Drury instructor delivered many of his students

When a new class walks into one of Steve Grace’s classes at Drury, he’s usually met one of his students before, but he hasn’t seen them in a few decades and he probably wouldn’t recognize them anyway because most people don’t look like they did fresh out of the womb. Dr. Grace, the Egdorf Professor of Pre-Med Science at Drury, was a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology for 25 years at the Women’s Clinic in Springfield. He estimates that he’s delivered at least one of the students in just about every class he’s taught at Drury.

“It’s very interesting to see. When they’re one hour old I have no idea what they’re going to become,” Grace said.  “Usually they’re embarrassed. Mom drags them over and says ‘This is the guy who delivered you.’ It’s fun to meet them years later. That’s what I loved about obstetrics. The outcomes are usually good and everyone’s happy.”

Steve Grace

A 1968 Drury graduate, Grace returned to Springfield in 1977 following medical school at the University of Missouri and residency in Colorado. When he retired in 2001, he reached out to his former Drury classmate, Biology Professor Don Deeds, and inquired about teaching part-time.

The 66-year-old usually teaches two classes per semester, mostly to pre-health students, in subjects such as cellular biology, embryology, physiology, toxicology and epidemiology.

While the Parkview High School graduate is an accomplished physician and instructor, he may be best-known on-campus for something he did as a freshman. In a road basketball game at Missouri Valley in February 1965, Grace poured in 45 points. That performance still stands as Drury’s all-time single game scoring record, and it earned him a spot in the Drury Athletics Hall of Fame. Grace was also a member of the tennis team.

Thirty-three years had passed between Grace’s graduation and his return to Drury as an instructor, and much had changed, “The depth and number of courses available to biology majors is incredible, when I was an undergraduate biology major I had to take just about every biology class available.” But some things were the same, “I had (chemistry professor) Dr. Rabindra Roy in his first year at Drury and he’s still teaching, and my fraternity brother Todd Parnell is now the Drury president.”

“I tell my students that Drury is a great stepping stone. They may never use what I’m teaching them again, but they have to do well here to get into medical school, and they have to do well there to get into a good residency,” Grace said. “Drury provides them an excellent opportunity to move on to that next step.”


Drury University and GreenTown Joplin partner to design and build demonstration eco-home for tornado-stricken Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo., January 17, 2012 GreenTown Joplin will partner with Drury University Hammons School of Architecture to develop and construct a demonstration eco-home in Joplin. Nine students will spend this semester researching and designing a unique home that will be used by GreenTown Joplin as an education center and office. Fundraising will take place this spring and summer, with construction slated to begin in the fall.

The home, dubbed the Monarch Eco-Home, is part of GreenTown’s Chain of Eco-Homes(CoEH) program. The CoEH are permanent demonstration projects that are open to the public and serve as community information hubs for sustainability and environmental initiatives relating to sustainable disaster recovery. They act as information clearinghouses for sustainable building and living practices and explore the numerous approaches to creating an energy efficient & healthy home environment.

“This is a unique opportunity to educate both the residents of Joplin as well as the students – the future designers of new buildings – about the benefits and practice of constructing sustainable buildings,” said Joah Bussert, project director for the Monarch Eco-Home.

The introduction of an eco-home in Joplin will provide residents and students with the opportunity to witness firsthand the construction of a sustainable home. Progress will be documented via the GreenTown and Drury University websites, as well as other outlets, with detailed information about the process and products provided. Residents will be able to gain an intimate knowledge of the construction practices employed and learn invaluable tips and methods to consider in the reconstruction of their own homes. The construction site will also be open to visitors through tours and demonstration events.

The home will use a unique concrete wall system donated by TF Forming Systems, located in Springfield. The system, known as vertical Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), is designed to withstand the high winds found in severe weather such as hurricanes and tornadoes. It also provides an advantage for energy efficiency. Based on research by Building Works, Inc., homes built with ICF exterior walls require an estimated 44% less energy to heat and 32% less energy to cool than comparable houses built using traditional wood-frame construction. Over the course of the project, TF will also provide students with the education and training required to design and build using this cutting-edge technology.

