No argument: Drury’s debate program among the best in the nation

Drury University’s debate team is making national waves in its inaugural season.

Bringing back a tradition at Drury that dates back to the late 1800s, the debate program was re-established in 2016 after a hiatus as part of the university’s ongoing multi-faceted strategy to attract and retain great students.

The International Public Debate Association (IPDA) ranks individual debaters and university debate programs on a weekly basis.  As a program, Drury is currently ranked 1st in the nation for having more varsity team points than any of the other participating schools. Additionally, Drury has had “top five” finishers in both individual and team competition at most of its tournaments.

UPDATE: Drury debate team wins IPDA national title, individual and sweepstakes awards

Though they are not all freshmen, all of Drury’s debaters are in their first year of college debate competition. The squad may be new, but it quickly formed a culture of high achievement, teamwork and trust in one another, says debate coach Dr. Charles Deberry.

DU Debate Union

“Chemistry is everything,” Deberry says. “We have a lot of diversity in terms of the students’ backgrounds and areas of study on the team. I think that’s been a key element in our success because the topics cover a wide spectrum, from international economics to whether the Patriots are the best team in the NFL, and you don’t know what the topic will be before going into the debate.”

Drury’s team participates in a relatively new debate league that stresses civil discourse rather than highly technical strategies and oral speed-reading seen in some collegiate leagues. Formed in 1997, the IDPA emphasizes critical thinking, civil discourse, logic, creativity, and real-world persuasion skills. The league is growing with more than 120 colleges in 28 states in the southeast, Midwest and west coast.

The IPDA’s format gives student debaters a list of five topics to choose from before the debate begins. The two individuals or teams take turns striking topics until one is left. A coin flip determines who takes a “pro” or “con” position. Each side has 20 minutes to prepare for the debates, which last about 30 minutes for individuals and an hour for teams.

“It’s really a great capstone for a liberal arts education,” Deberry says. “To be successful in this format you have a broad knowledge of a variety of topics and then be able to think critically and express yourself clearly.”

“The Debate Union provides a community for intelligent students to not only debate, but have an environment where they thrive, socially and intellectually,” says Austin Cassity, a senior from Springfield.

Lindsay Duede, a freshman from Ozark, says the opportunity to debate is what led her to make the decision to attend Drury over other schools on her list of choices.

“Debate was my everything in high school and it still is,” she says. “I applied to a lot of schools and was accepted at a lot of places. Not all of them had debate or the type of debate that interested me. When I met with Dr. Deberry and he told me what DU was up to, I immediately wanted to be a part of that action. Debate is why I am proud to be a Panther.”

Not all of the debaters are freshmen. Mallory Pinson is a sophomore from Liberty, Missouri, who says debate has helped her find niche at Drury.

“I came here before Drury had the debate program in full operation, therefore it was not a big motivator for my coming to Drury, but it is definitely what will keep me here,” she says. “I knew that I wanted to continue the activity. I am so happy to be able to be able to participate the Drury Debate Union.”

The 2016-17 Drury debate team members include Mallory Pinson, Ameran Link, Kris Rose, Lindsay Duede, Austin Cassity, Jerrica Shine, Emily Collier, Kat Sittenauer, Erin Benedict, Ayesha Naqi and Haley Davis.

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Drury faculty member selected to lead statewide nonprofit association

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 28, 2017 — Dan Prater has been selected to serve as the co-chair of Nonprofit Missouri, the statewide association of nonprofit organizations.

Prater is a faculty member at Drury University and serves as the executive director of the university’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership. In this role, he organizes workshops and conferences, consults local nonprofit organizations, and writes and speaks on industry-related topics. Dan teaches in Drury’s Master of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership degree program.

dan-bio-photo-cropped

Dan has spearheaded several local studies, including the 2016 “Springfield Area Congregations Study,” which examined the civic engagement of religious congregations in Greene and Christian counties, and “Volunteerism: A Study of the Springfield Area.”

