Classic film & panel discussion will explore veterans’ re-entry to civilian life

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 7, 2017 — Drury University is partnering with the Moxie Cinema to local veterans this Saturday for an afternoon of storytelling and discussion about service during times of conflict and re-entering civilian life.

The program begins at 1 p.m. at Moxie Cinema downtown with a free screening of William Wyler’s classic 1946 film, “The Best Years of Our Lives.”  A winner of seven Academy Awards, the film chronicles the lives of three American servicemen returning home from World War II.  As they try to readjust to civilian life, they are forced to question the significance of the sacrifices they’ve made, sacrifices that few civilians can really appreciate or understand.

Following the film, a panel discussion with three veterans from later wars (Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq) will explore whether the film still speaks to the experiences of veterans today. The events are presented by the Moxie in partnership with The Springfield Art Museum, The Springfield Regional Arts Council, and The Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

The veterans who will take part in the panel discussion include:

John Vorhees joined the U. S. Air Force in 1948, and was sent to Korea in June of 1950, where he was assigned to the 5th Air Force, and served as a nose gunner on a B-26 bomber.  On February 3, 1951, on his 127th mission, his aircraft was hit by ground fire over Pyongyang, and he and his crewmates were forced to bail out over the Korea Bay. Vorhees and the other six crewmembers were pulled from the frigid waters by Navy helicopters. He left the service in July of 1952.  When he returned home to Kirksville, he avoided talking about the war by telling people that he had “flown a desk” as a clerical worker while in the Air Force.

After completing his freshman year at Drury College, Jim Marshall joined the U. S. Army in 1966. He was trained as an artilleryman and was sent to Vietnam in 1967, where he was attached as a radioman/forward observer with the 2nd Battalion, 22ndMechanized Infantry Regiment. On December 31st, 1967, Marshall’s fire support base consisting of 275 men was attacked by a force of about 1,500 North Vietnamese troops. His unit was overrun and suffered 80 percent casualties. This action inspired the final scenes of the movie “Platoon.” The following month, the Tet Offensive ushered in six months of intensive fighting. As Marshall put it, “We used to say, ‘If we can just make it home, life will be gravy from there on.’ How little I knew.”

A native of California, Eric Olson went through boot camp in San Diego in 1986. During his 22-year Marine Corps career, he served on tours in the Far East, the Middle East and Mediterranean, the Balkans, and Africa. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Olson was Team Leader for a six-man Reconnaissance and Surveillance team, conducting extended operations against high-value targets. He retired as a First Sergeant in 2008, and has been rated 100 percent permanently disabled due to service-related injuries by the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is currently a Department Service Officer for the Disabled American Veterans State Department of Missouri, and has received a number of awards and appointments for his work with disabled veterans.

For more information, visit www.moxiecinema.com.

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Political heavyweights Tom Nichols, Sarah Kendzior to speak in October

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 6, 2017 — Drury University’s Meador Center for Politics & Citizenship kicks off its 2017 speaker series in October with two of the most active voices in America’s online political landscape today, representing views from both the left and the right.

From the left, St. Louis-based writer and journalist Sarah Kendzior will speak at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 3. From the right, political scientist and author Tom Nichols will speak at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 30. Both events will be held at Lay Hall Auditorium and are open to the public.

The Center’s theme this year is “Politics, Activism, and Voice: A Toolbox for Democracy,” with speakers and events focused on empowering citizens to engage with government and civic life.

“Tom Nichols and Sarah Kendzior both exemplify what it means to be actively engaged in American political life,” says Dr. Daniel Ponder, professor of political science and director of the Meador Center. “They are academic experts in their field, regular commentators on the national stage, and passionate writers who care deeply about the future of our democracy.”

Kendzior is best known for her reporting on St. Louis and coverage of the 2016 presidential election. Her best-selling essay collection, “The View From Flyover Country,” was published in 2015. She is currently an op-ed columnist for the Toronto-based Globe and Mail, and has written for POLITICO, The Guardian, Slate, The Atlantic, The Chicago Tribune, Fast Company, The New York Times, and more. She is a frequent guest on NPR, Al Jazeera, BBC World Service and other outlets, and is a recurring guest on MSNBC’s “AM Joy.” Kendzior holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Washington University. Her academic research focuses primarily on the authoritarian states of the former Soviet Union and how the Internet affects political mobilization, self-expression, and trust.