The parent company of Joplin Concrete, The Monarch Cement Company of Humboldt, Kansas, provided seed funding for the project, with additional support provided by the Portland Cement Association. George Van Hoesen of Global Green Building will provide construction management and energy efficiency consulting.

Drury Contact:
Traci Sooter, Associate Director, tsooter@drury.edu, 417-873-7416
Nancy Chikaraishi, Associate Professor, nchikaraishi@drury.edu, 417-873-7459

GreenTown Joplin Contact:
Catherine Hart, General Manager, catherine@greentownjoplin.org, 620-549-3752
Joah Bussert, CoEH Project Director, joah@greentownnational.org, 630-776-7624

About GreenTown Joplin

GreenTown Joplin is a project of Greensburg GreenTown, the nonprofit organization that helped Greensburg, Kansas, rebuild a “green,” energy-efficient community after the tornado of May 2007 destroyed most of the town. GreenTown staff members have been working in Joplin since August of 2011, having assembled a committee of sustainability experts from the area to assist residents, business owners and the city as they recover and rebuild after the devastating tornado of May 2011. More information is available at http://www.greentownjoplin.org.


Drury architecture to host an internationally known exhibition

Springfield, Mo., January 17, 2012 Drury University’s Hammons School of Architecture will host an exhibition titled “Colombia: Transformed / Architecture = Politics.”  The exhibition opens on Friday, Jan. 25 from 4-6 p.m. The exhibition will be on display from 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m., Monday-Friday, through March 1. The Hammons School of Architecture located on the northeast corner of Chestnut Expressway and Drury Lane. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Exhibition curator Vladimir Belogolovsky will speak at the Hammons School ofArchitecture on Wednesday, Feb. 27  at 3 p.m. in the Hammons School of Architecture.

The exhibition traces ten recently built, socially-conscious projects by five leading voices in contemporary Colombian architecture: Daniel Bonilla and Giancarlo Mazzanti from Bogotá, and Felipe Mesa, Juan Manuel Pelaez, and Felipe Uribe from Medellín. These visionary works reflect significant social shifts that are taking place in Latin America today. They demonstrate ideas of social inclusion, as well as innovative architectural forms and spaces, which have been steadily transforming Colombian cities and the nation. The projects are explored through photographs, slides, drawings, and film footage to celebrate how these buildings are appropriated by the public.

Contact: Robert Weddle, Associate Professor of Architecture, Phone: (417) 873-7450, Email: rweddle@drury.edu


Drury’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium is Saturday, Feb. 2

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Jan. 17, 2013 — Drury’s annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium, (WES) sponsored by The Edward Jones Center forEntrepreneurship, is Saturday, Feb. 2 in Reed Auditorium of the Trustee Science Center. The conference runs from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. The $25 registration fee includes breakfast and lunch.

There will be two keynote sessions:

  • Morning: Pamela Hernandez, owner of Thrive Personal Fitness, will talk about her experience and successes in blogging for her business.
  • Afternoon: Susie Farbin and Diana Hicks, owners of Mama Jean’s Natural Market will tell attendees how they became successful entrepreneurs with three locations in Springfield.

Attendees will also have the choice of several breakout sessions, which will address the following topics:

  • The Self-employed need retirement, too!
  • The Necessity Entrepreneur.
  • Working alone, but not lonely—shared workspaces.
  • Social Business versus Nonprofit.
  • Protect yourself—Business liability issues.
  • Startup on the side.
  • Become more bankable.
  • In business for yourself, not by yourself—Startup in an established network.

This year, for the first time, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium will give awards for the Women’s Entrepreneur of the Year and the Women’s Start-up of the year.

Registration for the February 2nd Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium is open at www.drury.edu/ejc/wes.

Media Contact: Sara Cochran, Assistant Director, Edward Jones Center, Office: (417) 873-3014, E-mail: scochran@drury.edu


A nationally known expert on masculinity will speak at Drury on Thursday, Jan. 24

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Jan. 16, 2013 — The author of the bestselling book Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men will speak at Drury University on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 11 a.m. in Clara Thompson Hall. Dr. Michael Kimmel is a professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a leading researcher on masculinity in America.

