Summit will highlight Drury’s present and future engaged learning efforts

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 30, 2014 — Drury University will host its inaugural Engaged Learning Summit on Friday, May 2 to discuss the many ways in which students, faculty and staff are reaching out beyond the campus to enrich our community. The summit also marks the beginning of an enhanced collaboration with community leaders to strengthen these efforts.

The event is by invitation only but media are invited to cover the summit. The summit will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Reed Auditorium in the Trustee Science Center, located on the southwest corner of Drury Lane and Bob Barker Boulevard.

Drury leaders and students will report on the already robust state of community engagement at the University, as well as look ahead to the “Drury Connect” concept, which aims to strengthen those efforts. The heart of Drury Connect is the establishment of nine advisory councils in areas that include the environment, business and economic development, healthcare, the performing arts and architecture. Members of these councils include some of the region’s most influential leaders who will help shape Drury’s academic and community agenda in each area. Several of those who have committed to serve on a Drury Connect advisory council will be in attendance Friday.

“Springfield’s history of collaboration between town and gown is one we cherish and are committed to strengthening,” says Charles Taylor, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We want to demonstrate the added value we can provide to the community we serve, and show the community that this is the lens through which we view the work of educating our students.”

In addition to an overview of Drury Connect, several students will be on hand to make poster presentations about their recent engaged learning efforts. These efforts include work with local schools, performing arts projects, architecture and design projects, and more.

For more information about the Engaged Learning Summit and Drury Connect, contact: Dr. Charles Taylor, Vice President for Academic Affairs, (417) 873-7391 or


Season’s final Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra concert features Mahler

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 29, 2014 — The Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra (SDCO) will present its final concert of the year at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 1 at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts. The concert is free, although donations help insure the orchestra’s continued operations.

Finishing its season of “First Symphonies,” the orchestra will perform the mighty Symphony No. 1 (once subtitled “Titan”) by Gustav Mahler – marking the first time the SDCO has performed a work by this composer. The concert will also feature Charles R. Hall Young Artist winner pianist Mei Mei Chao, who will perform the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Camille Saint-Saens.

The Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra is southwest Missouri’s regional community orchestra. Founded in 2005, the 90-plus-member ensemble comprises a combination of Drury students, students from most of Southwest Missouri’s regional universities, professional performers and educators, and dedicated community members. Now in its 9th season, the SDCO presents a yearly four-concert season of orchestral masterworks — all free and open to public.

For more information, visit or find the SDCO on Facebook.

Media contact: Dr. Christopher Koch, SDCO Music Director & Conductor, at (417) 873-7298 or


Founder of Living Lands & Waters will speak at Drury on April 28

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Apr. 28, 2014 — Drury will host Chad Pregracke, the President and Founder of Living Lands & Waters (LL&W), at 6 p.m. tonight in Reed Auditorium in the Trustee Science Center.

LL&W is the world’s only “industrial strength” not-for-profit river cleanup organization. Pregracke formed the organization at age 23 after spending his life growing up and working on the Mississippi River. Over the last 16 years, the organization and its volunteers have removed over 7 million pounds of garbage out of the United States’ rivers.

LL&W has also broadened its mission to include a MillionTrees project and an Adopt-A-River Mile Project, as well as a floating classroom aboard a barge that Pregracke and his crew live on 7 months of the year.  Its goal is to teach students, educators and individual citizens about the value of rivers and natural resources. Pregracke was recently named the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year.

His presentation, “Helping to Clean America’s Rivers: From the Bottom Up,” will discuss his life growing up on the Mississippi and how his experiences led to a career in conservation. This event is free and open to the public, and is part of Drury’s 2014 Earth Day.

For more information about this event, contact Dr. Wendy Anderson at


Drury hosts first International Culture Fair for local schools April 28

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Apr. 28, 2014 — Drury hosts an International Culture fair for local school students in the Findley Student Center from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.