Nichols is a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College in Rhode Island. He is a former Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and taught international relations and Russian affairs at Dartmouth College and Georgetown University before joining the War College. He is the author of several works on foreign policy and international security affairs, including “No Use: Nuclear Weapons and U.S. National Security” and “Eve of Destruction: The Coming Age of Preventive War.” His most recent book, “The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters,” was published this spring. Nichols is also a five-time undefeated “Jeopardy!” champion, and is listed in the show’s Hall of Fame. This week he was named to POLITICO’s annual list of “50 idea blowing up American politics – and the people behind them.”

Both Nichols and Kendzior are extremely actively on Twitter, where they engage issues and their fellow citizens daily. They have nearly 400,000 combined followers. You can follow them at @RadioFreeTom and @sarahkendzior.

More speakers in the 2017 series will be announced throughout the year.

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Drury recognizes Warren White Scholars and outstanding faculty

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 1, 2017 — Drury University recognized outstanding faculty and second-year students at its 2017 Opening Convocation. The ceremony officially began Drury’s 144th academic year with an address from President Tim Cloyd.

“The intent of Drury and the Drury Spirit has always been about attempting to bridge divides,” Cloyd said in an address that called the audience to consider their role in social and political issues facing the country. “Our faculty have always been the ones who have held this spirit high and defended the core of Drury. I want to thank this great faculty for this courageous tradition in this part of the world. You carry this core today.”

Nominations for Faculty Awards are received from students, faculty, administrators and alumni.  A committee of students and faculty selects the winners. The honorees were recognized for challenging, engaging and inspiring students both inside and outside the classroom.

The 2017 Faculty Award winners are:

  • Faculty Award for Advising: Jonathan Groves, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communication
  • Faculty Award for Liberal Learning: Nancy Chikaraishi, M. Arch., Professor of Architecture
  • Faculty Award for Scholarship: Daniel Ponder, Ph.D., L.E. Meador Professor of Political Science & Prof. Todd Lowery, M.F.A., Professor of Art
  • Faculty Award for Teaching: Shelley Wolbrink, Ph.D., Professor of History and Director of Medieval Studies
  • Faculty Award for Leadership: Elizabeth Gackstetter Nichols, Ph.D., Professor of Spanish

In addition, the Judge Warren White Scholars were honored. Each honoree will receive a $450 scholarship. These students have the highest grade point averages after completion of their first year at Drury. Mr. Warren White graduated from Drury in 1904 and served as a Greene County circuit court judge for 36 years.

The 2017 Judge Warren White Scholars are:

  • Kendal Rose Alexander – Mantorville, MN
  • Cale Ambuehl – Edwardsville, IL
  • Lidiya Petrovna Bosovik – Springfield, MO
  • Javier Antonio Diaz Vicens – West Rainer, WA
  • Stevie Leigh Fulton – Paris, AR
  • Michael James Henderson – Willard, MO
  • Van Luke Hopkins – St. Joseph, MO
  • Lillian H. Hunter – Warrensburg MO
  • Courtney Lauren King – Lake Ozark, MO
  • Christopher David Kollmeyer – Springfield, MO
  • Landen Alyse Kozlowski – Springfield, MO
  • Nolan Robert Sachse – Jefferson City, MO
  • Caterina Savini – Ravenna, Italy
  • Carter Paul Sifferman – Springfield, MO
  • Erik Michael Way – Springfield, MO

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New deans, faculty members in place at Drury for 2017-18 academic year

Drury University’s academic deans, from left: Allin Sorenson, Albert Korir, Shannon Cuff, Jennifer Silva Brown, Regina Waters, Beth Harville (Provost), Robert Weddle, and Jin Wang.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 1, 2017 — The new school year brings with it new additions and changes to the faculty at Drury University. In addition to previously announced new deans in the education and business schools, Drury has named three existing faculty members as deans, hired eight new full-time faculty to teach in the classroom, and installed Dr. Beth Harville as provost.

Harville served as interim provost last year. She is a professor of biology and chemistry and has been a Drury faculty member since 2005. She became dean of the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences in 2015, and was appointed interim provost by Drury president Dr. Tim Cloyd last year. The provost is the university’s top academic post.