Dr. Michael Kimmel

Dr. Kimmel was recently awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation grant to begin a Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook, the first of its kind in the nation. The author or editor of more than twenty volumes, his books include the groundbreaking Manhood in America: A Cultural History, which was hailed as the definitive work on the subject.

In addition, Dr. Kimmel recently wrote a piece for CNN addressing the recent Newtown, Connecticut school shooting: “Masculinity, Mental Illness and Guns: A Lethal Equation?” He also wrote a CNN article in November titled “The Mythical War on Men.”

His talk at Drury will focus on Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men.

Drury University’s 2012-2013 Theme Year series, Voices Unbound: New Media and the Future of Democracy, is devoted to exploring how media and technology are changing the way we communicate and interact, and the implications for journalism and democracy.

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For more details about speakers visit www.drury.edu/voicesunbound or contact Theme Year Director Dr. Jonathan Groves at (417) 873-7347.

Media Contact: Dr. Katherine Gilbert, Assistant Professor of English, Co-Director of Women and Gender Studies, Office: (417) 873-6941, E-mail: kgilbert@drury.edu


Hard work pays off for Drury student from Slovenia

Being considered a “hard worker” is a valued trait when it comes to school and employment. Hard work often gets a person noticed, appreciated, and, usually, very far in life. Matej Podlesnik (pronounced: Mah-tay Pohd-lees-nick), is a senior at Drury University studying finance and accounting and a student that at least one Drury professor recognizes as a hard worker.

Matej Podlesnik

Originally coming to Drury from Radovljica, Slovenia, for a one-semester exchange program in the fall of 2010, he has extended this opportunity and will graduate from Drury in May 2013 with a bachelor’s degree, then he plans to enroll in Drury’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

It was while taking a summer course at Drury’s close partnering school, the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia where Dr. Paul Nowak is also an honorary faculty member in the department of finance, is where Podlesnik first met Nowak. “Matej is a really bright kid. He asked great questions in class and I noticed his potential,” said Dr. Nowak.

Dr. Nowak sat down with former Drury MBA student Janez Skrubej, who is now the director of financial advisory services at Deloitte Slovenia. Deloitte is one of the Big Four professional services firms, specializing in audit, tax, consulting, enterprise risk and financial advisory services. After discussing options of setting up an internship for students with the company, Dr. Nowak recommended Podlesnik for an internship at Deloitte in the summer of 2013. “I really wanted to give Matej a chance and help him catch a good break. Janez is a good friend and I would not send him someone I didn’t believe in,” Nowak said.

Professors can often become good friends with their students and that is how Podlesnik views Dr. Nowak. “I talk with him about everything and he and his wife have been very kind to me,” Podlesnik said. From inviting him over for dinner, baking a cake for his birthday and helping him get to Wal-Mart, these small gestures have meant a lot to Podlesnik, “At Drury, the professors go out of their way to help you succeed.”

Podlesnik hopes to gain great experience at Drury and hopefully with Deloitte, aspiring to eventually start his own business as a financial advisor. “Whatever Matej decides as his career path, he will succeed. He’s a keeper,” said Dr. Nowak.


Story by Amber Perdue, a senior public relations and advertising major at Drury

Drury’s Online Paralegal Program ranked as one of the best in the nation

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Jan. 11, 2013 — The Open Education Database (OEDB) listed Drury University’s Paralegal Program third in its listing of the top online paralegal programs in the nation. View a complete listing of the top online paralegal programs in the country at OEDB.org.

“Drury is pleased that its robust online educational offerings are being recognized by an independent third party,” said Steve Hynds, Drury’s director of online education. “Paralegal is one of the 18 Drury degrees that can be completed entirely online, and Drury works to ensure that our online offerings match the rigor and value expected of a Drury education.”

The Open Education Database (OEDb) recognizes the top U.S. colleges that offer online learning for undergraduate degree programs in a variety of fields, including paralegal.

The Open Education Database says that it, “Is dedicated to helping students navigate their open and online education options. OEDb features an open courseware directory, degree program directories, school profiles, distance learning advice, and rankings of the top online schools in the country.”

For more information on OEDB, contact Amy Tran at atran@oedb.org.

