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


Drury University welcomes six new members to Board of Trustees

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 22, 2015 — Drury University has welcomed six new members to its Board of Trustees. The new members elected to the board are:

Kris Anderson

Kris Anderson

Kris Anderson, Frontenac, Missouri – Anderson returns to the Board of Trustees, having previously served from 1993-1997. He is a retired construction executive who spent 33 years with St. Louis-based McCarthy Building Companies, one of America’s largest diversified contractors. He currently has a design/build/development consulting business, Anderson Associates II, with clients throughout the nation and is on several nonprofit boards in St. Louis. Anderson was born in Canada and lived in Salem, Missouri, before attending Drury. He earned degrees in economics and political science from Drury in 1977 and an MBA from Washington University’s Olin School in 1980.

Curtis Dinan

Curtis Dinan

 Curtis Dinan, Tulsa, Oklahoma – Dinan is senior vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer of ONE Gas. ONE Gas was spun off from ONEOK Inc., which Dinan joined in 2004 as vice president and chief accounting officer after being an audit partner with Arthur Andersen LLP and Grant Thornton LLP. He serves on the board of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America and is an advisory board member for the Breech School of Business. Dinan earned degrees in accounting and business administration from Drury in 1989 and is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management program. 

Steve Seibert

Steve Seibert

Steve Seibert, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Seibert is currently vice president and assistant general counsel with the Williams Companies, Inc. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from Drury in 1988 and a law degree from Washington University in 1991. Seibert has been active in the Drury Alumni Association for many years and served as co-chair of the 2003-04 Drury Fund campaign. He currently serves on the board of the Pittsburgh Opera and has also been involved with Legal Aid of Oklahoma, Trout Unlimited and the Yellowstone Park Foundation.

Ron Staab

Ron Staab

Ron Staab, Columbus, Ohio – Staab has spent 30 years in the retail world, including three years as COO at Arhaus Furniture, 16 years with Frito-Lay and 10 years with L Brands. He is now an executive professor of production operations and marketing at Capital University. Staab earned a business administration degree from Drury in 1984 and an MBA from Mississippi College in 1991.

George Thompson

George Thompson

George Thompson, Springfield, Missouri – Thompson is a dealer principal for Thompson Auto Sales and returns to the Board of Trustees, having previously served from 2004-14. He is on the Cadillac National Advisors Board and has served as vice-chairman of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce board. Thompson has also been a past member of the boards of the YMCA, the Girls Club, Hickory Hills Country Club and the Missouri Auto Dealers Association. Thompson earned degrees in business administration and economics from Drury in 1970.

Mark Walker

Mark Walker

Mark Walker, San Jose, California – Walker was named Chairman and CEO of Springfield-based trucking company TransLand in 2013. Prior to that, he held leadership positions at Applied Materials and the Applied Materials Foundation in Santa Clara, Calif. Before that, he spent six years as president and CEO of United Way Silicon Valley in San Jose, Calif., following a 23-year career with SBC Communications (AT&T). Walker earned degrees in business administration and economics from Drury in 1979.

“Drury is fortunate to have a board of trustees who care deeply for the mission of the university and about boldly taking Drury into a new era in higher education,” said Dr. David Manuel, Drury president. “We value the board’s leadership and expertise and this new group of trustees complements the existing board in every way.”

Two trustees are rotating off the board: James Bone and John Twitty. Photos of the six new members are attached. More information about all of the members of the Board of Trustees can be found online.


Drury hosts recognition ceremony for promising Missouri scholars

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 22, 2015 — The Drury Center for Gifted Education, in partnership with the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP), will honor more than 400 of Missouri’s most promising young scholars at a recognition ceremony at 11 a.m. today, Friday, May 22 in the O’Reilly Family Event Center. Central High School Student and former Duke TIP honoree, Amanda Morrison, will be the keynote speaker.

To qualify for recognition, seventh-grade honorees must take the ACT or SAT and score at a level equal to or better than 50 percent of the high school juniors and seniors who took the test. Duke TIP, a nonprofit organization, has conducted an annual search for academically talented youth in the state of Missouri as well as 15 other states since its founding in 1980.

Drury University has hosted the annual statewide recognition event since 1981. Representatives from Drury, Duke TIP and Springfield Public Schools’ gifted education program will be available for comment to the media before or after the ceremony. Members of the media can contact Media Relations Director Mike Brothers at (417) 873-7390 to make arrangements.

