Philosophy student earns spot in selective summer program for women

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 11, 2015 — Drury University sophomore Cassie Atchley has been selected to take part in the Summer Program for Women in Philosophy at the University of California San Diego. The program is highly competitive – only 16 students were chosen from a pool of hundreds of applications from across the United States and Canada this year.

The two-week program will be held at UCSD from July 26 to August 8, and will feature two intensive courses and a variety of workshops, all geared towards providing an engaging philosophical learning experience and preparation for applying to graduate school in philosophy. Participants will receive a $600 stipend and all costs for transportation, housing, meals, and workshop materials are covered.

Cassie Atchley

Cassie Atchley

“I am grateful, and beyond excited, to have been selected to participate in UCSD’s Women in Philosophy program. I know that this opportunity will provide me with an invaluable experience, one that will be beneficial to me both as a philosopher and as a woman in academia,” says Atchley, who is majoring in both philosophy and writing. “I hope to improve my philosophical abilities and gain insight into what life in graduate school is like in order to be better prepared for my future endeavors. I am also looking forward to being surrounded by other women who possess a similar passion for philosophy.”

Following graduation in 2016, Atchley, who is from Springfield, plans to attend graduate school. Her primary interest is in analytic philosophy, but she plans to apply to universities that have law schools and philosophy programs in order to work towards both a law degree and Ph.D in philosophy.

“I hope one day to teach philosophy at a small university similar to Drury,” she says.


Dr. Will Keim will address graduates at Drury commencements Saturday

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 11, 2015 — Dr. Will Keim will be the keynote speaker for Drury University’s two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 16 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center. Keim will also receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for his work as a speaker and author.

The first ceremony, for Day School and graduate students, will be held at 11 a.m., when 265 undergraduate degrees and 29 graduate degrees will be conferred. The second ceremony, for the College of Continuing Professional Studies, will be held at 3 p.m., when more than 270 degrees will be conferred.

Dr. Keim received his BA and MA from the University of the Pacific and his Ph.D. from Oregon State University. He is founder of The Character Institute and president of Will Keim Speaks! Inc. He is a motiviational speaker and in-demand business consultant whose clients have included Microsoft, AT&T, IBM and Rotary International. He is also an author or contributing author of 11 books including Keys to Success in College and Life. Dr. Keim has spoken to over two million students on 1,000 college campuses in all 50 states.

Keim has been an integral part of Drury’s first-year student orientation program for more than a decade, providing inspiration and encouragement to incoming freshmen and talking with residence life staff about healthy lifestyle choices and the consequences associated with risky behavior.

“Dr. Keim continues to capture the excitement, anxieties and hopes of young students at they begin their transition into college in both an entertaining and informational manner,” says Dr. Tijuana Julian, Dean of Students.

Members of the news media are invited to photograph or videotape the graduation ceremonies. Please contact Media Relations Director Mike Brothers about coverage plans or for more information about 2015 graduates.


Lectures, juried prize cap academic year at Hammons School of Architecture

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 5, 2015 — This week the faculty and students of the Hammons School of Architecture mark the end of another outstanding academic year with special lectures and juries associated with the Librarium Prize. Now in its 15th year, the annual Librarium exhibition and competition recognizes exemplary design work by third-, fourth-, and fifth-year students at HSA.

The slate kicks off at 2:45 p.m. on Thursday with a lecture by HSA alumnus Marcus Farr ’99. Farr is the Director of Farr Projects, based in Boulder, Colorado – a progressive, entrepreneurial research and design studio that operates in the areas of ‪architecture, interior environments, digital fabrications and ‪material research.

At 4 p.m., a public jury will judge the thesis work of six 5th-year architecture students nominated for the Librarium Prize. In addition to Farr, jurors will include Librarium speaker Vincent James of Minneapolis and HSA alumnus Andrew Wells ’91, co-founder of Dake Wells Architecture in Springfield. The thesis project is the product of a year-long investigation of a topic selected by the student, informed by in-depth research in the fall semester, followed by design investigation, development and resolution in the spring.

The students whose work was nominated are Pema Wangzome, Alaa AlRadwan, Mikhail Digman, Juan Zorrilla, Eric Baldwin and Juan Trejo.

James will present a lecture at 1 p.m. on Friday, followed by the announcement of the Librarium Prize winners. James is the Principal of VJAA, a comprehensive studio that encompasses architectural design, environmentally sustainable design, adaptive reuse, historic renovation and preservation, and master planning. VJAA is the recipient of the 2012 American Institute of Architects Firm Award. He is currently Cass Gilbert Professor in Practice at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture.


Media Contact: Saundra Weddle, Professor of Architecture – (417) 873-7437 or

“Untold Stories: Celebrating the Career of Resa Willis” exhibition opens Friday

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 29, 2015 – The Drury on C-Street Gallery will open its May exhibition “Untold Stories: Celebrating the Writing and Publishing Career of Resa Willis” with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, May 1. The gallery is located at 233 E. Commercial St.