“Dr. Harville has been highly effective as Drury’s provost over the last year and I am extremely pleased and grateful that she will continue to lead our academic efforts going forward,” says President Cloyd.

During the past year under Harville’s leadership, the Drury faculty launched new majors in nursing, game development, and international business; instituted a five-year fast track option for students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education; and signed several articulation agreements with partner colleges.

Three other faculty members are newly appointed deans this year, including:

Dr. Albert Korir, associate professor of chemistry, is the dean of the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences. He served in an interim role last year.

Dr. Jennifer Silva Brown, associate professor of psychology, is the dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Dr. Allin Sorenson, professor of music, is the dean of the School of Communication and Fine and Performing Arts.

“Drury’s deans comprise a very strong, innovative, and diverse academic leadership team,” Harville says. “I’m honored to work alongside this group of leaders and I am excited about the future of teaching and learning at Drury.”

Additional new hires include fulltime faculty members in chemistry, biology, marketing, graphic design, business, communication, and education.

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Missouri Humanities Council taps DU professor to lead regional outreach

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Aug. 31, 2017 — Drury English professor Dr. Katherine Gilbert has been selected by the Missouri Humanities Council to help expand the organization’s reach statewide. Gilbert and Drury will work with the nonprofit to deliver more of its programming and education in Springfield and across southwest Missouri.

Representatives from MHC and Drury signed an articulation agreement formalizing the partnership earlier today.

From left: MHC executive director Steve Belko, Dr. Katherine Gilbert, Drury president Dr. Tim Cloyd

The MHC was established in 1971 to serve as one of the 56 state and territorial humanities councils affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Its mission is to enrich lives and strengthen communities by connecting Missourians with the people, places, and ideas that shape our society. MHC provides programming that encourages family reading, highlights Missouri’s heritage, supports creative writing by veterans, and assists local museums, libraries, and other organizations promoting education. It facilitates public conversations on topics that include history, religion, archaeology, anthropology, philosophy, literature, law, ethics, and languages.

We spoke to Belko and Gilbert about this partnership before the signing ceremony.

Question: Tell us about the mission and work of the Missouri Humanities Council.

Steve Belko: As a statewide nonprofit organization committed to advancing the humanities throughout Missouri, our mission is to enrich lives and strengthen communities by connecting Missourians to the people, places, and ideas that shape our society. Through our five comprehensive programs – Heritage, Education, Family, Veterans, and Grants – we offer an extensive array of public programming opportunities that enhance in various ways the quality of life for the citizens of this state. Our vision is to create in Missouri a more thoughtful, informed, and civil society, and our reach extends into every county.

Why do you believe the MHC’s work is so important?

Dr. Katherine Gilbert: I’ve long admired the work of the MHC. They are excellent at bringing the humanities to the public, and intertwining scholarship, community engagement, big ideas, and civil discourse when doing so. The humanities help us all to think about what it means to be human, and to create bridges with others who come from other places and other time periods. This is life-enriching work that is also good for our democracy. I feel honored to have the chance to participate in it.

Belko: Simply put, we are here to perform a public service that government agencies and private entities cannot do so efficiently and effectively.  It is important to advance democratic principles, inspire social dialogue (in a civil manner), provide our underserved and underrepresented citizens with crucial programs that not only benefit them on an individual basis, but enhance our overall society here in Missouri, and, above all, improve the quality of life.

President Cloyd and Steve Belko sign the agreement between Drury and MHC.

Q: Dr. Gilbert, what will your role as the MHC’s local director for Southwest Missouri entail?

I will be reaching out to develop connections with a number of organizations that work in the humanities across southwest Missouri. So often, people don’t realize the ways in which the Humanities are already enhancing their own lives, be it through participation in a book club, attending a talk at your local library, or viewing a film at an independent theater like the Moxie. I plan to connect with groups that are doing this kind of work, and to collaboratively develop new ideas for how to grow the public Humanities across the southwest part of the state, in cities, rural areas and smaller towns.

How can people connect with MHC if they’re interested in partnering in some way?

Gilbert: While I’ll be reaching out to many folks in the near future, if anyone would like to contact me first, they can phone me at (417) 873-6941 or email me at kgilbert@drury.edu.