Media Contact: Steve Hynds, Drury’s Director of Online Education, Office: (417) 873-7406, E-mail: shynds@drury.edu


Drury vice president is expanding her higher education knowledge through an ACE fellowship

While the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Leadership Academy participants are growing through experiential learning on their own campuses, Dawn Hiles, vice president of enrollment management at Drury University, is engaged in an off-campus experience that will enrich her leadership capabilities. As one of only 57 American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows for the 2012-13 academic year, Hiles hopes that the program will expand on the skills she brings to her current role at Drury.

Dawn Hiles, vice president of enrollment management

Through the ACE Fellows program, participants “immerse themselves in the culture, policies and decision-making processes of another institution.” After Hiles was accepted, she made a list of 12 potential hosts and interviewed with three of them. She chose Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., because of its outstanding reputation. In addition, being three and half hours away from Drury, its proximity gave her a great deal of flexibility and even allowed her to attend the weekend launch of WashU’s capital campaign. There are year-long and semester-long tracks for the fellowship, but Hiles is completing a total of 12 weeks spread out over two semesters so that she can continue to work at Drury.

“The program is a rich experience in a short amount of time,” she said.

Hiles is the first ACE Fellow that WashU has hosted, and Chancellor Mark Wrighton and Chief of Staff Robert Wild are serving as her mentors.  She will work on four different projects over the course of the year. So far she has completed work on the Delmar Loop, an $80 million mixed-use housing project combining student housing with retail. Currently, she is working with the Gephardt Institute for Public Service, which is WashU’s civic engagement center. The last two projects scheduled for the spring relate to the Medical School and the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

ACE Fellows are encouraged to expand contacts in higher education, both in the U.S. and abroad. Hiles feels fortunate to have spent an afternoon with David Maxwell, president of Drake University, discussing various topics in higher education. She is also expanding her contacts, both domestic and global, through other ACE Fellows, both current and past. To achieve this, ACE hosts retreats and seminars and suggests that Fellows embark on an international trip during the program. (Hiles’ plans for this are still undecided.).

Just a few months into the program, Hiles already feels as though the wide range of experiences has influenced her decision-making, as she consistently applies situations from her encounters at WashU to her work at Drury. “Without these experiences, one runs the risk of getting entrenched in only one approach to problem-solving,” Hiles said.

The advantage to the ACE program is that it gives Fellows a broader sense of what is happening in higher education, and Hiles believes that these experiences will help her gain an entrepreneurial approach to the opportunities and challenges within the industry. “The more information and context you apply to a situation, the better your decisions will be,” she said.


Story by Michelle Apuzzio, communications director for the New American Colleges and Universities (NACU), this story first appeared in the December edition of the NACU newsletter. Re-printed with permission.

A late Drury alumna’s story still inspires

Every year at this time people will make New Year’s resolutions, but most will fail to keep those commitments for a variety of reasons: it was too hard, stress, job, kids, whatever. Determination is in short supply, but excuses are infinite. As readers face their resolutions for the New Year, this story may serve as an inspiration when you think that avoiding that doughnut is too hard.

Marcia Cooper didn’t begin her college career until she was 51 years old. Despite being a spouse, mother, grandmother and working full-time at Litton/Northrup Grumman, she graduated from Evangel summa cum laude in 2005. By doing so, she become the first person in her family to graduate from college. Cooper began working on a Master of Business Administration at Drury in August of 2005.

Photo: Classmates, faculty and administrators were on hand to present Cooper with her MBA on July 13, 2007. (From L-R): Dr. Bill Rohlf, Dr. Gary DeBauche, Dr. Amy Lewis, Cooper’s classmate Rick Rowland, Marcia Cooper, Dr. Charles Taylor, Drury President Todd Parnell, Dr. Muthu Karuppan.

Cooper proved to be a good student and provided value to Drury’s MBA program. “She brought real world savvy and experience into the classroom and she served as a member of the Graduate Student Advisory Board,” said Dr. Amy Lewis, Drury associate professor of management.

However, in April of 2007, as she closed in on her master’s degree, Cooper was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. “This once vibrant woman was wasting away before our eyes,” Lewis said.

