board of trustees

CoxHealth CEO to speak at Founders Day convocation Thursday

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 16, 2014 — CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards, a Drury alumnus and trustee, will speak at 11 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 18 in Stone Chapel as part of the University’s Founders Day convocation.

Edwards will present “The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse,” a title borrowed from Walt Whitman’s poem, “O Me! O Life!” Edwards graduated from Drury in 1988 and was elected to the University’s Board of Trustees in 2012. He currently serves on the boards of numerous organizations, including: the Springfield-Greene County Health Commission, Forest Institute, Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, Cox College, Voluntary Hospitals of America, Missouri Hospital Association and Springfield Innovation, Inc.

Founders Day celebrates the tradition of giving back to Drury and honors the generosity of those who give their time, talent and resources to the University.

“The Founders Day Convocation has historically celebrated those individuals – past and present – whose generosity of spirit and support provide the foundation on which Drury’s very bright future rests,” said Dr. Charles Taylor, vice president for academic affairs. “Their commitment to Drury’s mission of providing an education of the ‘first rank’ that integrates liberal and professional learning in the service of engaged global citizenship is humbling, and it’s appropriate that we pause each year to remember and to celebrate that commitment.”


Drury University welcomes former colonel to Board of Trustees

Reggie WilliamsSPRINGFIELD, Mo., Nov. 21, 2013 — Drury University’s Board of Trustees welcomed Clarence R. (Reggie) Williams to the board on October 25, 2013.

Williams is retired from his position as the president/CEO of the San Antonio Area Foundation, where he helped facilitate tremendous asset growth, community outreach and programmatic initiatives for community improvement. Prior to the San Antonio Area Foundation, Williams served as senior vice president of information systems operations at USAA, and in the United States Air Force, where he achieved colonel ranking.

“Reggie Williams brings an enormous amount of experience and energy to the Drury University Board of Trustees,” says Drury President Dr. David Manuel. “The university stands to gain an important asset that will help it break new academic ground.”

“I can see that the future is very, very bright for Drury University,” Williams says. “The opportunity to be a part of that is something I’m very excited about.”


Drury Trustee Rick Lester dies at age 61

From: Dr. David Manuel

It saddens me to report to you that Drury Trustee William F. (Rick) Lester died Saturday afternoon, July 20, 2013. Rick died after suffering a medical crisis while riding in the Courage Classic bicycle tour through Colorado. The specific cause of death has not been determined.

Drury Trustee Rick Lester

Rick was a 1974 graduate of Drury University and was elected to serve on the Board of Trustees in 2001.  As a member of the Board, Rick chaired the Development Committee and served on special committees at the request of various Chairmen.  He was an unabashedly vibrant supporter of Drury University and kept student success at the forefront of his efforts.  Most recently, Rick served on the Performing Arts Advisory Council as part of the Drury Connect Initiative.

Rick Lester was the CEO of TRG (Target Resource Group), a company he founded in 1995 following a career in arts management. He served as president and executive director of the San Antonio Symphony, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the Knoxville Symphony. Before that, he was a marketing and public relations professional for the Cincinnati Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra. At each of his career stops he helped bring in record revenue and contributions. Throughout his career he consulted for orchestras and other non-profit organizations.

Rick earned a bachelor of arts in political science from Drury in 1974, and a master of business administration from Queens College in Charlotte, N.C.   Over the past few months, Rick served as a visiting professor at Southern Methodist University.  He resided in Woodland Park, Colorado.

Please keep Sandy Lester and all of Rick’s family in your thoughts and prayers.  As more information on funeral arrangements becomes available, I will communicate those to you.

Drury University launches website for presidential search

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 26, 2012 — Drury University has launched a Presidential Search website that will allow members of the Drury family and the general public to learn more about the status of the search and to provide feedback about the pursuit of a new university leader.

James Bone

The website can be accessed from Drury’s home page or by going directly to the presidential search website. There, anyone can read the most recent news about the search, submit a comment and learn about the process, as well as find out how to nominate a candidate or apply for the position.

In August of 2011, current Drury President Todd Parnell announced his intention to retire on May 31, 2013. Since that time, Drury has assembled a presidential search committee, conducted research about what attributes key constituencies would prefer in a new president, and, based on that research, assembled a profile of the new president that will guide the search.

The presidential search committee has 20 members: nine trustees, four faculty members, five staff members, one alumna and one student. After receiving candidates, the committee will narrow the list to three, those candidates will be brought to campus for interviews, and, after meeting with the candidates, the board of trustees will appoint the next Drury president. Drury’s Board of Trustees hopes to have a new president named by October 2012.

Drury President Todd Parnell

About Todd Parnell: Parnell graduated from Drury in 1969, served as interim president beginning in May of 2007 and earned the presidency full-time in January 2008. He is the first Drury graduate to serve as the university’s president. When he retires in May 2013, the former bank president will be 66 years old and he has indicated that he wants to spend more time with his wife and family. Parnell was involved with Drury long before he became president. He is a former Drury board of trustee member, was the founding director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, and taught entrepreneurship classes in the Breech School of Business.

Media: Search committee chairman James Bone is the spokesperson for all search committee business. He will be available today, Monday, March 26 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. (Central). Mr. Bone can be reached at (401) 451-8112. Bone is a 1980 Drury graduate and has been a board of trustee member since 1999. He resides in Rhode Island.

Media Contact: James Bone, Chairman of the Drury Presidential Search Committee, Office: (401) 451-8112, E-mail: