Drury earned outstanding marks for its small class sizes, with the highest percentage of classes under 20 students (71 percent) and the lowest student-to-faculty ratio on the list. Drury is the highest-ranked university in the state of Missouri on this year’s list.

Additionally, Drury is ranked No. 1 in the Midwest on the U.S. News “Great Schools, Great Prices” list and is ranked No. 3 on its 2015 “Best Colleges for Veterans” list.

The rankings can be viewed online at www.usnews.com/colleges.

“To be highly ranked by your peers and confirmed by independent data is gratifying and affirming,” says Drury President Dr. David Manuel. “It’s especially gratifying to be on top of the ‘Great Schools, Great Prices’ list and to be recognized for the incredible value of a Drury degree. The accomplishments of our faculty and the career outcomes of our graduates reflect the value that Drury delivers.”

The U.S. News ranking comes on the heels of Drury’s selection in August as a “Best in the Midwest” college by the Princeton Review.

About the Rankings

U.S News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” rankings include nearly 1,400 schools nationwide, and are designed to give a quick comparison of the relative quality of institutions based on such widely accepted indicators of excellence as freshman retention and graduation rates and the strength of the faculty. The ranking system uses quantitative measures that education experts have proposed as reliable indicators of academic quality, as well as the publication’s own researched view of what matters in education.

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Students find valuable internship experience in Washington, D.C.

Drury University’s partnership with a Washington, D.C., organization has been giving students the chance to complete high-profile internships for decades.

The Washington Center allows undergrads to live in the nation’s capital, gain professional work experience and receive class credit to stay on track for graduation. Drury has been working with The Washington Center for about 30 years and typically sends three or four students a year.

Dr. Dan Ponder, professor of political science and Drury liaison for The Washington Center, encourages all majors to consider this program.

“Students coming from a liberal arts school like Drury have great critical thinking skills, the ability to adapt, and are sensitive to the world outside their major,” Ponder says. “That serves them well for their internship. Whether you’re in theater, business, communications, political science, etc., you will be matched at an internship site that works for you and you’ll get an invaluable experience from working in a city like D.C.”

In the past, students have interned with lobbying firms, finance companies, the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, nonprofits in the area, and more. Others have worked directly with members of Congress.

Students interested in The Washington Center submit an application, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and receive approval from the university’s program liaison. Students also submit an interest form to the Center, which is used to match them with potential internship sites in D.C. During the fall and spring semesters, students pay Drury tuition, housing costs, and an administrative fee, but all scholarships and loans still apply. Students room with other undergrads at the Center who come from colleges across the country.

Mai Baldwin, a senior international political studies and French major, spent Spring 2014 at the Washington Center and interned with the Wilson Center. She extended her D.C. stay and interned at the Aspen Institute over the summer.

Mai Baldwin

Mai Baldwin

During the spring, Baldwin was enrolled in 12 upper division hours through Drury. She also attended academic and leadership seminars during her stay.

Baldwin, who hopes to attend law school after graduation, focused on students’ access to higher education during her time at the Center. She even brought back a workshop to Drury that helps students study for the LSAT free of charge, a concept modeled off a nonprofit in D.C.

“After the spring, I ended up with a summer job offer because of my work during the semester,” Baldwin says. “It really shows that if you’re diligent, put yourself out there and meet new people, opportunities will come. I had a lot of personal development from being outside of my comfort zone and it gave me a different perspective of the world.”

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Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, English and Writing major at Drury.

Country singer Chris Young comes to OFEC on Nov. 22

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 2, 2014 —The O’Reilly Family Event Center and KTTS are pleased to announce country singer Chris Young, along with openers Lindsay Ell and the Mark Chapman Band, will perform at the venue on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014.

Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m., Friday, Sept. 5 and will cost $39.50 each. Tickets are available online at www.drurytickets.com or by calling the OFEC box office at (417) 873-6389. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

The Grammy-nominated Tennessee native has just released a brand new single titled “Lonely Eyes.” It’s the third single from his latest album, “A.M.” and follows Young’s sixth No. 1 single, “Who I Am With You.” Young has had a string of other No. 1 singles since 2009, including “You,” “Tomorrow,” “Voices,” and “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song).” His last two albums have each cracked the Top 5 of the Billboard Top 200 chart.

Chris Young

Young has toured with Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley, and was chosen by George Straight to open selected dates on the country legend’s “Cowboy Rides Away” farewell tour.

For more information about Young, visit: www.chrisyoungcountry.com. For more information about Lindsay Ell, visit: http://lindsayell.com.

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Freshman CORE class builds a “Little Free Library”

One Drury freshman class is plunging into the grassroots, community sharing network that has inspired Springfield and cities across the world to start their own Little Free Library.

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that started in 2010 and has since grown to become an international movement. It embraces the “take a book, leave a book,” motto in hopes of promoting literacy and the joy of reading.

Simply put, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where local residents may stop by and pick up a book or share one with their community. Most look something like a large birdhouse that can hold anywhere between 25-100 books at a time. They are hand-made and are often feature colorful paint jobs or other playful visual flair.

In January 2014, there were an estimated 15,000 registered Little Free Libraries in the world, with thousands more being built. Springfield already has eight locations. Maps and photos can be found online at Littlefreelibrary.org.

Professor Jo Van Arkel, chair of the Drury English department, was inspired to create a Little Free Library with her freshman CORE class. CORE classes are required courses that give students an introduction to the college experience through a variety of topics. Van Arkel hopes people in the community will develop a sense of ownership and contribute to the library after its installation in late October.

“Libraries are in transition,” said Van Arkel, “but they still serve an essential role in building communities, promoting literacy and preserving the free exchange of ideas that we expect in a democratic society.”

Little Free Library build

Students in Van Arkel’s class broke up into three groups and share a responsibility in the installation of the library. Students built the library from a kit, conducted a demographic study of the neighborhood where it would be placed, and brainstormed different ideas of what types of books the library should hold.

The library will be located on Scott Streetwithin walking distance of Pipkin Middle School, Central High School, and St. Joseph Catholic Academy. It will hold between 25 and 30 books, and the classhopes to put young adult and youth novels in the library, as well as classic literature and non-fiction. Anyone wishing to donate can contact Van Arkel at jvanarke@drury.edu.

Like most other Little Libraries, it was built to be weather resistant and will be at an easily accessible location to attract a wide variety of people.

The class’s next step is to collect book donations. Collection bins will be placed in three locations: outside Dr.Van Arkel’s office on the 3rd floor of Pearsons, outside of Kathy Jester’s office on the 2nd floor of Pearsons, and inside the Olin Library, which will also display the recently constructed Library.

Little Free Library group

Van Arkel hopes that her students will continue checking in with the Library throughout their four years at Drury and that the English honors society can get involved with the project in the future.

“Some of my earliest and happiest memories as a child were of going to the library and bringing home a pile of books. Books were magical to me then and they still are now,” said Van Arkel. “The Little Free Library is a simple concept that captures some of that spirit — it invites curiosity and at the same time encourages the kind of generosity that comes with sharing.”

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Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, English and Writing major at Drury. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.

Juried exhibit of graduate students’ artwork held in September

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Aug. 27, 2014 — Work by graduate students from Drury’s Summer Institute for Visual Arts will be exhibited during September at the Drury on C-Street Gallery, 233 E. Commercial Street.

The exhibit is titled  “Social Selves” and was juried by Greg Booker, assistant professor of art and art history at DU. The show opens with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 5, with refreshments and live music provided. Viewing hours at the gallery after the opening reception will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on two Saturdays (Sept. 13 and 20) through September 25.