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. Each summer, more than 700 children from pre-K through high school attend Drury’s residential and non-residential pre-college programs. Visit Drury Gifted Education for more information.


SIVA visiting artists to give public lectures at Springfield Art Museum

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 18, 2015 — The Summer Institute for Visual Arts (SIVA) at Drury University is pleased to present SIVA Currents, a new summer lecture series presented in partnership with the Springfield Art Museum. SIVA Currents gives the public an opportunity to hear from the program’s Visiting Artist Fellows, a diverse group of international artists representing a range of contemporary practices and disciplines. The artists will discuss their work and careers during the presentations.

All lectures are free and open to the public and begin at 6:30 p.m. More information about each artist can be found at the SIVA website.

Thursday, June 11: Visual artist Matt Borruso. Borruso’s work examines processes of replication in various forms such as paintings, wax castings, found sculptural objects and digital files.

Thursday, June 25: Performance artist Ben Kinsley. Kingsley’s projects have ranged from directing surprise theatrical performances in the homes of strangers to planting a buried treasure in the streets of Mexico City (yet to be found).

Ben Kinsley

Ben Kinsley

Thursday, July 9: Video artist and educator Chelsea Knight. Knight’s recent subjects include a United Nations diplomat, interrogators from the Iraq War and Tea Party members.

Thursday, July 23: Artist Christine Laquet. Based in Nantes, France, Laquet uses of different forms of expression to challenge binary constructs such as self versus other and nature versus culture.

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.

Applications are currently being accepted for this year’s session, which runs from June 1 to Aug. 7. For more information, go to


Media Contact – Sarrita Hunn, Director of Summer Institute for Visual Arts:

Business grad offered full time position prior to graduation

Laura Gaughan, a senior management and finance double major, knows the importance of networking and making connections. It’s what landed her a job two semesters before graduation.

Last spring, Gaughan applied for a summer internship with the Kansas City Federal Reserve. Although the internship went to another Drury student, the organization was impressed and promised to “keep her in mind” for a position.

“I was thinking, ‘Okay, I’m sure they’re just saying that’,” she says. “But then in September, I was asked to come in for an interview and 30 minutes later I was offered a job.”

Gaughan begins her job as a financial analyst next month, and credits much of her success to her professors and the relationships she’s built with them over the years.


Laura Gaughan

“I think one of the greatest things professors do is be excellent references for students,” Gaughan says. “Whether its grad school or a job, they’ll speak the world of you and I think that’s so awesome because that can really make or break if you get a job or not.”

Gaughan says Drury’s Breech School of Business helps students prepare for entry into the work force in many other ways, including polishing resumes and cover letters, conducting mock interviews and helping students build and maintain connections through the Drury alumni network and through professors’ contacts. Gaughan has used LinkedIn to maintain relationships and build connections, and was even offered two part-time jobs during the school year because of it.

Her advice to current students is to simply to be flexible: “If life doesn’t go the way you wanted it to or it takes it take a different path, be open to possibilities.”

Gaughan originally thought she would attend graduate school immediately after graduation but once she received her Federal Reserve job offer, she sought advice from her parents, friends and professors.

“The advice from my professors is what influenced with me the most,” Gaughan says. “They told me it would be an opportunity I wouldn’t want to turn down because it was such great experience, and whatever I wanted to do in the future—a job or school—this job would speak volumes of my work ethic and ability. I 100 percent wouldn’t be ready for the real world if it weren’t for Drury.”


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

Drury awards more than 540 degrees during spring commencements

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 16, 2015 — Drury University awarded degrees to 543 graduates at its spring commencement ceremonies today. There were 261 undergraduate degrees and 28 graduate degrees conferred at the traditional Day School ceremony, and 266 degrees conferred during a ceremony for the College of Continuing Professional Studies. Some students earned multiple degrees.

2015 Commencement 3

The Class of 2015

In addition, the University conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to Will Keim, motivational speaker and author whose books include Keys to Success in College and Life. Dr. Keim has spoken to more than 2 million students on 1,000 college campuses in all 50 states. He 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 as they embark on their college journey.


Keim told the graduates that he was diagnosed with cancer last year, and that fact gave context to a memorable speech about making the most of one’s life and career. He also said it was the first time in his long speaking career that he had ever addressed a group of students both at the beginning and end of their college experience.