Nonprofit Missouri, based in Jefferson City, is the collective voice to unite, strengthen, and advance the nonprofit sector in Missouri. Created by and for nonprofits, it is Missouri’s first organization to promote the common interests of the state’s nonprofit organizations. Board members include representatives from nonprofit organizations and universities in St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, and other regions throughout Missouri.

As of January 2017, there were more than 55,000 registered nonprofit organizations in the state of Missouri (www.taxexemptworld.com) with collective assets exceeding $120 billion.

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Media Contact: Dan Prater, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership: (417) 873-7443 or dprater@drury.edu.

C-Street Gallery opens “Meme-Ography” exhibit on Friday

SPRINGFIELD, MO., Feb. 27, 2017 – An art exhibition focusing on Internet culture of the past decade will open at the Drury on C-Street Gallery on Friday, March 3 with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. “Meme-Ography” will feature artistic interpretations of some of the Internet’s most notable memes, a community engagement meme board, and a timeline of Internet phenomena from 2007-2017. The Drury on C-Street Gallery is located at 233 E. Commercial Street. The opening reception is free to the public with food provided by Café Cusco.

kermit-meme

The Internet has been a growing presence in our daily lives for years, and as a result has cultivated its own unique cultural influence. The result is a society in which memes have become not just a form of entertainment and comedic expression, but also a statement of our opinion as a society on what counts as art, from what can be used to make a statement on topics as mundane as the “Thanksgiving Clapback” to more pressing topics like the United States political climate.

“Meme-Ography” was conceptualized by Arts Administration students Hannah Beckmann and Tulley Beard.

This exhibition will run from March 3 through 24. Gallery viewing hours after the opening reception will be 11 to 2 p.m. on Mondays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1 to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

For more information, call (417) 873-6337 or visit Drury on C-Street’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DruryCStreet.

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, and the weaving studio. 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.

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Drury & the Springfield Symphony team up for conducting workshop

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 14, 2017 — The Springfield Symphony, Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra, and Drury University will host a conducting workshop on February 24-25, 2017 in Clara Thompson Hall on the Drury campus. The workshop will provide aspiring conductors the opportunity to work with a professional chamber ensemble of Springfield Symphony musicians in a nurturing environment.

Led by Kyle Wiley Pickett, music director of the Springfield Symphony and Topeka (Kansas) Symphony; and Christopher Koch, music director of the Springfield Regional Opera and Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra, the workshop will offer each participant podium time as well as a preparatory session with the workshop clinicians.

Information is available via www.springfieldmosymphony.org under the Events tab, or via the SDCO section of Drury.edu.

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Contact: Dr. Christopher Koch, Associate Professor of Music: (417) 873-7298 or ckoch@drury.edu.

“Peter and the Wolf” tradition continues at Drury on Thursday, Feb. 16

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., February 14, 2017 — Drury University’s annual production of “Peter and the Wolf” for area third-graders will take place during two performances at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, at the O’Reilly Family Event Center. This year’s performances are made possible in part thanks to a $12,900 grant from U.S. Bank, through the U.S. Bank Foundation.

For more than 40 years, students and faculty from Drury’s music, theater and education departments have collaborated to bring “Peter and the Wolf” to life for an elementary school audience. The 1936 work by Sergei Prokofiev is designed to teach children about the orchestra through an easy-to-understand fairytale about a boy and his animal friends being stalked by a wolf. Each character is represented by a different instrument and musical motif. In 2016, Drury revamped the program to include new emphasis on the humane treatment of animals. Nearly 3,000 third graders from Springfield and the surrounding area are expected to attend the two performances.

“We are very grateful for the support provided by U.S. Bank through its grant program,” says Christopher Koch, associate professor of music at Drury and music director of the SDCO and Springfield Regional Opera. “Not only will the funding help us to continue our 40-plus year tradition of presenting ‘Peter and the Wolf’ to our region’s third graders, it also supports the regionally and nationally acclaimed Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra, a semi-professional ensemble-in-residence at Drury which allows our own students to sit side-by-side with professional musicians, faculty, and students drawn from across southwest Missouri.”