An accomplished biographer and literary scholar, Willis is a professor of English at Drury and the author of the acclaimed biography Mark and Livy and FDR and Lucy: Lovers and Friends. Willis will retire after 35 years at Drury. Selected readings by Willis as well as remarks by colleagues will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Resa Willis

Mark and Livy, the Love Story of Mark Twain and the Woman Who Almost Tamed Him, was nominated for a PEN Award for biography and is optioned for a film. FDR and Lucy: Lovers and Friends explores the 31-year intimate relationship of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lucy Mercer Rutherford. Originally published in hardcover, both biographies have been reissued in paperback and e-book formats. Her most recent publication, Farmer’s Daughter and I Can Prove It, is a lively reflection on growing up in the 1950s and 60s on an Iowa farm. Farmer’s Daughter is available on Amazon as an e-book for download.

The exhibition will run through May 14. Gallery viewing hours after the opening reception will be 1 to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays.

For more information, call (417) 873-6359 or visit Drury on C-Street’s Facebook page at

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. Drury University’s Drury on C-Street Gallery provides arts administration majors the experience of promoting the work of local artists. The gallery connects the community to new and relevant art in an accessible and welcoming environment.


International students strengthen friendships with annual ‘Food Fest’

International students at Drury University recently had a chance to proudly share a taste – literally – of their home cultures with their American peers.

The International Food Festival is an annual event organized by the International Student Association. With a formal “black and white” theme this year, the dinner was a chance to get dressed up, have fun on a Saturday night and amplify the type of cultural exchange that happens daily on campus.

Despite the name, the event is about more than food. There were performances of traditional songs, music and dances, as well as a few just-for-fun performances of American songs. The highlight of the evening is the “Parade of Flags” in which students carry the colors of their homelands through the banquet hall – beaming with pride as they do so.

Food Fest

“Everything was made by international students, from the food to the traditional clothing,” says Yousra Alaoui-Sosse, a sophomore biology major from Morocco.

Brandon Roellig, a junior from mid-Missouri, is friends with many foreign students who are fellow architecture majors or fraternity brothers. He attended the dinner to support his friends and jumped at the chance to try food from their home countries.

“Drury would not be the same without the internationals, I know that much,” Roellig says. “We (Americans) really connect with them. They bring a different culture to campus, a different environment, and I love it.”

International students make up about 12 percent of Drury’s total enrollment, a number that’s been growing in recent years. They hail from more than 50 countries.

“Coming here to the United States and being international is just awesome because no matter how different we are, we all fit,” says Alaoui-Sosse. “We’re all different, but we’re all accepted for who we are.”

Drury’s close-knit atmosphere provides an excellent place for internationals to form friendships amongst themselves and with their fellow students from the United States.

“Americans are very open-minded, very open to change or to try something new,” says Stefanie Monsch, a senior marketing & management major from Germany. “Americans actually do want to learn about something new. They do want to learn about another culture.”


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

Local elementary school students to “tour” the globe today at Drury

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 27, 2015 — Drury hosts an International Culture Fair for local elementary school students from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the Findlay Student Center.

About 480 students from Boyd, McGregor and Pipkin elementary schools are expected to attend and visit booths representing 15 different countries throughout the day. Drury volunteers will lead the students through the fair to learn more about each country’s culture and language.

Culture fair dancing

At each booth, students will participate in a traditional activity from the represented country. This year’s activities include learning to play handmade instruments from Indonesia, making beaded bracelets like those from the Masai tribe in Kenya, learning some traditional Mexican dance steps, learning how to spell their names in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, and taste-testing food from Argentina. Students will also receive a passport booklet with questions relating to the country and receive a stamp in their passport after each visit.

“The hope is that students will not only learn about what life is like around the world, but that they will also grow to understand and appreciate the incredible cultural diversity here in Springfield,” says Dr. Heidi Backes, assistant professor of Spanish at Drury. “I am very excited to be able to offer this experience to local students, and my campus volunteers are equally thrilled to get to share their love of international culture and travel.”


Paleontology and pop culture combine as Drury alumnus speaks in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 24, 2015 — Paleontologist Jack Conrad of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) will present a lecture titled “Dinosaurs in Cinema: Facts and Fallacies” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 28. The discussion will take place in Springfield at the Missouri Institute of Natural Science, at 2327 W. Farm Road 190. The event is free and open to the public.

Conrad will address topics as basic as what a dinosaur is and as complex as endothermy (metabolic regulation of temperature). Included in the discussion will be dinosaur sizes, feathered dinosaurs, and how we know what we know about the lives of dinosaurs.