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Randy Bacon exhibit reveals dignity of the homeless through photography

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Aug. 30, 2017 — Springfield photographer Randy Bacon brings his eye for revealing his subjects’ character to the Pool Art Center Gallery at Drury University during September. His exhibit, “The Road I Call Home,” will open with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 1. Bacon will speak at 5:30 p.m.

“Pops and Gizmo,” portrait by Randy Bacon

Bacon has photographed thousands of people over his career, propelled by his commitment as a portrait artist to capture the miracle of each person – the ‘ones’ of this planet of over 7 billion. No matter the walk of life, Bacon strives to present each ‘one’ in a very true, raw, real, and no-frills manner. “The Road I Call Home” is an exploration of homelessness and a direct extension of Bacon’s mission. The portraits reveal the subjects’ importance and special qualities with dignity by avoiding the stereotypical attitudes and perceptions that society commonly has of the homeless.

Viewing hours at the Pool Art Center Gallery are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. The Pool Art Center is located on Clay Avenue, just north of Central Street.

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Another large freshman class boosts Drury’s overall day school enrollment

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., August 23, 2017 — A large incoming freshman class and a strong retention rate have helped push overall enrollment in Drury University’s traditional day school upward for the second year in a row. Day school enrollment has grown more than 8 percent over the last two years.

An incoming freshman class totaling 460 students, together with a 90 percent retention rate for eligible returning students, means a total of 1,425 students were on campus when classes began on Tuesday. This is an increase of 53 students – up nearly 4 percent over last year’s total of 1372. Drury saw growth in the numbers of new freshmen from the Springfield, Kansas City, and Dallas areas compared to last year. Once again, the overwhelming majority of first-time students (84 percent) are living on campus in one of Drury’s three residence halls.

All data is preliminary and based on opening week headcounts. Drury’s census day is Friday, Sept. 8, and final enrollment totals will be available the following week.

“Our enrollment boost is a result of efforts geared toward getting us to capacity in terms of on-campus housing, which allows us to fully embody the kind of intellectually robust residential community that is central to our mission of offering an education for the 21st century. We set out to accomplish this over three years and have done it in two,” says Kevin Kropf, executive vice president of enrollment management at Drury. “We like to say it takes a campus to enroll a Panther and our faculty, staff, coaches, and current students have gone above and beyond to demonstrate our vibrant intellectual community, campus traditions, and active student life.”

The incoming class of 2021 has a higher academic profile than the previous year’s class, with a cumulative one-point increase in ACT scores, for an average of 26. The class also has a combined, weighted high school grade point average of 3.9.

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Media Contact: Mike Brothers, Director of Media Relations: (417) 873-7390 or mikebrothers@drury.edu.

Drury’s annual fundraising totals rose nearly 25 percent in FY2017

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., August 22, 2017 — Annual fundraising at Drury University increased by 24.8 percent during the 2016-17 fiscal year, as gifts and commitments totaling $9,416,023 were made to the institution compared to $7,540,529 the prior year.

The total represents one of the school’s best annual fundraising efforts in recent memory. The increase over the previous year is due in part to a five-fold rise in planned gifts, which totaled $4,285,000 this year, compared to $805,000 in FY 2016.

“We are grateful for the trust that our alumni and donors have in Drury and for their commitment to the university’s future,” says Wayne Chipman, executive vice president for advancement. “Over the past year, we’ve made an effort to increase engagement with alumni on several fronts, including through events in Springfield and around the country that have been well attended. The dollar amounts are wonderful to see, but above all else I am truly pleased to see so many fellow Drury alumni reconnecting with our alma mater.”

“Drury’s road forward to its preferred horizon has always been a course charted in great part by alumni,” says Drury president Dr. Tim Cloyd. “It is the alumni who continually pave this road for future generations to travel as they seek out their own horizons, and their own preferred futures.”

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Moving, serving, learning: Next chapter begins Friday for new DU students

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Aug. 16, 2017 — The newest members of the Drury family arrive on campus this weekend as freshmen move into residence halls and start learning what it means to be a Panther.

Faculty, staff and upperclassmen will help the new students move into the residence halls on Friday morning. A full weekend of orientation will follow. Monday features two events that have become a Drury tradition – the community-wide Service Plunge and an on-campus celebration capped off by a fireworks show.

The campus will also observe the solar eclipse together on campus Monday afternoon.