The U.S. Bank Foundation funds projects related to themes of workforce education, neighborhood revitalization, and arts and culture, organized under the umbrellas of Work, Home and Play. Support for the Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra falls within Play and is an investment in the arts and culture of our community.

“U.S. Bank makes play possible by investing the bank’s financial resources in community programming that supports ways for children and adults to play and create in venues across the country,” said Steven Fox, Regional President.

Grant funding from U.S. Bank will support a full roster of orchestral events in SDCO’s 2017-18 season. For tickets and information about SDCO, visit www.sdco.drury.edu.

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Campus memorial service for Wen Xu to be held at Drury on Feb. 14

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 10, 2017 — A memorial service for Wen “Ariel” Xu will be held on the Drury University campus at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 14 in Clara Thompson Hall. The event will feature speakers from the Drury community who knew Xu, including friends and teammates from the swimming and diving team. University Chaplain Dr. Peter Browning will lead the event.

Wen Xu cropped

Media wanting to cover the memorial should plan to arrive early. Contact Media Relations Director Mike Brothers for more information at 873-7390.

Xu, 22, a swimmer and international student from Shanghai, China, passed away on Feb. 2 after experiencing a medical emergency during a swim team practice. She received immediate medical attention and paramedics transported Xu to Mercy Hospital where she was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

Xu was an Advertising/PR major and was a decorated member of the women’s swimming team. She was an NCAA-II national champion in the 50 Free last year and held several records, including events in the Breech Pool, Great Lakes Valley Conference, and NCAA-II National Meets. She earned all-academic all-conference honors twice, meaning she maintained at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA.

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Drury University mourns loss of student-athlete Wen Xu

It is with a heavy heart that Drury University notified our campus community this evening that a member of the Panther family has died.

Wen Xu, 22, a swimmer and international student from Shanghai,China, was pronounced dead this evening at Mercy Hospital. Xu, who goes by the American name Ariel, was with the team in swim practice this afternoon when she experienced a medical emergency. Paramedics were called immediately. Ariel was taken to Mercy and pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Her next of kin has been notified in China.

Wen Xu

Wen was an Advertising/PR major and was a decorated member of the women’s swimming team. She held several records, including events in the Breech Pool, Great Lakes Valley Conference, and NCAA-II National Meets. She was a two-time all-academic all-conference award winner, which means she maintained a 3.30 cumulative GPA. See her full bio on the Drury Panthers website here.

Drury’s counselors are offering support to Wen’s teammates and her roommate this evening. Our counselors and university chaplain are available to the entire student body, as well as faculty and staff, for any needed support. A memorial event will be planned for the campus community at a later date.

“This is a terrible tragedy, and we ask that the community keep our students and Ariel’s family in their thoughts and prayers. Our condolences are with Ariel’s family, and with her teammates and coaches,” said Drury President Dr. Tim Cloyd.

Events explore lessons from WWII-era Japanese-American internment camps

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., January 31, 2017 — A multi-disciplinary series of events and performances at Drury University will tell the story of the internment camps set up by the U.S. government to hold Japanese-Americans during World War II. The camps were result of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 signed in the weeks after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

Chikaraishi

Chikaraishi

“Life Interrupted: Art for Social Change” is a project that brings together the arts, humanities, history and political science departments at Drury, along with the greater Springfield community and the CORE Performance Company, to hear about the camps and ask what we can learn from the experience.

How have these same issues of civil rights violations, racial profiling, discrimination, immigration and xenophobia shifted, changed, or stayed the same? How do we ensure the safety of our country without discriminating against ethnic and religious minorities?

“It’s 75 years past and we’re still grappling with the same issues – fear of people we don’t know, fear of people who look different from us,” says Nancy Chikaraishi, a Drury architecture professor whose parents and grandparents were forced into the camps, and who is the lead organizer for the series of “Life Interrupted” events at Drury.

MORE: Read an interview with Chikaraishi about her personal connection to the internment camps and how she became involved in the “Life Interrupted” project.

The events begin on Thursday with a roundtable discussion with community leaders, followed by a dance workshop and art installation on Friday and a performance on Saturday of “Life Interrupted” by CORE, which is based in Atlanta and Houston. A final panel discussion on the nature of architecture and power will be held next week.

