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Drury awards more than 550 degrees during spring commencements

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 14, 2016 — Drury University awarded degrees to 543 graduates at its spring commencement ceremonies today. There were 245 undergraduate degrees and 45 graduate degrees conferred at the traditional Day School ceremony, and 268 degrees conferred during a ceremony for the College of Continuing Professional Studies. Some students earned multiple degrees.

Economics professor Dr. Bill Rohlf, who retires this month after 44 years teaching at Drury, addressed the graduates at the day’s first ceremony. To the surprise of no one who has been a student of Rohlf’s, he began his address the same way he has begun his classes for more than 40 years: by asking the question, “Is everybody happy?”

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“Today, I was pretty confident as to what the answer would be,” Rohlf said.

Rohlf told the graduates that while their days of taking tests were over, their trials and challenges would not cease. “Economists love to ruin your day,” he joked.

He then urged the graduates to be diligent and work hard on improving themselves by repeating another familiar phrase: “Do your homework.” Learning is a never-ending process, he said, and every turn, every role, every success and failure has something to offer a lifelong learner. That first job may not be perfect, he said, but it’s valuable nonetheless.

Dr. Bill Rohlf

Dr. Bill Rohlf

“Every job has something to teach you if you’re willing to learn, and if you work at it and do your homework,” he said. Rohlf said today’s graduates should be confident that the skills and habits they take with them will carry them through a varied career and fulfilling life.

“The education you’ve received here at Drury is on par with the best education you can get anywhere,” he said. “I’ve talked with alums for 40 years, and they’ve all talked about how well prepared they were for the job market.”

In the second ceremony, for CCPS graduates, speaker David R. Mercer also spoke of homework. Mercer, a Drury alumnus, lawyer, humanitarian and current adjunct professor for the university, posed three questions to the graduates. “Your final homework assignment, if you will,” he said.

David Mercer

David Mercer

In the spirit of learning from the past, planning for the future and living for today, Mercer urged the graduates to ask themselves these questions daily: “Today, will I love those around me?” “Today, will I pursue a cause that is greater than myself?” And, “Today, will I be driven by a passion in my life?”

Mercer urged the graduates to find the point where their learned skills, natural talents and personal passions intersect. Aim for that point first and foremost, he told them, rather than for a lucrative salary or position of prestige.

“Each one of us has a sweet spot in which the entirety of who you are as a person comes together,” Mercer said. “Find it, and spend your days there.”

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Today’s ceremonies were the last for retiring president Dr. David Manuel. Lyle Reed, chair of the Board of Trustees, recognized Manuel and his wife, Betty Coe. Reed thanked both for their dedication to Drury and its students during their tenure. Banners were hung on Drury Lane designating it as “Dr. & Mrs. Manuel Lane” during commencement week.

Information about attached photos: Commencement speakers Dr. Bill Rohlf, Mr. David Mercer, and photos of Day School graduates.

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Bill Rohlf & David Mercer will address graduates at May commencements

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 4, 2016 — Retiring economics professor Dr. Bill Rohlf and attorney and humanitarian David R. Mercer will deliver the keynote addresses to graduates at Drury University’s two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 14 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.

Rohlf will speak at the first ceremony, for Day School and graduate students, which will be held at 11 a.m. Mercer will speak at the second ceremony, for the College of Continuing Professional Studies, which will be held at 3 p.m.

Dr. Bill Rohlf

Dr. Bill Rohlf

Rohlf has been a faculty member at the Breech School of Business Administration since the early 1970s. He is known among Drury students and alumni for his ability to communicate and explain economic principles to undergraduates. His intense interest in explaining the economy to students eventually led to a highly successful basic economics text first published in 1988 and now in its eighth edition. Affectionately known to his students as “Dr. Lovable,” Rohlf is a caring but demanding teacher, who is highly respected for his innovative methods and teaching style.

Mr. David Mercer

Mr. David Mercer

Mercer graduated from Drury in 1984 with degrees in biology and philosophy. He earned a masters in education from Drury and a law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Following judicial clerkships in Missouri and federal appeals courts, Mercer took a hiatus from law and worked for Food for the Hungry (a non-profit Christian relief and development organization) as a journalist reporting on poverty, hunger and development in the Third World. He also spent time in Bolivia, Rawanda, Zaire, Uganda and Kenya doing humanitarian work. In 1995, Mercer returned to the United States and the practice of law. For the last 15 years, he has been an attorney for the Federal Public Defenders Office for the Western District of Missouri where he has devoted his legal practice to defending indigent clients in federal court.

Members of the news media are invited to cover the graduation ceremonies. Please contact Media Relations Director Mike Brothers at (417) 873-7390 at mbrothers@drury.edu about coverage plans or for more information about 2016 graduates.

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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.”

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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, jtaylor3@drury.edu.