These four days are an excellent opportunity for local media to speak to students during their orientation experience and capture some great visuals, as seen in videos about Move-In Day and the Service Plunge & School Year Kick-Off Celebration from 2016. Media are invited to cover any and all events throughout the weekend. Contact Media Relations Director Mike Brothers for more information about the full schedule. Highlights are below.

Friday, Aug. 18

  • 7:45 a.m. to noon – New students move into residence halls. The best time for photos, video and interviews is typically before 9:30 a.m.

Sunday, Aug. 2o

  • 5 to 7 p.m. – Dinner and dessert at various faculty members’ homes in the nearby Midtown neighborhood. Faculty and freshmen are available for interviews during this uniquely Drury event.

Monday, Aug. 21

  • 10 a.m. to noon – More than 20 Community Service Plunge projects at various locations across Springfield, including: Convoy of Hope, Ozarks Food Harvest, Arc of the Ozarks, Rare Breed, The Fairbanks, and more.
  • 7 to 9 p.m. – Finale celebration at the fountains in front of Findlay Student Center. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. at adjacent Sunderland Field.

Evening classes begin at 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21. Students in the traditional Day School will begin classes on Tuesday, Aug. 22.

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Media Contact: Mike Brothers, Director of Media Relations: (417) 894-9064 or mikebrothers@drury.edu.

Drury participates in national citizen science project to study eclipse

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., August 15, 2017 — Two Drury University physics professors and two of their students will take part in a national effort to observe and document the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

Drs. Greg Ojakangas and Bruce Callen have been tapped to be one of 68 teams to work with the National Solar Observatory’s Citzen Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse (CATE) Experiment to document the sun’s inner corona during the eclipse. Along with Drury students Ryan Wedermyer and Katelyn Morrison, they will travel to Hermann, Missouri to be in the path of the eclipse totality and make their observations.

Professors Bruce Callen (left) and Greg Ojakangas

The Citizen CATE project aims to capture images of the eclipse using a network of telescopes operated by citizen scientists, high school groups, and universities. Volunteers are using 68 identical telescopes, software, and instrument packages spaced along the 2,500-mile path of totality. Each site will produce more than 1,000 images, and the resulting dataset will consist of an unprecedented 90 minutes of continuous, high-resolution images detailing the sun’s inner corona – a region of the solar atmosphere typically very challenging to image.

“I have been waiting for this for 38 years,” says Ojakangas, whose previous work with NASA provided a connection to the Citizen CATE project. “I get goosebumps almost every time I think of it!”

“An eclipse of this nature is a rare occurrence,” Callen says. “The chance just to witness it three hours from where I live and work is exciting enough, but the chance to contribute to a big national effort that will possibly advance our understanding of the sun is a great opportunity.”

The Citizen CATE project has been several years in the making. Teams will have no more than 2 minutes and 40 seconds – the time of the total eclipse as seen from the Earth’s surface – to capture their images. Ojakangas and Callen will be available for interviews during practice sessions on Wednesday and Friday morning outside of the Trustee Science Center on the Drury campus, starting at approximately 9 a.m.

ALSO: A Musical Angle

There’s also an artistic angle on this scientific story. Ojakangas’s daughter Celka is a 2015 Drury music graduate who is now studying music composition at the University of Southern California, one of the top graduate schools for music composition in the country. Inspired by her passion for both art and science, Celka and her brothers Kieran (a 2014 Drury alumnus) and Lian will perform a piece of her original music that is synchronized exactly to the timing of the eclipse, accompanied by a computer-generated background tone generated by Ojakangas.

“The tone drops 6 octaves as totality approaches, in precise relation to the rate that sunlight is diminishing, then rises again afterwards. Celka’s composition is a musical palindrome based on a Greek Orthodox chant celebrating the light of Christ,” explains Ojakangas.

Celka, Kieran and Lian Ojakangas will perform as an electric string trio at the site where the Drury team will conduct their CATE observation work. The site is located at Hermann Hill Village, 165 Missouri Hwy 100. More information on the location and festivities sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce are online at http://visithermann.com/2017-solar-eclipse/.

For more information about the musical composition, contact Celka Ojakangas via email at ojakanga@usc.edu.

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Media Contact: Mike Brothers, Director of Media Relations: (417) 873-7390 or mikebrothers@drury.edu.