Keim commended the graduates on joining the ranks of those with a college degree, and reminded them that only about 7 percent of the world’s population has earned such an honor. He also lauded the well-rounded liberal arts education that Drury had given them, saying that professional schools and employers “want people like you – people who can think and who can get along with people different from yourself.”

2015 Commencement Keim

President David Manuel presents the honorary degree to Will Keim.

He also urged today’s graduates to do five things: think analytically, feel empathy for others, have hope for the future, act to help others in need and to love themselves. The last request is not about narcissism, he said, but rather about self-confidence and combating negativity. It’s difficult for others to love you if you aren’t comfortable with who you are, he said.

“All you need to do is leave Drury University with your degree in one hand and your self-esteem in the other – and look out, world,” he said.


Communication students put theories into action with research

When students in her Interpersonal Communication Theory class choose a research topic, Dr. Cristina Gilstrap issues one over-arching challenge.

“Here’s the big question: who cares about your results?” she tells them. “In other words, how could the findings of the study be used to help organizations or individuals in a practical way?”

Two groups of students recently wrapped up projects in the class.

The first group examined the face management strategies used by police officers when conflict arises during traffic stops. Face management is a theory that focuses on how one’s self image, or “face,” is threatened, saved or restored during interactions.

The second group examined how parents manage uncertainties after receiving their child’s Down syndrome diagnosis. Uncertainty management theory explores how we attempt to manage uncertainties in situations that are complex or unpredictable.

One of the first group’s key findings was that local police officers typically find ways to express empathy with difficult subjects in order to save face and make the interaction as positive as they can, given the circumstances. These interactions come naturally, but the student researchers suggested integrating the theory and their findings into officer training in order to help improve traffic stop interactions for both officers and the public.

Given what’s happened in Ferguson and Baltimore in the last year, Samantha Williams, a senior communication studies major, said research such as this could be valuable for officers in a time when seemingly routine encounters can have massive repercussions if handled poorly.

“The way officers manage their face may mean the difference between additional riots or it may result in a traffic stop ending with the driver in violation saying ‘thank you’ and having an appreciation for the officers and what they do,” Williams says.

The second group found that parents often seek out information to help them effectively cope with their uncertainties after their child’s Down syndrome diagnosis. The most valuable information is not necessarily factual, they found, but personal: conversations with other parents, blog posts, support groups and simply meeting and knowing people who have been diagnosed.

Communication Theory research students

Communication Theory research students

Jeremy Petrich, a junior biology and exercise sports science major, said that even though researching uncertainty is by its very nature focused on something negative, the in-depth conversations with parents made it clear their outlook was anything but.

“They so often said, ‘We love our children, we wouldn’t have it any other way, they’re a part of our lives,’” he says. “It was just awesome to hear everything they had to say.”


Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations.

Students help shape vision for Riverbluff Cave museum

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 12, 2015 — A group of Drury University architecture students is helping bring dinosaurs to life for the public through the design of exhibit space, and will showcase their work on Wednesday afternoon.

Students from David Beach’s Introduction to Computers in Architecture class will present the exercises they have done in partnership with the Missouri Institute of Natural Science (MINS) from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, at the Hammons School of Architecture.

The students have spent the spring semester developing building concepts for MINS, a nonprofit museum that supports and maintains Riverbluff Cave. The cave was discovered in 2001 in Green County and contains formations, fossils, claw marks and tracks left behind by animals that lived during the Ice Age. Dating techniques have shown it to be the oldest known Ice Age fossil cave in North America. The concepts are just that, and do not reflect actual design work to be used by the museum.

Inspired by the new exhibit under construction at MINS – the largest Triceratops skeleton yet discovered – the students developed new designs for future dinosaur exhibits. Each student developed an understanding of the site and basic building form through environmental simulation, studies of their dinosaur’s form, physical modeling of their virtual prototypes, and the development of a building information model. The final review on Wednesday will include poster presentations of the building designs, final prototyped models (of both buildings and dinosaurs), and real-time animated walk-throughs of the design using virtual reality.

Beach, who is also a member of the MINS Board of Trustees, said the student projects help provide an understanding for the future development of the Riverbluff site as it continues to become a premiere museum and research institute for natural history.

The mission of the Missouri Institute of Natural Science is to interpret Missouri’s natural history within a regional and global context in a manner that is relevant, useful, educational and entertaining to all patrons. For more information, go to

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.