Conrad was born and raised in Hurley, Missouri, and graduated with a degree in biology from Drury University in 1999. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has traveled the world in a quest for fossil specimens and has been on expeditions in climates varying from the Sahara Desert to the Arctic Circle. He has searched for fossil mammals in the Andes of Bolivia and for ancient crocodile fossils in Kenya, and has, with his colleagues, named seven new fossil reptile species with research pending on five others. He currently works in the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology at AMNH and in the Department of Anatomy at New York Institute of Technology’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The Missouri Institute of Natural Science is the non-profit organization that manages Riverbluff Cave in Greene County. Riverbluff Cave was discovered accidentally on September 11, 2001, while blasting for a new road. The cave was announced to the public in April of 2002. Inside are fossils and other findings which have been dated at approximately Pleistocene in age, the time period that spanned from 1.8 million to 11,000 years ago.


“Green Dot” initiative caps off Sexual Assault Awareness Month

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 23, 2015 — Drury University is capping off Sexual Assault Awareness month with a training session this Saturday for the new Green Dot initiative. The session is a joint effort with Ozarks Technical Community College. The session will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Findlay Student Center room 204.

Green Dot is a comprehensive approach to violence prevention that uses student leaders to affect positive cultural change from within the student body. The Green Dot model targets all community members as potential bystanders, and seeks to engage them in proactive behaviors that establish intolerance of violence as the norm, as well as reactive interventions in high-risk situations. The program specifically targets influential and respected individuals such as student leaders with the hope that they will integrate moments of prevention within existing relationships and daily activities. The name of the program comes from the idea of turning “red dots” on a map marking incidents of violence into “green dots” of preventative actions.

Media are welcome to cover the training session and speak to those involved. Reporters are advised to attend during the later part of the day, as the session is tightly programmed and participants and organizers will be more easily available for interviews immediately afterward.

The Green Dot program is being promoted by Panthers For Prevention, a coalition of students, staff and faculty working to promote and encourage healthy decisions among the Drury community. The group has sponsored other related events during the month of April, including self-defense classes, T-shirt printing and creating an “It’s on Us” video.

For more about the national Green Dot initiative, visit


Drury Again Earns Recognition in the Princeton Review’s Green Guide

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 21, 2015 — The Princeton Review has named Drury University in its annual Guide to 353 Green Colleges for the sixth year in a row.

Drury is one of the 353 most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to The Princeton Review. Drury is one of seven Missouri colleges selected, and the only one in the Springfield area.

The Princeton Review selection process is based on ratings that were tallied for 861 schools in the summer of 2014. The Princeton Review uses data from annual surveys to evaluate a school’s environmental and sustainability-related policies, practices and academic offerings.

Sustainability efforts are a priority on Drury’s campus. Drury University recently earned recognition as a “Tree Campus USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation. Drury has prioritized new LEED-certified buildings such as the University Suites and the O’Reilly Family Event Center, and has retrofitted existing structures such as Stone Chapel with geothermal heating and cooling. Also important are everyday actions such as bike rentals for students and the removal of trays in the cafeteria to reduce water use.

Academically, Drury is currently participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2015 and together with Crowder College in Neosho are designing and constructing a solar powered, storm resistant home. Students will take a multi-disciplinary approach to design, build and operate an off-the-grid home. There are about 50 Drury students with various majors involved in the project.

The complete list of 353 schools and a PDF of the Green Guide can be found online at:


Leadership transition begins at Drury’s Breech School of Business

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 21, 2015 — Dr. Robin Sronce has been named acting director of the Breech School of Business Administration at Drury University. Sronce takes over for Michael Shirley, who is leaving Drury at the end of May. Dr. James Simmerman, assistant professor of finance, will serve as acting assistant director.

The university has created an overlap in leadership to ensure a smooth transition. Sronce assumes her new duties as acting director immediately, and will become interim director on June 1. Shirley and Sronce have worked closely together throughout Shirley’s five-year tenure at Drury and they will continue to do so through the end of the school year.

Sronce, an associate professor of management, has been a Drury faculty member since 2006. She earned her undergraduate degrees in business and sociology from Drury in 1983, having studied at Breech under the tutelage of then-director Dr. W. Curtis Strube. She holds an MBA and Ph.D from the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Dr. Robin Sronce

Dr. Robin Sronce

In her time on the Breech faculty, Sronce has seen her management research published in numerous journals and has taken an active role in the school’s distinctive study abroad program. She has also worked to further the school’s connections with the business community, including spearheading the annual Breech Business Week, which kicked off Monday.

“Dr. Sronce is well positioned to take the reins and lead Breech through this transitional time,” said Dr. Steven C. Combs, vice president for academic affairs. “She is a proven leader who is dedicated to advancing the mission of Breech and the university. I have the utmost confidence in her abilities.”

“I am thrilled to be able to lead an institution that has meant so much to me, first as student and now as a faculty member and mentor to our students,” said Sronce. “We have a rich tradition of creating engaged and ethical business leaders, and we will continue to carry that mission forward in a meaningful way for today’s students and employers.”

Breech Business Week will offer many opportunities to meet Dr. Sronce. A full schedule of the weeks’ events can be found online.