Kiplinger again ranks Drury as one of America’s best value schools

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Jan. 12, 2016 — Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has again included Drury University on its list of the country’s best values in higher education.

Kiplinger’s annual list ranks the Top 100 schools in three categories: private universities, public universities and liberal arts colleges. This is the third year in a row Drury has made the private universities list. Drury is ranked 40th, up from 41st last year. Drury also ranks in the top half of the combined list of 300 schools.

The complete rankings are available online at and in the current issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

Kiplinger’s assesses value using measurable standards of academic quality and affordability. Quality measures include admission rates, percentage of students who return for sophomore year, student-faculty ratio and four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include “sticker” price, financial aid and average debt at graduation. Drury’s average student debt upon graduation is below the state, regional and national averages; and 97 percent of Drury students receive a portion of $29 million in financial assistance each year.

Drury is consistently recognized for providing outstanding educational value for students and families. Drury is the top-ranked school in Missouri on the U.S. News & World Report 2016 “Best Value Schools” Midwest region list. Drury is No. 3 on that list, which includes both public and private schools.


Media Contact: Mike Brothers, Director of Media Relations; (417) 873-7390 or

Drury accounting students to provide free income tax preparation assistance 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Jan. 11, 2016 — Drury University students will provide free tax preparation through an IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site. The annual tax preparation service is open to the public and is designed to benefit low-income and senior taxpayers.

The Drury tax service accepts walk-in clients only. VITA clinics are held at the Breech School of Business Administration building, on the northeast corner of Central Street and Drury Lane. The clinics will be held at the following times:

Saturday, Feb. 6 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 8 – 4 to 8 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 13 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 15 – 4 to 8 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 22 – 4 to 8 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 29 – 4 to 8 p.m.

All returns will be filed electronically unless the IRS requires a manual return. All taxpayers must be available to sign the appropriate forms in the case of joint returns.

Taxpayers are required to bring photo ID, Social Security cards for themselves and dependents, as well as any tax documentation which they have received, including all W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and statements issued by brokerage firms. Clients are also asked to bring a copy of their 2014 state and federal tax returns to help speed up the filing process.

Due to limitations set by the federal government, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs are unable to help taxpayers who have declared bankruptcy or incurred insolvency during the tax year, have rental property, have a self-owned business with inventory, depreciable property, or which had an overall loss for the year, and certain situations in which a taxpayer has received a forgiveness of debt.

Information phone line: (417) 873-7522.


Drury partners with Gillioz for concerts; Nelson & Haggard play OFEC April 8

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Jan. 11, 2015 — Drury University’s O’Reilly Family Event Center and the Gillioz Theater are forming a strategic partnership with the aim of boosting Springfield’s profile on the national concert tour scene and bringing more live music to the Ozarks.

Under the new framework, Geoff Steele, executive director of the Gillioz, will book concerts and handle all day-of operations for shows at the OFEC. The move pairs the booking, promoting and customer service expertise of the Gillioz with Drury’s state-of-the-art mid-sized concert venue. It also leverages the two venues’ sizes (1,100 seats and 3,000 seats respectively) for booking. The partnership does not affect athletic events at OFEC.

Willie Nelson on stage with Merle Haggard.

Willie Nelson on stage with Merle Haggard.

The first concert to fall under the new framework is being announced today: Willie Nelson, together in concert with Merle Haggard, will perform on Friday, April 8 at the OFEC. Tickets start at $64 and are available starting at 10 a.m., Friday, Jan. 15 at or by calling (417) 873-6389. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the OFEC box office, which is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Nelson and Haggard are true legends of American music. Both are Country Music Hall of Famers who have combined to release more than 200 singles and topped the Billboard Country Singles Chart more than 50 times. Beyond their chart success, Nelson and Haggard have influenced countless songwriters and performers over the decades. Their 2015 record “Django and Jimmie” is the sixth album collaboration between the two singers, and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Country Album Charts.