About 400 students from Boyd, McGregor, Pipkin, and Central will be attending the fair.  Throughout the day, students will have the chance visit 11 booths representing 13 different countries. Drury volunteers will lead the students through the fair to learn more about each country’s culture and language.

At each booth, students will also participate in a traditional activity from the represented country. Activities may include learning a traditional dance, playing an instrument, or tasting authentic food from one of the highlighted cultures.  Students will also receive a passport booklet with questions relating to the country and receive a stamp in their passport after each visit.  They will also receive souvenirs related to the fair and their visit to Drury.

“The hope is that student 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 international culture and travel.”


“Reflections” features work by local street photographers at C-Street Gallery

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 28, 2014 — The Drury on C-Street Gallery will open “Reflections” from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 2, at the Drury on C-Street Gallery, located at 233 E. Commercial St. Curated by Drury Professor Emeritus, Tom Parker, the exhibit will highlight the photography of area street photographers Steven Spencer and Andrew Harris.

Steven Spencer says of the show, “I do believe unless you bring Truman Capote in to make something better this show is going to rock. So as I always tell Tom Parker, you better get extra crackers because we’re going to break the record.”

The reception will feature musical entertainment by Orlando native and producer DJ Nick Fury. Food and drink will be provided.

“Reflections” will run May 2-16, 2014. Gallery viewing hours after the opening reception will be 1 to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, call (417) 873-6359 or visit Drury on C-Street’s Facebook page at

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. To further its goals, the Gallery strives to create and maintain strong local partnerships.


Student veterans group challenges DU community to military fitness test

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 25, 2014 — The newly formed Drury chapter of Student Veterans of America (SVA) is holding its first fundraising event Saturday morning. SVA is challenging Drury students, faculty and staff to pass a military physical fitness test.

The event will be held at 9 a.m., Saturday, April 26, at Sunderland Field. The field is located just south of the Sunderland Residence Hall and is adjacent to Benton Avenue. Media are invited to cover the event. The challenge includes two minutes each of timed push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups or flexed-arm hang, plus a two-mile run.

Money from entry fees and donations will benefit the Home at Last program, which assists homeless veterans in Springfield. Home at Last is a new program funded by a Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Drury’s SVA chapter was founded earlier this academic year under the leadership of student veterans on campus. In September, Drury was named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media. The designation puts Drury in the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and their spouses as students and ensure their success on campus. The Military Friendly designation is another example of Drury’s deep and continuing commitment to meeting the educational goals of military students.

For more information about the physical fitness challenge or SVA, contact SVA president-elect Katelyn Vernon, at (817) 694-4461 or


Women’s Basketball Coach Steve Huber Resigns

Coach Steve Huber is resigning to pursue other opportunities. Drury University thanks him for his hard work and success, both on and off the court, this season. Drury wishes him well in his future endeavors.

Assistant coach Molly Miller has been named interim head coach of Drury’s women’s basketball team.


Students Choose Service for Spring Break Trips

Many students travel to a beach location for spring break; but this semester, around 20 Drury students headed out-of-state to serve communities in Washington, D.C., and Twin Lakes State Park in Virginia.

The Drury Alternative Breaks Program is a student-led program offering affordable, service-learning trips over academic breaks.  The Washington, D.C., group worked with nonprofits that focus on urban farming and sustainable development programs, while the Virginia group performed forestry and park maintenance work. Each attending student completed at least 32 hours of service work during the trips.

Each trip only cost students $75 — the rest of the cost was paid for through fundraising, money from the Student Government Association, and the Office of Community Outreach and Leadership Development. These trips also are counted as an Engaged Learning credits, which is a requirement in the Drury curriculum.

DC trip group photo

Kevin Daroga, a junior Finance major, attended the D.C. trip with 10 other students and two Drury advisors. While there, the group faced an unexpected snowstorm that changed some of their volunteering plans, but they remained flexible and found other ways to serve the community.

“Even though we were planning on working outside and our plans changed, everyone had a positive attitude and we found other ways to work with the nonprofits,” said Daroga. “We helped clean up indoor gardens where apartment residents could ‘rent’ plots of land to grow their own produce.  We also packaged fresh meals for children and the homeless and learned a lot about the benefits of composting.”