It was at that point that the “Drury family” kicked into gear. Cooper had a strong desire to finish her MBA. Breech School of Business professors made arrangements for her to finish her spring classes because she was too ill to sit for her finals. Her classmates bought her an iPod to listen to during her chemotherapy treatments. Drury waived Cooper’s tuition for her final class, and Dr. Lewis met with Cooper at her house and in the hospital during the summer so she could complete her final coursework as an independent study.

On July 4, 2007, Cooper was hospitalized. “She told me that she didn’t think she would make it until the August graduation, and she wanted to set a good example for her grandchildren about the importance of education and finishing things you’ve started,” Lewis said.

On July 13, 2007, with four generations of her family by her hospital bed along with friends, and Drury faculty and staff, Cooper was presented with her Master of Business Administration. Less than an hour after receiving her degree, Cooper died.

At the time, Drury President Todd Parnell was Drury’s interim president, but that early memory in his tenure as Drury’s leader still stands out. “I was moved by her passion for education and her unwavering commitment to succeed.  I was also inspired by the university’s humane and responsive ability to react quickly and do the right thing,” he said. “We took commencement to Marcia so she could graduate in front of her family. I will never forget that.”

Lewis worked with Drury’s Office of Alumni and Development to establish the Marcia Cooper Endowed Scholarship to help other non-traditional, female students who want to better their lives through education. To contribute to the scholarship fund, contact Chris Tuckness, Drury’s Office of Alumni and Development at (417) 873-6857 or by email at ctuckness@drury.edu. If you are interested in applying for the scholarship, go to www.drury.edu/esq and fill out the application.


Story by Mark Miller, portions were excerpted from Dr. Amy Lewis’s letter soliciting contributions to the scholarship fund.

Students go to Africa to help people affected by HIV and AIDS

Twelve Drury University students will have an eye opening and potentially life altering experience when they travel to South Africa over winter break. Supervised by Drs. Rachael Herrington and Jennifer Silva Brown, these students will visit Cape Town and work in orphanages and medical clinics helping children facing adversity and those in the community who have been affected by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The students and two professors will leave December 28 and return January 16, 2013.

This opportunity will give the students a first-hand account of the welfare disparities in Cape Town. The 20-day journey begins with the students taking advantage of the enrichment opportunities the city has to offer, visiting cultural and tourist landmarks. The students will then stay in homes with South African residents; further exposing the students to the nation’s culture.

Front row (L to R): Kyndahl Bertram, Tiffany Baker, Megan Reidy, Rebecca Vogt, Amy Rost, Airika Poivre, and Breanne Lombardo Back row (L to R): Dr. Rachael Herrington, Christine Collins, JaLessa Cain, Blake Herd, Cole Hartfield, and Dr. Jennifer Silva Brown

A majority of students on the trip have an interest in the medical field. They have all participated in an HIV/AIDS awareness program and will continue training in South Africa for three days with the Dreamcatcher Foundation of South Africa before working in either the orphanage or medical clinics. “The students will be working with children that have been abandoned, abused, neglected, and worse,” said Silva Brown. “This is going to be an absolute life-changing experience for all of us.”

Drs. Herrington and Silva Brown, who teach in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Drury, will jointly teach “Biological Bases of Clinical Disorders and Infectious Diseases” and “Cross-Cultural Psychology” as part of the program. They will place a heavy emphasis on gaining and utilizing a cross-cultural perspective when working with people whose backgrounds differ from those of the caregivers. Students are taught to consider the patients’ gender roles, socioeconomic status, race, and religion. “We are equipping students to become culturally competent providers in their area of expertise,” said Herrington. “And yet, going there might seem like we are a gift to those we are helping, but the reality is that this experience is truly a gift to us.”


Story by Amber Perdue, a senior advertising and public relations student at Drury.

Front row L to R: Kyndahl Bertram, Tiffany Baker, Megan Reidy, Rebecca Vogt, Amy Rost, Airika Poivre, and Breanne Lombardo

Back row L to R: Dr. Rachael Herrington, Christine Collins, JaLessa Cain, Blake Herd, Cole Hartfield, and Dr. Jennifer Silva Brown