About the Partnership

Officials at the Gillioz and Drury say the partnership is a win-win-win for both institutions and local music fans.

The Gillioz has experienced high growth in ticket sales and a steady increase in the frequency and quality of acts on its stage over the last decade, Steele says. The OFEC has seen several hit shows in the last several years, including the Avett Brothers, Kelly Clarkson, and the Steve Miller Band.

“We are both positioning ourselves to enhance life in the Ozarks and enhance Springfield’s standing as a destination for tours,” Steele says. “When promoters inquire with us, I’ll have the ability to offer them both venues as an option for their artists.”

The Gillioz’s strong social media presence and track record of customer service will serve OFEC patrons well, says Rob Fridge, Drury’s chief financial officer and director of the OFEC’s entertainment programming.

“Drury excels in academics and athletics,” Fridge says. “We want to excel when it comes to delivering live entertainment to the community in this fantastic venue, and we’re partnering with one of the best to help us do just that. This takes our recent track record of success to a new level going forward.”


Recent grad thrives, finds her path during time at Drury

The new year looks bright for Emily Cline, one of more than 280 December Drury graduates.

A Springfield native who majored in biology and Spanish while also playing on the women’s soccer team, Cline is headed for a career in physical therapy. She’ll begin work on her doctorate this fall. A 4.0 student, she’s already been accepted to Washington University in St. Louis and has interviews at several other top-flight schools such as the University of Colorado and Northern Arizona.

Dr. Kevin Jansen, professor of biology and one of Cline’s faculty advisors, says he won’t be surprised if Cline is among the top in her class no matter where she chooses to pursue her advanced degree.

“She’s excellent at critically evaluating what’s in front of her, whether it’s a defense on the soccer field, a question on an exam or a patient’s needs,” Jansen says.

Emily Cline at Trustee Science Center

Evaluating her career at Drury, Cline says it’s been a time of growth and self-discovery. She chose Drury because it was a place where she could pursue both athletics and academics in “a place where I wouldn’t be just a number.” She finished knowing more about her path in life.

Studying Spanish opened her eyes to other cultures, especially after a semester abroad in Spain. Beyond getting to know the people and the language better, the time spent in an unfamiliar setting taught her something important about herself.

“I’ve never felt great about making mistakes,” she admits. “My time abroad put me in situations where I felt a little unsure at times, but I started to feel OK with that. I learned to navigate places I’ve never been before and that gave me confidence to do other things. I became more independent.”

Cline currently lives in Drury’s Foreign Languages House, an on-campus residence that is also a gathering place for foreign language club events and international student dinners. Living on campus has also taught her a lot, she says, beginning with having freshman year roommates she’d never previously met.

“That was the start of opening up to more people and being more receptive to different ways of life,” she says.

But it was her time in Drury’s rigorous science curriculum and multiple physical therapy internships that revealed a career path to Cline. She wants to specialize in neurologic physical therapy, where she will be able to form very close one-on-one relationships with patients who need direct care to fight diseases like Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis.

Emily Cline soccer goal

“When I came to Drury it was because I wanted to be able to get to know my professors, and later in life I want to have that kind of relationship with my patients, too,” she says.

Jansen says Cline’s combination of intellect and people skills will serve her well in the field. Like many Drury students, Cline is exceptionally accomplished but knows she still has so much to learn, he says.

“That combination of intelligence and gratitude for the opportunities to reach higher goals is what makes our students special,” Jansen says.


Drury to freeze housing costs & amend housing policy for local residents

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 21, 2015 — Drury University is making changes to its housing policy in order to enhance accessibility and affordability for students.

Beginning next fall, costs for most on-campus residences will be either reduced or frozen in price for the 2016-17 academic year. Drury will continue to award residential grants to incoming students, based on need, to help offset the costs of room and board.

Additionally, students whose primary family residence is within 30 miles of the campus may live at home with a parent.

“We firmly believe in a residential college experience, and our current students and alumni can attest to the difference it makes in one’s college career,” says Drury President Dr. David Manuel. “But we also want to ensure a continued focus on access and affordability, particularly for students here in the Springfield area.”

The university will continue to encourage students to live on campus. National data and data collected by Drury have long shown that students who live on campus have higher retention and graduation rates, higher levels of satisfaction with their experience, better grades and greater participation in co-curricular and social activities.

With more than 100 student organizations, a large Greek population, specialized housing based on academic interests and a history of meaningful faculty mentorship, Drury’s community spirit runs deep. That’s why many students, including many local students, choose to live on campus; some do so throughout their entire college career. In fact, there are currently 80 juniors and seniors living on campus who attended local high schools.

The revised policy will go into effect in fall 2016. For more information about housing or residence life, visit

Media Contact: Mike Brothers, Director of Media Relations. Office: (417) 873-7390; email:


Drury offers live Christmas tree collection January 4 & 8

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 18, 2015 — Drury University is offering center city residents an easy and environmentally friendly option for disposal of live Christmas trees.

The collection, sponsored by Drury’s Facilities Services Department, will be open to the Drury community, the Midtown and Rountree neighborhoods, and downtown Springfield residents. Facilities Services staff kindly asks that only residents in these areas participate.

The tree collection will be held on Monday, January 4 and Friday, January 8, 2016, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. All decorations must be removed and the live trees may be dropped at the Law Enforcement Academy building located on Bob Barker Boulevard, east of the Hammons School of Architecture (building 38 on the campus map).

The Christmas trees will be chipped by All About Trees and Drury’s Grounds staff. The mulch generated will be reused in various areas on the Drury campus.

Media Contact: Joe Fearn, Assistant Director of Grounds. Office: (417) 873-7414; email:


Drury recognizes staff members for years of service, dedication

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., December 16, 2015 — Drury University recently recognized 22 staff members for milestone service anniversaries and dedication to the university. The university also presented the annual Distinguished Staff Service Award to Marline Faherty, Director of Academic Support Services.

35 Years

Barbara Cowherd – Associate Director of Athletics

25 Years

Jean Dishman – Receptionist

Gary Swadley – Director of Technology Services

20 Years

Mary Potthoff – Director of the Center for Gifted Education

15 Years

Becky Ahrens – Director of Financial Aid

Tim Casey – Science Program Coordinator

Cori Grunwaldt – Office Assistant

Jennifer Kirtlink – Benefits Manager

Eric Pannell – Assistant Director of Sports Information

Lisa Price – Purchasing Coordinator, Trustee Science Center

Tammy Rogers – Administrative Assistant

Melody Sanders – Administrative Assistant II

Scotti Siebert – Director of Human Resources

Robin Sprenger – Registration Services Coordinator I

10 Years

Andrea Battaglia – Director, Annual Giving & Alumni Relations

Alf Bilbao – Women’s Soccer Coach

Tony Bowers – Director of Law Enforcement Academy

Galina Meyle – Administrative Assistant II

Scott Puryear – Associate Athletic Director for Marketing & Communications

Tammy Shipp – Director, Off Campus Programs-Tulsa

Summer Stewart – Assistant Athletic Trainer

Susan Williams – Office Assistant


2015 Distinguished Staff Award

The Distinguished Staff Service Award was presented to Marline Faherty, Director of Academic Affairs Support Services. Faherty has been a staff member since 2007. She was recognized as an essential member of the Drury community and praised as someone who performs high-quality work with “an amazing Zen-like approach … kind, thoughtful, pleasant, and thorough.”

Marline Fahrety

Marline Fahrety

Faherty served as Drury’s Higher Learning Commission reporting liaison in an era of ever-increasing reporting responsibilities. In preparation for Drury’s 2010 accreditation review, she initiated a collaborative process with the Technology Services Department and each of the accreditation criterion teams to develop an electronic resource hub, which contained more than 2,000 pages of documents, visual exhibits and federal compliance assurance statements. The HLC site team characterized Drury’s resource room as one of the most complete, accessible and factually compelling that they had encountered in their 75 years of combined service as evaluators.