Students volunteered for four days and had one “free” day for sightseeing. The D.C. group took a tour of the White House and was able to visit some of the museums and monuments in the area.

Abbi Weller, a sophomore architecture major, also attended the D.C. trip for her spring break and enjoyed the service and educational aspects of the experience.

“I didn’t know anything about urban farming before the trip, but afterwards I thought I had a good understanding of the concept,” Weller said.  “It was awesome to interact and get to meet people who are so passionate about service work and about providing fresh food and gardening services to the public. It was an experience I would love to participate in again.”


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

Digital Health Communication Certificate program begins June 2

Drury University’s new Digital Health Communication graduate certificate program begins June 2. Enrollment remains open for the upcoming cohort.

Designed by communication research faculty and facilitated by professionals in the field of digital healthcare, the certificate program seeks to build students’ skills in the growing and converging fields of digital communication and healthcare technology.

Recently featured on and currently enrolling students from three continents, the innovative DHC certificate program is designed to be valuable, flexible and highly relevant to today’s healthcare workforce.

“Digital health technology is reshaping healthcare on a global scale,” says Jeff Riggins, program director. “Health researchers and professionals working in the field understand that this technology is most effective when combined with a strong focus on human communication. Our program intends to serve as a resource for those seeking to narrow the gaps that currently exist, while working to guide the industry into the future.”

Digital health communication is the intersection of digital and social technologies and healthcare. Examples may include using mobile apps for medical care and monitoring, using online communities for social support and patient education, or using social networking sites for public health preparedness and prevention.

“Our goal as digital health communicators is to understand this intersection and provide our clients the best counsel to navigate this emerging field,” says Sarah Mahoney, Director of Digital Health Practice at Weber Shandwick Public Relations, who is among the first professionals to present in the program. “The most important thing we can offer our clients is confidence. Healthcare companies need to feel confident in the communications tactics they employ, especially in a highly-regulated environment.”

The entirely online program consists of six one-month block courses. Classes may be completed as stand alone units or combined to earn the certificate. The limited number of participants per cohort (maximum of 16) provides the opportunity to tailor studies based on the specific areas of highest interest to the individual.

For more information about the DHC program, visit

Media contact: Jeff Riggins, Director of the Graduate Program in Digital Health Communication, at (417) 861-7041 or


Breech Business Week strengthens connections between business students, professionals

The inaugural Breech Business Week at Drury University kicked off today and will run through Friday, April 25.

Serving as one more way to help students be “job ready,” the week serves as a connection between Drury’s Breech School of Business Administration and the Springfield business community.

With events happening each day this week, the schedule includes networking opportunities, resume and social networking workshops, and guest lectures by area business professionals. Drury students will receive valuable insights and feedback from these professional connections, while business leaders learn what makes Drury graduates such highly valued employees.

Jim Hagale, President and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, addressed business students today and set the tone for the week, saying it’s going to be up to them to take on the systemic issues facing our economy and nation.

“The only thing that will change this is stellar leadership from the private sector and personal responsibility from you and your generation,” Hagale said.


Other events this week include a “Golf for Greece” fundraiser for children in Aigina, Greece, where Drury has a satellite campus location, on Tuesday; LinkedIn workshops on Wednesday; a speed networking event with alumni on Thursday; and an awards luncheon on Friday. Media are invited to cover the week’s events.

“The presentations by professionals in the field, along with other events of the week, will provide critical applications to business theory, and serve to inspire our students as they prepare for future leadership opportunities,” says Michael Shirley, director of the Breech School of Business Administration.

Breech Business Week is presented by the Breech Advisory Board, and sponsored by CoxHealth, BKD, Springfield Business Journal, Beth Pile, Great Southern, Smile Foto Booth and Amanda Kastler.

For more information, contact: Dr. Robin Sronce, Associate Professor of Management, (417) 873-7438 or