“Social Selves” will feature work by the following students: Erin Volker (video), Holly Goodwin (painting), Rebekah Polly (painting), Denise Bolt (ceramics), Justin Gault (painting), Sherry Iott (mixed media), Betty Parnell (painting), Jiyoon Kim (sculpture), Jennifer Rice (photography), Sarah Jones (fiber), Jessica Frelund (video), and James Walley (ceramics). A photo of “Syncopy” by Rebekah Polly is attached.

For more information, call (417) 873-6359 or visit Drury on C-Street’s Facebook page at  www.facebook.com/DruryCStreet.

About SIVA

Since 2007, SIVA has offered students an opportunity to earn a Master of Arts degree by working alongside visiting artists in a critically driven environment. Participants study under the guidance of visiting artist fellows, faculty and staff, who provide first-hand understanding of contemporary art issues. The program – a unique model in the Midwest – allows students to earn a Master of Arts in Studio Art and Theory over the course of three two-month summer sessions. For more information, go to www.drury.edu/SIVA.

About Drury on C-Street

The Drury on C-Street Project is an initiative by Drury University, in partnership with other local organizations, to establish a Drury Center on Commercial Street. This center includes an art gallery, a business resource center, space for weaving looms, architecture classroom, and a multi-use area for additional classes and seminars. The Drury on C-Street Gallery is a professional, student-run gallery featuring emerging and established artists. The Gallery aims to inspire and enrich the community through a diverse, quality experience; and strives to create and maintain strong local partnerships.

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Students settle in with dinner at faculty homes

Drury’s four-day new student orientation includes moving into residence halls, keynote speakers, fun competitive games, a day of volunteer service, and even a huge fireworks show the night before classes begin.

It’s an intense introduction. But there are relaxing moments, too. One of the unique aspects of this annual tradition is the Sunday evening dinner and dessert with faculty. Groups of students gather at faculty homes and in some campus locations for food and conversation. It’s moment of personal connection in a time of transition.

New students relax and converse following the annual faculty dinner and dessert, held at various sites on campus and in professor’s nearby homes. PHOTO: Aaron Scott

New students relax and converse following the annual faculty dinner and dessert, held at various sites on campus and in professor’s nearby homes. PHOTO: Aaron Scott

“It was really interesting – it was very casual,” says freshman Trevor Cobb, who is from Springfield. “At a larger university, you wouldn’t necessarily have that kind of close relationship with the teachers.”

Conversations ranged from music and movies to what students should expect once they dig into their coursework. Dr. Charles Taylor, Drury’s vice president for academic affairs and a professor of communication, hosted Cobb’s group. Each group is actually a required class, called CORE 101, which brings new students into the college experience by way of various cultural topics.

“The faculty dinner and dessert experience underscores the inclusive, personalized and supportive environment that defines the Drury community,” says Taylor, whose CORE class is titled Politics of Rock and Roll.

Dr. Charles Taylor, left, talks to incoming freshman during the annual faculty dinner and dessert. PHOTO: Aaron Scott

Dr. Charles Taylor, left, talks to incoming freshman during the annual faculty dinner and dessert. PHOTO: Aaron Scott

Megan Henson, a freshman elementary and secondary education major, appreciated the dinner as a great way to get to know her new peers.

“We played outdoor games and just relaxed,” she says. “Truly an awesome time. Drury did a fantastic job of welcoming us and integrating us into the Drury community.”

The personal touch provided by the dinners was important to Vikas Jagwani when he was a new student. Now the junior seeking a bachelor’s degree in accounting is an orientation leader who helped guide the four-day experience.

“It’s always a great way to introduce you to professors that are you taking a class from now, or potentially in the future,” Jagwani says. “This could have not been possible if Drury was a huge school, but the ability to have this opportunity during orientation – that is what makes Drury different.

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Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.

Ceremony will honor $1 million donation from the late David Lewis

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Aug. 25, 2014 —A bust of the late David Lewis will be unveiled tomorrow on the Drury campus to honor Lewis’ significant monetary donation to the University. Mr. Lewis was an ordinary man whose extraordinary donation created a scholarship endowment for Drury students from Stone and Taney counties.

