Wendy Flanagan named VP for Marketing & Communication

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 30, 2017 — Drury University is pleased to announce the appointment of Wendy L. Flanagan as Vice President of Marketing and Communications, effective April 10.

Flanagan has extensive experience in brand strategy, integrated communications, employee engagement, market research and analysis, media relations, and digital marketing. She comes to Drury from FleishmannHillard, a leading global communications firm. Flanagan spent two decades with FleishmannHillard, eventually rising to the role of executive vice president and general manager, in which she led the day-to-day operations of the agency’s headquarters in St. Louis.


“I’m honored and excited to join such a reputable institution, particularly at this point in time,” Flanagan said. “Drury is embarking on an important journey to reimagine its future, ensuring that it continues to provide a unique and differentiated educational experience. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than helping to define and communicate the Drury brand in a way that aligns with the vision of our Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, staff and alumni.”

During her time at FleishmannHillard, Flanagan established a global brand strategy group responsible for working alongside Fortune 500 companies to manage and burnish brand reputations. Some of the clients she worked with in this capacity included AT&T, UPS and Emerson as well as higher education institutions such as Dartmouth, Washington University and the University of Missouri. She brings to Drury a deep but highly versatile skill set that has been honed by working with, coaching, and engaging her colleagues at all levels, from line employees to C-suite executives.

Double-digit revenue growth, positive employee engagement, and successful strategic brand positioning are hallmarks of Flanagan’s work. In addition to these results, Flanagan and her teams have won numerous industry awards over the years, including a Silver Anvil Award for Brand Campaign of the Year from the Public Relations Society of America and a Gold Quill Award of Merit for Marketing-Public Relations from the International Association of Business Communicators.

Flanagan earned a B.S. in journalism/mass media from Emerson College and spent several years in broadcast journalism before moving into marketing and advertising – including a stint as a reporter/anchor at KODE-TV in Joplin. Flanagan has been active in the St. Louis community for many years as a volunteer. She enjoys the outdoors, especially fly fishing, and looks forward to pursuing personal and professional passions in the Ozarks during the coming years.

“I am extremely excited about the broad, high-level experience that Wendy brings to Drury University,” said Drury President Dr. Tim Cloyd. “Her skills set in strategic brand management, employee engagement, media relations, and communication will be a strong asset to Drury, to our Board of Trustees and to everyone on our campus moving forward. We are fortunate to have someone of her caliber to lead and energize our communication efforts at this time.”


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

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 29, 2017 — Drury University’s Debate Union has taken home three national titles in its first year of competition in the International Public Debate Association.

The Drury squad won the varsity competition title at the IPDA’s National Championship Tournament and Convention over the weekend in Russellville, Arkansas. It also took home the National Sweepstakes Award for having the most successful two-person teams in the tournament. In addition, sophomore Mallory Pinson won the individual Top Speaker Award at the event.

There were 56 teams in the varsity competition, representing universities from North Carolina to Seattle. Drury advanced three, two-person teams into the top 16 and then the quarterfinals. One Drury team lost in quarterfinals, while the two other teams were paired against each other. The team of Austin Cassity and Lindsay Duede stepped aside, advancing the team of Ameran Link and Kris Rose into the semifinal round. Link and Rose won both the semifinal and final rounds to go undefeated and win the national varsity title.

“Our success is due to the fact that the students attracted to the program are probably good at most things they do; they are hardworking achievers,” says Dr. Charles Deberry, the Debate Union coach. “Debate squads are highly competitive and, yet, know they need to be cooperative to be successful. I’m really proud of the esprit de corps that’s developed throughout this season of ups and downs. It’s thrilling to end this first year on such a high note.”

Bringing back a tradition at Drury that dates back to the late 1800s, the debate program was re-established in 2016 after a hiatus and quickly began making waves in its first season in the IPDA. Formed in 1997, the league emphasizes critical thinking, civil discourse, logic, creativity, and real-world persuasion skills. The IDPA has more than 120 member colleges in 28 states in the southeast, Midwest and west coast and continues to grow.