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Drury awards more than 540 degrees during spring commencements

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 16, 2015 — Drury University awarded degrees to 543 graduates at its spring commencement ceremonies today. There were 261 undergraduate degrees and 28 graduate degrees conferred at the traditional Day School ceremony, and 266 degrees conferred during a ceremony for the College of Continuing Professional Studies. Some students earned multiple degrees.

2015 Commencement 3

The Class of 2015

In addition, the University conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to Will Keim, motivational speaker and author whose books include Keys to Success in College and Life. Dr. Keim has spoken to more than 2 million students on 1,000 college campuses in all 50 states. He has been an integral part of Drury’s first-year student orientation program for more than a decade, providing inspiration and encouragement to incoming freshmen as they embark on their college journey.

 

Keim told the graduates that he was diagnosed with cancer last year, and that fact gave context to a memorable speech about making the most of one’s life and career. He also said it was the first time in his long speaking career that he had ever addressed a group of students both at the beginning and end of their college experience.

Keim commended the graduates on joining the ranks of those with a college degree, and reminded them that only about 7 percent of the world’s population has earned such an honor. He also lauded the well-rounded liberal arts education that Drury had given them, saying that professional schools and employers “want people like you – people who can think and who can get along with people different from yourself.”

2015 Commencement Keim

President David Manuel presents the honorary degree to Will Keim.

He also urged today’s graduates to do five things: think analytically, feel empathy for others, have hope for the future, act to help others in need and to love themselves. The last request is not about narcissism, he said, but rather about self-confidence and combating negativity. It’s difficult for others to love you if you aren’t comfortable with who you are, he said.

“All you need to do is leave Drury University with your degree in one hand and your self-esteem in the other – and look out, world,” he said.

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Dr. Will Keim will address graduates at Drury commencements Saturday

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 11, 2015 — Dr. Will Keim will be the keynote speaker for Drury University’s two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 16 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center. Keim will also receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for his work as a speaker and author.

The first ceremony, for Day School and graduate students, will be held at 11 a.m., when 265 undergraduate degrees and 29 graduate degrees will be conferred. The second ceremony, for the College of Continuing Professional Studies, will be held at 3 p.m., when more than 270 degrees will be conferred.

Dr. Keim received his BA and MA from the University of the Pacific and his Ph.D. from Oregon State University. He is founder of The Character Institute and president of Will Keim Speaks! Inc. He is a motiviational speaker and in-demand business consultant whose clients have included Microsoft, AT&T, IBM and Rotary International. He is also an author or contributing author of 11 books including Keys to Success in College and Life. Dr. Keim has spoken to over two million students on 1,000 college campuses in all 50 states.

Keim has been an integral part of Drury’s first-year student orientation program for more than a decade, providing inspiration and encouragement to incoming freshmen and talking with residence life staff about healthy lifestyle choices and the consequences associated with risky behavior.

“Dr. Keim continues to capture the excitement, anxieties and hopes of young students at they begin their transition into college in both an entertaining and informational manner,” says Dr. Tijuana Julian, Dean of Students.

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.

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Drury awards degrees to more than 300 graduates at winter commencement

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 13, 2014 — Drury University awarded degrees to 339 graduates at its winter commencement ceremonies today. There were 302 undergraduate degrees and 32 graduate degrees conferred by both the traditional Day School the College of Continuing Professional Studies. Some students earned multiple degrees.

Dr. John Jungmann, superintendent of Springfield Public Schools, was the keynote speaker. A native of Lamar, Jungmann began his tenure at SPS in July following stints as superintendent for Liberty Public Schools and the Monett R-1 School District.

Jungmann urged the class of 2014 to innovate, give back and live life to its fullest. Innovation has always driven the economy and provides opportunities for creative thinkers to lead, he told the graduates, while giving is a matter of responsibility and repaying the gifts they’ve received.

Dr. John Jungmann speaks to the Drury Class of 2014.

Dr. John Jungmann speaks to the Drury Class of 2014.

“I can safely predict that each of you didn’t get here today on your own,” Jungmann said. “A friend, teacher, mentor or parent gave their dollars, time, words of encouragement or maybe even just a pat on the back. It’s critical that you pay this forward. Giving is contagious.”

Finally, Jungmann asked today’s graduates to act, rather than simply observe, as they move into the next phase of their lives.

“We need graduates willing to get out and live a life of engagement. Our country cannot afford to have citizens who live a life of apathy,” he said. “Get out and live a life of purpose and passion that impacts our world.”

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SPS Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann to speak at Drury’s winter commencement

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 8, 2014 — Drury University will confer 358 degrees to graduates during its winter commencement ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 13 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.

Dr. John Jungmann, superintendent of Springfield Public Schools, will deliver the commencement address. Jungmann took over leadership of the state’s largest public school district in July. His previous experience includes serving one year as superintendent and one year as deputy superintendent for Liberty Public Schools and four years as superintendent of the Monett R-1 School District. A native of Lamar, Jungmann began his educational career as a high school teacher and has served as an assistant high school principal and middle school principal.

Dr. John Jungmann

Dr. John Jungmann

Professional accolades include being recognized by his peers as the 2009-2010 New Superintendent of the Year and serving as president of the Missouri Association of School Administrators for the 2014-2015 school year. He is a 1998 graduate of Missouri Southern State University and obtained his Master of Science in education and Specialist in educational administration degrees from Missouri State University. He earned a doctorate in education from the University of Arkansas in 2006.

Jungmann and his wife, Kerry, have three daughters.

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 2014 graduates.

Public contact: Dr. John Taylor, (417) 873-6356, jtaylor3@drury.edu.

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Drury awards nearly 600 degrees during spring commencements

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 17, 2014 — Drury University awarded degrees to 587 graduates at its spring commencement ceremonies today. There were 290 undergraduate degrees and 58 graduate degrees conferred at the traditional Day School ceremony, and 312 degrees conferred during a ceremony for the College of Continuing Professional Studies. Some students earned multiple degrees.

In addition, the university conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to longtime nonprofit educator and 1967 Drury alumna Marcia Mitchell, who was the keynote speaker at both ceremonies.

Marcia_Mitchell

In 1972 Mitchell co-founded The Little Light House, a faith-based center in Tulsa dedicated to providing therapeutic intervention and early education to children with disabilities on a tuition-free basis. The school has served as a model nationwide since then, and has earned accolades that include being named as the nation’s 536th “Point of Light” by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 and recipient of the ONE Award for Oklahoma’s top nonprofit by the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits. Mitchell herself has won the Whitney Young Jr. Service Award from the Boy Scouts of America and has been inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame.

Mitchell shared with the graduates the role that faith has played in guiding her through challenging times. This included her time at Drury, where she said she spent many hours in a small prayer room in Stone Chapel.

“It was in that little room on this campus that I learned to depend on God and lean on his strength and not my own,” she said.

Now is the time to dream about the road ahead, Mitchell said. But, citing her own experience with the “sharp turns” that can happen along the way, she urged today’s graduates to embrace the unexpected.

“Dare to delight in the detours of your own life,” she said. “As they just might lead you to destinations beyond your wildest dreams.”

Drury has awarded honorary degrees since 1906. Mitchell joins a list of notables who have received this honor over the past century, including: composers Rodgers and Hammerstein (1949), comedian Bob Hope (1973), Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling (1973), Bob Barker (2007), and former presidential candidate Sen. George McGovern (2008).

Saturday’s commencement ceremonies were the first under President David Manuel, who also addressed the graduates.

“You have made great sacrifices to earn a university degree, and we are proud that you did not waiver in your commitment,” Manuel told the graduates.

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Drury’s Aaron Jones will address Cox College graduates May 15

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 14, 2014 — Aaron Jones, Dean of Drury University’s College of Continuing Professional Studies, will deliver the keynote address to 186 graduates of Cox College at a commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. Friday, May 16, at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.

Drury’s College of Continuing Professional Studies (CCPS) and Cox College have been educational partners for more than 60 years. CCPS has provided general education and laboratory science courses for Cox College students, and the schools have partnered on dual degree programs at Drury’s Cabool and Monett locations. Jones has been an ex-officio member of the Cox College Board of Trustees since 2012.

“It is a pleasure to feature Mr. Aaron Jones as our commencement speaker,” says Cox College President Lance Ratcliff. “Aaron’s leadership is evident across many collaborative outreach efforts Cox College has with Drury University, highlighted by significant academic initiatives in both Cabool and Monett. The partnership between Cox College and Drury has been strengthened by Aaron’s guidance, benefitting many students at both institutions.”

Cox College is a private college of more than 850 students offering certificate programs, associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in health related fields such as: nursing, diagnostic imaging, nutrition, medical assisting, medical transcription, and medical billing/coding. It is affiliated with CoxHealth.

Jones

About Aaron Jones

Prior to his appointment as Dean of Drury’s CCPS, Jones was engaged in the full-time practice of law in Springfield and served as a member of Drury University’s Board of Trustees. He taught as an adjunct instructor for Drury from 2007 to 2011.

Jones received his Bachelor of Arts from Drury in 1995, and earned his Juris Doctor in 1998 and his Master of Laws in 2009 from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He was a member of the Young Lawyers Section Council of the Missouri Bar from 2004 to 2009, and from 2006 to 2008 served on the Missouri Bar’s Board of Governors as the Young Lawyers’ liaison. From 2007-2008 he was president of the Drury University Alumni Association. Jones is a member of King’s Way United Methodist Church, Rotary Club of Springfield (Downtown), the Abilities First board, and a number of other civic and professional organizations. He resides in Springfield with his wife, Cara, and children Kate, Carter and Caleb.

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