A short ceremony and unveiling will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 26 at Bay Hall. Bay Hall is located at Central Street and Drury Lane. Parking for media is available along Drury Lane and Burnham Circle, or in Parking Lot 1. (Campus map)

Lewis’s gift to Drury totals more than $1.15 million, and is the seventh $1 million-plus scholarship endowment to be entrusted to Drury University in its 141-year history. There are currently four students at Drury who receive the Lewis Scholarship.

david d lewis

About David Lewis

David Dean Lewis came from humble Ozarks beginnings. He was born in 1933 in Rockaway Beach and died in the Lewis family home near Lake Taneycomo in 2009. Lewis graduated from high school at the age of 16, attended Drury College on a scholarship, and joined the U.S. Army after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in physical education in 1953.

Lewis was not a CEO, nor did he inherit large wealth. He earned his money working at Sears in Springfield for nearly 40 years, farming and raising cattle on the family homestead, and by investing and saving wisely.

Through his frugal living, he was able to posthumously leave more than $1 million each to three southwest Missouri colleges to fund scholarships to help students from the area where he grew up achieve their own educational goals. His family’s real estate, which borders pristine Bull Creek, was donated to the Missouri Department of Conservation to be enjoyed by future generations for hiking, fishing and hunting.

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Outstanding Drury faculty & students recognized at opening convocation

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Aug. 21, 2014 — Drury University recognized outstanding faculty and second year students at the 2014 Matriculation Convocation this morning. The event served as the formal opening ceremony for the Drury’s 141st academic year, with an address from the president and the raising of the Class of 2018 flag.

President David Manuel told the first-year students in attendance that the journey to career success is a long one, and likened Drury to a base camp where they’ll begin their ascent.

“The liberation of your thinking is fundamental to your ultimate success as you reach the summit,” he said, “and the faculty are here to help you on your way.”

A student and faculty committee selects recipients of the Faculty Awards. The committee receives nominations from students, faculty, administrators and alumni. Each of the honorees is recognized for challenging, engaging and inspiring students both inside and outside the classroom.

  • Faculty Award for Teaching – Daniel Ponder, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science
  • Faculty Award for Scholarship – Madhuri Manpadi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Faculty Award for Leadership – Kevin Jansen, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology
  • Faculty Award for Liberal Learning – Raymond Patton, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History & Modern European Studies Director
  • Faculty Awards for Advising – Leah Blakey, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History and Wesley Rowley, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology

In addition, the Judge Warren White Scholars were honored at the Matriculation Convocation. Each honoree will receive a $275 scholarship. These are the students with the highest grade point averages after completion of their first year at Drury. Warren White graduated from Drury in 1904, and served as a Greene County circuit court judge for 36 years.

The 2014-2015 Judge Warren L. White Scholars, now entering their sophomore year, are:

  • Ashley S. Hesterberg – Nixa, Missouri
  • Corey Burton Marquardt ­– Springfield, Missouri
  • Fahad Paler Alkhaldi – Las Pinas City, Philippines
  • Lara Sophia Muller – Marklohe, Germany
  • Laura Alexandra Spraggins – Camdenton, Missouri
  • Nicholette Mae Andersen – Walnut Grove, Missouri
  • Olivia Rose Willoughby – Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
  • Trent Witten Ledbetter – Camdenton, Missouri
  • Trey Weston Hufham – Rogersville, Missouri
  • Seth Adu Amankrah – Doha, Quatar
  • Swapnaneel Nath – West Bengal, India
  • Yuchen Kang – Bejing, China

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Drury named a “Best In the Midwest” college by Princeton Review

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Aug. 21, 2014 —Drury University has once again been named one of the best colleges in the Midwest by The Princeton Review. The education services company included Drury in its online listing for “2015 Best Colleges: Region by Region.”