Each member of team is in his or her first year of college debate, and most are underclassmen. Members of the Drury squad include Mallory Pinson, Ameran Link, Kris Rose, Lindsay Duede, Austin Cassity, Jerrica Shine, Emily Collier, Kat Sittenauer, Erin Benedict, Ayesha Naqi and Haley Davis.

Final results for Drury from the IPDA National Championship:

  • Kris Rose and Lindsay Duede were varsity double octofinalists (6th place).
  • Lindsay Duede and Austin Cassity were quarterfinalists (4th place).
  • Mallory Pinson and Jerrica Shine were quarterfinalists (4th place).
  • Ameran Link and Kris Rose won the national title in team varsity competition.
  • Lindsay Duede was the 5th place speaker in varsity competition.
  • Mallory Pinson was the 1st place individual speaker in varsity competition.
  • Drury also ended the year in 3rd and 5th place, respectively, in season-long team and varsity rankings.

For more information on debate at Drury, visit http://drurydebateunion.org.


Lynyrd Skynyrd to play O’Reilly Family Event Center on May 19

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 28, 2017 — Legendary southern rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd will take the stage at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on Friday, May 19.

Tickets start at $67 and go on sale starting at 10 a.m., this Friday, March 31, at www.drurytickets.com or by calling (417) 873-6389. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the OFEC box office, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.


With a catalog of over 60 albums, sales beyond 30 million worldwide and their beloved classic American rock anthem “Sweet Home Alabama” having over two million downloaded ringtones, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Lynyrd Skynyrd remains a cultural icon that appeals to all generations.

Led by core members Gary Rossington (guitar), Johnny Van Zant (vocals) and Rickey Medlock (guitar), the band continues to record new albums and tour the country, building on the legacy that began over 35 years ago in Jacksonville, Florida. Joining them in the studio and on the road are new bassist Johnny Colt, guitarist Mark “Sparky” Matejka, and keyboardist Peter Keys.

More information: http://lynyrdskynyrd.com.


Media Contact: Geoff Steele, O’Reilly Family Event Center Venue Coordinator: (417) 863-7843 or gsteele@drury.edu

Drury’s humanities film series returns to The Moxie on Saturday for spring run

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 21, 2017 — Drury University’s Humanities & Ethics Center has again partnered with the Moxie Cinema in downtown Springfield to host a series of screenings and open discussions at the local independent theater. The fifth season continues with three more films this spring following a winter break. The Drury Humanities & Arts Film Series is made possible by a grant from the Missouri Humanities Council.

The partnership between Drury and the nonprofit Moxie Cinema places a spotlight on films that ask enduring questions about the human condition and adds an open, facilitated discussion to the mix. After each showing, a Drury professor leads a group discussion about the movie’s themes. The post-film discussions are about 30 minutes each. Tickets are $5 and all screenings begin at 1 p.m.

Richard Schur

Richard Schur

The film series returns at 1 p.m. this Saturday, March 25 with a talk from Dr. Rich Schur following a screening of the Academy Award-winning 1997 Italian film “Life is Beautiful.” The film is a comedy and set during the Holocaust and tells the story of a Jewish librarian who uses fantasy and humor to shield his son from the grim reality of the death camps. It raises significant questions about the nature of comedy, as some critics argued that the film sanitized the Holocaust, misrepresenting the horror of the events. Others defended the film and believed it told a powerful story with humane values. In the post-film discussion, Dr. Schur, professor of English, will revisit this controversy and explore whether there are some limits comedy should not and cannot cross.

The remaining films in the series include:

April 1 – “The Sea Inside” with Dr. Chris Panza, professor of philosophy

April 22 ­– “Son of Man” with Dr. Teresa Hornsby, professor of religion

In addition to the Humanities and Arts Film Series, Dr. Shannon McMurtrey will bring his expertise in cybersecurity to a discussion of privacy and intelligence gathering following a screening of the 1974 classic “The Conversation” on Tuesday, April 18 as a part of The Moxie’s Science on Screen series.