Full list of events:

Thursday, Feb. 2, 6 p.m. – Roundtable discussion with local community leaders led by Drury political science professors Dr. Daniel Ponder and Dr. Jeff Vandenberg, with representatives from the Islamic Society of Joplin, NAACP, Temple Israel, and PROMO. Location: Reed Auditorium, Trustee Science Center on the Drury campus.

Friday Feb. 3, 3-4:30 p.m. – Dance workshop and story circle with the CORE Performance Company. Participants will be guided through the story circle process, sharing personal stories related to the themes investigated in “Life Interrupted.” No previous dance experience is required. Participants are encouraged to wear clothing that will not inhibit moving freely. Location: Drury on C-Street Gallery, 233 E. Commercial Street.

Friday, Feb. 3, 5-8 p.m. – Interactive art installation & exhibition opening led by Nancy Chikaraishi and Drury students (following the dance workshop and story circle). Location: Drury on C-Street Gallery, 233 E. Commercial Street.

Saturday, Feb. 4, 7:30 p.m. – “Life Interrupted” dance theatrical performance by the CORE Performance Company. Reserve tickets for free online. Location: Wilhoit Theater, Breech School of Business, corner of Central Street and Drury Lane.

Tuesday, Feb. 7, 6-7:30 p.m. – Panel Discussion on Architecture & Power, led by Drury architecture professors Dr. Robert Weddle, Dr. Panos Leventis and Nancy Chikaraishi. Location: Drury on C-Street Gallery, 233 E. Commercial Street.

This project is supported in part by awards from the Mid-America Arts Alliance, National Endowment for the Arts, Missouri Arts Council, and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, Springfield Regional Arts Council and Community Foundation of the Ozarks, DoubleTree by Hilton, Nelson and Kelley Still Nichols, Colorgraphic Printing, Drury University, Drury University’s Hammons School of Architecture and the L.E. Meador Center for Politics and Citizenship.

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Media Contact: Nancy Chikaraishi, Professor of Architecture: (417) 873-7459 or nchikaraishi@drury.edu.

Info session for Lebanon Law Enforcement Academy to be held Friday

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., January 26, 2017 — An information session for students interested in enrolling in the new Drury Law Enforcement Academy in Lebanon will be held at 6 p.m., Friday, Jan. 27, at the Laclede County Office of Emergency Management, 200 N. Adams Avenue.

Drury’s College of Continuing Professional Studies will launch the new academy site in Lebanon in early summer. This is the second academy site for Drury. The university’s Springfield academy has met the needs of local enforcement training and employment since 2004.

The Lebanon academy will meet in the evening Monday through Thursday, and during 10 weekends, for one year. After completion, graduates receive a Class A License and meet the minimum requirements for employment with municipal, county and state law enforcement positions. Students also graduate with 24 college credit hours that can be applied to a degree program. Drury University’s Law Enforcement Academy is approved by the state of Missouri as a Law Enforcement Training entity. Financial aid is available for those who qualify and the program meets the requirements for military education benefits.

An additional information session will be held in March. For more information about the Academy or the information sessions, contact Law Enforcement Academy Director Tony Bowers at (417) 873-7542 or tbowers@drury.edu.

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Drury Wind Symphony to be honored at national band directors convention

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., January 25, 2017 — The Drury Wind Symphony will be honored at the annual convention of the College Band Directors National Association, which takes place in Kansas City in March. Judged to be among the best of its kind nationally, the ensemble will be featured at the CBDNA’s “Small Band Showcase” which identifies and celebrates outstanding performance by schools with an undergraduate enrollment of fewer than 4,500.

Wind Symphony

Music Director and Drury professor Christopher Koch will also present at the conference, sharing concert performances and discussing the Wind Symphony’s path to success.

“I’m thrilled our students are being recognized for their outstanding work,” says Koch, who is also Music Director of the Springfield Regional Opera and Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra.

For more information, visit: www.drury.edu/music.

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