The Distinguished Staff Award was established in 2006 by two former employees/alumni to recognize one staff member’s exceptional accomplishments, leadership and service to the university each year. Staff members with at least two years of continuous service are eligible to be nominated for this award.


Drury awards degrees to 280 graduates at winter commencement

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 12, 2015 — Drury University awarded degrees to 280 graduates at its winter commencement ceremonies today. There were 261 undergraduate degrees conferred by both the traditional Day School and the College of Continuing Professional Studies; 23 graduate degrees were conferred by the Graduate College. Some students earned multiple degrees.

Area entrepreneur and longtime agriculture business executive Ed Mareth delivered the keynote speech. He told the graduates to focus on four bedrock values that will serve them well in an ever-changing world.

First, Mareth asked the graduates to be thankful and practice gratitude in their daily lives. Mareth said that for him personally, faith is an avenue for gratitude. But he stressed that the graduates should each find their own lens through which to focus their thankfulness.

Next, he stressed the importance of service to others. He urged the graduates to think of any role they take on as a way to serve others – not just in their careers, but also in their communities and even at home with their spouse or significant other.

“Do your best to be a servant, always,” Mareth said.

Love was Mareth’s third important value. He asked the graduates to practice the kind of unconditional love that expects nothing in return. Finally, he asked the graduates to be optimistic. Not only is the world changing quickly, he said, but it can also be frightening given recent current events. Mareth told the Class of 2015 to push aside fear in favor of hope.

“I want you to be optimistic about your opportunities,” he said. “The world needs people who have hope, people who have faith that there is more good than there is evil.”


Drury appoints Dr. Justin Leinaweaver as Director of Institutional Research

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 10, 2015 — Drury University has named Justin Leinaweaver as Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness. Leinaweaver holds a Ph.D. in political science from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and has been an assistant professor of political science at Drury since 2012. He begins his new duties January 4.

Dr. Justin Leinaweaver

Dr. Justin Leinaweaver

In his new role, Dr. Leinaweaver will take the lead in developing and implementing analytic approaches that will support enrollment efforts, inform policy decisions and improve academic programs. He will oversee the collection and interpretation of a wide range of data that will assist the Drury community in identifying and understanding internal and external trends, opportunities, and challenges.

“Dr. Leinaweaver is the ideal person for this new position,” said Provost Dr. Steven Combs. “He understands higher education from the vantage point of a faculty member and a trained social scientist. His unique skills will enable him to use data to help us frame issues, articulate strategic priorities, and generate evidence-based decisions.”

“Drury has long emphasized the importance of making decisions supported by data,” Leinaweaver said. “I’m eager to use my skills to continue this good work in order that my colleagues can focus on what they do best: serving our students and our community through teaching, research, and civic engagement.”


Entrepreneur Ed Mareth to speak at winter commencement

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 7, 2015 — Drury University will confer nearly 300 degrees to graduates during its winter commencement ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 12 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center. Entrepreneur and humanitarian Ed Mareth will deliver the commencement address to graduates.

Mareth has 25 years of professional experience in business management, entrepreneurship and private capital deployment, including executive management roles at three of the nation’s top agricultural companies. Mareth has been involved in multiple startup companies and humanitarian projects around the globe specializing in agriculture, technology, medical services, manufacturing and real estate. He is currently president of Mareth Enterprises, LLC, which he founded in 2002 and has holdings in socially responsible companies serving specialized markets.

Ed Mareth

Ed Mareth

Mareth holds five corporate board seats, serves on the Purdy R-II Board of Education, and directs Project Genesis of Purdy, a community economic development company that he and his wife, Julia, founded in 2008. Mareth graduated from Missouri State University with a BS in agricultural economics. He lives in Purdy with his wife and their three children.

Media: 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.

Public contact: Dr. John Taylor, (417) 873-6356,