For more information, go to http://www.moxiecinema.com.


Mental illness advocate, speaker to visit Springfield on March 20

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 13, 2017 — Drury University and NAMI Southwest Missouri are partnering to bring speaker Joan Becker to Springfield next week. Becker will share her family’s gut-wrenching story about finding help for their son, Mark, whose struggle with paranoid schizophrenia led to a loss of life that made national headlines.

Becker will speak at 7 p.m., Monday, March 20 at the Schweitzer Brentwood Branch Library, 2214 Brentwood Boulevard.


Becker speaks regularly to colleges, churches, NAMI groups, and mental health providers. In 2015, she published a book about her family’s experience with mental illness titled “Sentenced to Life: Mental Illness, Tragedy and Transformation.” The mother of five was thrust into the national spotlight when Mark took the life of a beloved local football coach. The coach, Ed Thomas, was known across the country. The story was covered by ESPN and other national media. A 10-minute documentary about incident aired as part of the 2010 ESPY Awards.

Though she will cover a range of topics related to mental illness awareness, Becker will emphasize how challenging the process of attempting to secure care can be for both the individual and their family.

Becker will be available for one-on-one media interviews Monday just prior to the speaking event. Contact Ed Derr, Director of Counseling, Disability Services and Testing, to make interview arrangements: (417) 873-7457 or ederr@drury.edu.


Drury accepting nominations for Distinguished Alumni Awards

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 3, 2017 — The Drury University Alumni Council is accepting nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Awards through Friday, March 10.

For 65 years, the Distinguished Alumni Awards have honored outstanding Drury alumni, friends of Drury, and faculty/staff who have distinguished themselves as valuable leaders and true Drury Panthers through their service, engagement and connections at an individual, university, community and global level. Awards will be presented during Alumni Reunion Weekend on Saturday, October 14, 2017.

Award categories include:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Career Achievement Award
  • Community Service Award
  • University Engagement Award
  • Young Alumnus Award
  • Faculty/Staff Appreciation Award

“Over the past 144 years, Drury University has provided a unique educational experience and produced graduates that have made a difference not only in our local area, but all over the world,” says John Everett, president of the Alumni Council. “The Distinguished Alumni Awards were created to recognize those contributions to society from our extremely talented alumni base.”

Nomination forms, category criteria and winners from the past 65 years can be found at online at Drury.edu.


Media Contact: Andrea Battaglia, Director – Annual Fund & Alumni Relations: (417) 873-7353 or abattaglia@drury.edu.

Drury faculty member earns recognition from area technology professionals

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 2, 2017 — Biz 417 Magazine and the Association of Information Technology Professionals of the Ozarks have named Drury University professor Dr. Shannon McMurtrey “Security Professional of the Year.”

The award was announced Thursday night at the inaugural Excellence in Technology Awards, held at the Old Glass Place in downtown Springfield.

Shannon McMurtrey

McMurtrey joined the Drury faculty last fall as an assistant professor of information management systems within Drury’s Breech School of Business. He has been a leader in information technology circles for two decades, first with the launch of online shopping cart platform Cart32, and later teaching at Missouri State University. He is now spearheading Drury’s newly created Cybersecurity Leadership Certificate Program, which is a graduate-level program designed to help business professionals of all types understand how to protect, detect, defend, and respond to cybersecurity attacks and manage risk.

“I am very humbled to be recognized in this way knowing that our community is filled with strong talent in the field of cybersecurity,” McMurtrey said. “Having my Drury family with me to help celebrate made for a very special night.”

“Shannon is committed to remaining on the cutting edge of issues affecting cybersecurity through developing himself as an expert in the field. Sharing his knowledge through speaking engagements and involvement in community events continues to have a positive impact on cybersecurity professionals locally and across the country,” said Barbie Kolb, one of the judges for the award.

For more information about the Cybersecurity Leadership Certificate Program, visit www.drury.edu/cybersecurity. For more information about Dr. McMurtrey, check out our Q&A about the intersection of technology and the liberal arts.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.