In its profile on Drury, The Princeton Review commends the school for its small class sizes, academic rigor, the individualized mentorship students receive from professors, and the fact that more than half of undergraduate students study abroad.

The Princeton Review editors narrowed their choices based on institutional data collected directly from colleges in each region, staff visits to schools over the years and the opinions of college counselors and advisors. Crucially, the selections also take into account what students at the schools report to The Princeton Review about their experiences in an 80-question survey.

“Only schools that permit us to independently survey their students are eligible to be considered for our regional ‘best’ lists,” says Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s Senior Vice President and Publisher.

“It is always powerful and gratifying when students are the ones touting what the University has to offer,” said Drury President Dr. David Manuel. “Small class sizes, the highest quality academic offerings and engaged learning are all recognized by our students as key to their success.”

The Princeton Review asks students to rate their schools on several issues – from the accessibility of their professors to the quality of their science lab facilities – and answer questions about themselves, their fellow students and their campus life. Comments from surveyed students are quoted in the school profiles on The Princeton Review site. Students remarked that Drury “has the mission to give students the opportunity to fight for what they believe in, but to understand the views of others as well;” and “the relationships I’ve developed with my professors are just as important to me as the relationships I’ve developed with my peers.”

The “Best Colleges: Region by Region” lists are designed to offer guidance to the growing number of prospective college students and parents seeking colleges closer to home, with an emphasis on academic excellence, Franek says. The Princeton Review does not rank the colleges in its “Region by Region” list hierarchically or in various categories. The 648 colleges named in the North, South, Midwest and West regions constitute about 25 percent of the nation’s 2,500 four-year colleges.

The Princeton Review is an education services company known for its test-prep courses, tutoring, books, and other student resources. The Company is not affiliated with Princeton University and it is not a magazine. The Princeton Review is headquartered in Natick, MA.  For more information, visit www.princetonreview.com and www.facebook.com/ThePrincetonReview.

Media Contacts for The Princeton Review: Kristen O’Toole, The Princeton Review, (888) 347-7737, ext. 1405 and kotoole@review.com; or Jeanne Krier, Princeton Review Books, (212) 539-1350.

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Emergency Management degree prepares students for the field

For years, emergency management was a field in which people primarily learned “on the job.” But that’s changing.

Drury University’s College of Continuing Professional Studies now offers a bachelor’s degree in emergency management, giving students a formal education in the field. Emergency management is the art and science of preparing for, responding to and recovering from high impact events that cause a significant amount of deaths, injuries or property damage.

Ryan Nicholls is an instructor in the program. He was the longtime Director of Emergency Management for Springfield-Greene County until earlier this year.

“Emergency Management is growing as events are on the rise, costs are on the rise, people living in hazardous areas are on the rise,” Nicholls says. “The benefit and cost value has been recognized in organized planning and response management to such events.”

One of the benefits of the program, which launched in the fall of 2013, is in-depth training that truly gives an overview of the proven, researched-based practices in the field. The program is fairly unique – Drury is one of the only colleges in Missouri offering such a degree.

Classes focus on subjects such as disaster planning and preparedness, response and recovery, grant writing, public information and leadership. The program is versatile enough to fit the needs of those in the field, as well as business owners, non-profit and hospital personnel, and even those in education and ministry who need to be prepared for emergencies. The mostly online program requires about 50 hours of coursework.

Erin Pope

Erin Pope

Erin Pope is currently enrolled. She began working for the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management two years ago, but is now working to obtain a degree in the field to advance her career.

“I feel this field is growing exponentially,” Pope says. “I am extremely pleased that Drury got involved and added this program to the many degrees they offer. It is a huge benefit to myself and anyone else who is on this career path.”

Nicholls agrees that the field shows no signs of slowing down. “The value is demonstrated after every disaster,” he says.

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 Story by Colombe Iyeza, intern with Drury’s marketing & communication office. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.